The Department of Health has named the five
companies short-listed for contracts to be performance action teams
in four failing councils (see News, page 6, 6 June).
are multinational management consultancies Arthur Andersen, KPMG,
Deloitte and Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and PA
action teams that are successful in their bids will go into four of
the 10 zero-star social services departments that were considered
by the Social Services Inspectorate incapable of improvement
without external assistance. The four are Walsall, Coventry,
Birmingham and North East Lincolnshire.
five companies were described by the DoH as having “a lot of
experience in this area”.
Commenting on the five, a DoH
spokesperson said: “They had to demonstrate a firm grasp of local
government and social services issues. One of the criteria used to
evaluate the proposals from the consultancy firms will be a
demonstration of their expertise in working with councils with
social services responsibilities in the particular fields stated in
However, national officer for
social services at public sector union Unison, Owen Davies, called
for more transparency about the tendering process and criteria
have always accepted that some authorities may benefit from outside
help,” Davies said.
we think that might better be provided by the Improvement and
Development Agency. There are people in the system perfectly able
to give local authorities the sort of advice and support they
Private managers urged for
The Audit Commission has recommended that
Walsall Council replace its current executive team with private
sector managers following a series of service and management
failures (see News, page 16, 30 May).
Deputy prime minister John Prescott, as
minister for local government, will decide whether to accept the
If he does, the existing 10-member executive
will be replaced with either private sector or local government
Walsall becomes only the second council to be
referred for government intervention after Hackney in London. The
social services department scored zero stars in the first round of
the new performance rating system.
The Audit Commission felt the council had made
insufficient progress in addressing problems highlighted in a
corporate governance report in January.
Walsall’s problems have also resulted in the
government failing to accredit its local strategic partnership –
the council’s action plan was the only one of eight in the country
to fail to obtain approval.