Government plans reduction in targets

The number of local public service agreements councils are set will
be scaled down, the chancellor Gordon Brown said last week.

Remaining targets would be refined to focus exclusively on
outcomes, which will be closely linked to the priorities of this
July’s spending review, he said. Councils that are performing well
will not have to set new agreements with the government.

Local PSAs, which were introduced in the spending review of 2000
and many of which involve social services, require local
authorities to negotiate with central government on at least 12
different targets.

In 2002, the chancellor announced that spending on public services
would increase by £61bn in the period to 2005-6. But the money
is handed out on condition that local PSA targets are met. Councils
that achieve all 12 targets can earn up to an extra 2.5 per cent of
their net budget.

However, it appears ministers are conscious that PSAs have put too
much pressure on local managers, preventing them from concentrating
on core tasks.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association welcomed the
move, adding that recommendations were “going in the direction we
would like to see: fewer targets and more devolved decision

– Devolving Decision Making: Delivering Better Public

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