In a week when many local authorities are receiving notification of their CPA performance, independent think-tank the New Local Government Network (NLGN) has offered its support for CPA while calling on the Government to consider key improvements to the process of assessment.
The call follows detailed discussions between NLGN and the local authority members who make up its Innovation Forum – a body established 18 months ago and involving many of the UK’s most innovative and progressive local authorities.
The particular strengths and benefits of CPA which NLGN and its member authorities have identified include:
- A general view that the process of self-assessment is a particularly useful exercise.
- Local authorities being forced to address difficult capacity issues at the right time.
- Positive experience of councillors and officers involveed in peer reviews both within their own authority and elsewhere.
NLGN has however also identified a number of practical factors – stemming from a lack of clarity about the objectives of CPA – that may have weakened its effectiveness. Two in particular require a fundamental rethink:
- How the assessment process takes account of the legitimate political agenda of individual authorities, with some councils feeling ‘marked down’ because they have acted on a clear manifesto commitment to the local community.
- The perception that local ‘community leadership’ is not assessed, although the success of local government in the future will depend on councils having this capacity.
Dan Corry, NLGN Executive Director said today:
“CPA is an important step forward for local government and we support it. However there is room for improvement. CPA must take account of the agenda on which the authority is elected. And it must give more weight to the council’s success in community leadership. By ironing out the glitches in the CPA process, government can help progress new localism”.
All NLGN Media enquiries to Ian Parker – 020 7357 0116 / email@example.com
NLGN is an independent think-tank, seeking to transform public services, revitalise local political leadership and empower local communities.
NLGN’s Innovation Forum is a unique space where innovative policy makers, professional managers and local politicians can come together to experiment with new ideas, share learning and influence the shape of public policy across all levels of government.