Councils failing to exploit Best Value

Councils are not getting the most out of Best Value, according
to a new briefing paper from the Audit Commission.

The report, published in March to mark the end of the first year
of Best Value, concludes that few authorities are “ambitious or
urgent enough” in what they are seeking to achieve through the new
performance framework imposed on all local authorities in England
and Wales last April.

“In many cases, Best Value reviews are focused on delivering
incremental changes or gently confirming the need to keep the
status quo,” it finds.

It calls for the second year of Best Value performance plans to
reflect the start of a “step-change of performance”, with councils
showing they are learning from previous reviews and refining their
approach accordingly to improve the services people receive.

The Audit Commission’s Best Value inspectors will also expect
councils to focus on and complete “fewer, better, more strategic
reviews” in the second year.

The report closely follows the publication by the Department of
the Environment, Transport and the Regions of the Best Value
Performance Indicators 2001-2, including 18 new indicators relating
to social services.

These cover new targets on adoption and looked-after children;
employment, education and training for care leavers; and intensive
home care.

Another Step Forward from
and Best Value Performance Indicators 2000/1 from

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