Heather Jameson 02 February 2010

Think tank calls for scrapping of CAA

Scrapping Comprehensive Area Assessments (CAA) could save billions of pounds and boost councils' performance, according to a report by think tank Localis.

Councils could ‘opt out’ of the inspection system, which the report claims has failed to improve their performance. By scrapping the regime, councils would be more accountable to local people rather than inspectors.

The cost of compliance to the current system is £2bn. The report, entitled For Good Measure, claims this cash and more could be saved under their proposals.

Localis chief executive, James Morris, said: ‘Local authorities are more accountable to central government than to their residents. Without doubt this has been a contributing factor in the disengagement of local people. The new system we propose can turn this underwhelming system of performance and assessment on its head.’

Report author, Tom Shakespeare, said: ‘The need for local government to be freed from central targets has never been greater. Now is the perfect time to re-think how to radically improve the public sector, improving performance and saving significant sums of money in the process.’

The key recommendations of the report are as follows:
  • The CAA should be optional and Councils should be actively encouraged to opt out.
  • Councils must be required to release more data to residents.
  • 25 indicators from the National Indicator Set should be scrapped immediately, as they were not chosen by any council in their Local Area Agreements.
  • Any increase in local accountability must be tempered by an increase in power from central to local government.

Click here to download For Good Measure

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