Local Government: Standards

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 27th June 2007.

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Photo of Keith Simpson Keith Simpson Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many shire counties moved to a rating for excellent in the comprehensive performance assessment by the Audit Commission in the last 12 months; and if she will list them.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (Local Government & Community Cohesion), Department for Communities and Local Government

This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Steve Bundred, dated 27 June 2007:

Your parliamentary question on how many shire counties moved to a rating for excellent in the comprehensive performance assessment by the Audit Commission in the last 12 months and your request to list them has been passed to me for reply.

Under section 99 of the Local Government Act 2003 the Audit Commission has a duty, from time to time, to report on its findings and categorise English local authorities according to their performance in exercising their functions. CPA is the tool that the Commission uses to fulfil this duty.

In 2005 the Audit Commission revised the CPA framework in response to changes in the operational and regulatory environment, rising public expectations, and the performance of local government itself. Because the framework from 2005 is both a harder and a different test the CPA categories were renamed to reflect this change. As a result single tier and county councils are no longer categorised as excellent, good, fair, weak or poor. The five new categories introduced from 2005 were 4 stars (reflecting the highest category of performance), 3 stars, 2 stars, 1 star and 0 stars.

National CPA reporting for single tier and county councils last took place in February 2007. At the time of reporting there were eight county councils that improved their overall CPA category to 4 star. These councils were:

(a) Cheshire

(b) Dorset

(c) Norfolk

(d) North Yorkshire

(e) Oxfordshire

(f) Suffolk

(g) West Sussex

(h) Wiltshire

Following national reporting in February 2007, Somerset County Council was re-categorised as 4 star as part of the Audit Commission's quarterly reporting arrangements in March 2007 following a corporate assessment.

Further information about the CPA framework and scores is available at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/cpa.

A copy of this letter will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

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