Magazine article Public Finance

Audit Commission Brushes off CAA Criticisms

Magazine article Public Finance

Audit Commission Brushes off CAA Criticisms

Article excerpt

The Audit Commission has admitted to 'teething problems' in its new inspection regime for local authorities, following strong criticism from council leaders.

The regulator's Comprehensive Area Assessment programme is failing to reduce the burden on councils, and is not being co-ordinated effectively, a Local Government Association survey found.

The CAA, which replaced the Comprehensive Performance Assessment in April, is intended to be less burdensome on well-performing councils, while targeting the highest priorities for each area.

It also looks across services in a local authority area, so involves other public service regulators.

David Parsons, chair of the LGA improvement board, said: 'These results question [the CAA's] relevance and longevity. If s not clear that the inspectorates' assessment is going to tell us anything we don't already know. The CAA is going to have to demonstrate its value for money - at the moment we are not convinced.'

The LGA acknowledged that it was still early days for the new regime, and was positive about how local CAA co-ordinators were involving authorities.

But its survey found that just one in ten councils believed regulation had become less intrusive, while 40% said they were spending more time on the CAA than they had on the CPA

One council leader said the burden of regulation had been reduced only for the regulators, while another said the level of inspection activity could not be sustained. …

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