Now we know what the government will do to councils that are
identified as poor performers by the comprehensive performance
assessment. We don’t have nearly as much detail on the extra
freedoms for high performers. The government is not much concerned
with motivating council employees, despite the recruitment crisis,
industrial action, and the desperate need to reawaken public
interest in local government.
What are politicians for? Instead of broad-brush policy,
ideology and leadership, New Labour ministers give us managerialism
– and badly too. What private sector chief executive would
highlight her company’s 10 worst and best products in front
of the whole staff? Anyone who did would soon face the problems
that beset the public sector.
Of course, local government must be accountable, which is
different from responding to the needs of customers or clients.
That’s why it’s the right home for social care. But
performance assessment does not promote real accountability or
choice. Only devolved decision-making and finance can do that. If
we must have micro-management from the centre, let it be only a
crisis measure before a real strategy for local government takes