The government should not assume that local
strategic partnerships are the most effective vehicle for
delivering neighbourhood renewal, according to a new report from
the Audit Commission.
Instead, it suggests agencies
involve themselves in neighbourhood renewal directly.
report finds that as a result of local circumstances and
priorities, progress on renewal varies from place to place. To
overcome this variation it recommends that government does not rely
on LSPs as the “sole delivery vehicles for neighbourhood
would require making neighbourhood renewal a key part of service
providers’ decision-making, communicating more effectively the
implications of neighbourhood renewal to middle managers and
front-line staff, eradicating “professional tribalism”, and
resolving the confusion over how neighbourhood renewal “fits with
central government priorities and other local
important that links are made between the different strands of the
government’s modernising agenda,” the report says. “If policies are
seen as alternatives that need to be traded off against each other,
the neighbourhood renewal agenda may get lost.”
common message from government would also help. More than half of
the 232 LSP members who took part in an Audit Commission telephone
survey said that government departments are inconsistent in their
approach to neighbourhood renewal. This inconsistency is shown in
the setting of performance targets for local agencies that can make
it difficult for providers to work to common goals.
tackle this, the Audit Commission is calling for local public
service agreements to include targets that aim to close the gap
between their deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of the area on a
number of key performance indicators, and for the introduction of
“neighbourhood-based targets for central government departments” as
part of the 2002 comprehensive spending review.
also recommends reducing the amount of money channelled through
area-based initiatives over the next three to five years. The
report says such initiatives undermine the message that mainstream
services should tackle deprivation and that their sheer volume
makes it difficult for local organisations to assimilate lessons
from them into mainstream programmes.
Policy Focus: Neighbourhood Renewal can be found at www.audit-commission.gov.uk