Magazine article Public Finance

Gladdish Tidings

Magazine article Public Finance

Gladdish Tidings

Article excerpt

Christmas came early for Derbyshire, Kensington & Chelsea, Kent, Shropshire and Wandsworth councils this week. Each received four stars in the Audit Commissions new Comprehensive Performance Assessments, while being judged to be 'improving strongly'.

They were part of the seven out often councils registering an improvement against what is now a much harder CPA test. Local government minister Phil Woolas described this, quite rightly, as an 'impressive performance.

Not everything was comfort and joy, of course. The gatecrashers at the Yuletide party included the ten councils awarded zero or one star. But there were other unwanted guests, primarily the 46% of authorities rated at the minimum standard or belowfor value for money.

Somewhat spoiling the season of goodwill, the commission admitted it was concerned by the VFM result, and is expected to toughen the CPA in this area for 2006.

In the post-Gershon world, this is understandable. But in all the talk of efficiency and value for money, the wider responsibilities of councils should not be forgotten. …

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