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BV Review Prog


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									                                  Committee and Date              Item      Paper
Shropshire                        Best Value Panel

COUNTY COUNCIL                    31 January 2003
                                                                  11 G
                                  10.30 am


 Responsible Officer Tricia Morrison
 e-mail: tricia.morrison@shropshire-           Tel: 01743           Fax 01743 252827
         cc.gov.uk                             252004


      This report informs Members of the proposed programme for Best Value and
      Management Reviews for the next two years.

Decisions Required

Members are asked to:

A.    Agree the proposed Best Value and Management Review programme for
      2003/04 and 2004/05, subject to feedback we receive from the Audit

B.    Endorse the development of a two tier review programme enabling a clear
      split between Best Value and Management Reviews.

C.    Agree to an annual review of the Best Value and Management Review


1.    The requirement to review all our functions within a 5 year cycle was revoked
      in Statutory Instrument 305/2002 last year.

2.    This change allows us more discretion to choose what functions we review
      and when we review them and to focus our review programme more
      effectively on national and local priorities and on areas of weakness and
      opportunity identified through our performance management framework and
      improvement planning arrangements.
Best Value Panel, 31 January 2003 :

Draft Circular – Best Value and Performance Improvement – July 2002

3.          The broad principles for conducting reviews remain the 4 “Cs” identified in
            Circular 10/99 and the flexibility remains for authorities to set their own
            methodologies for conducting reviews.

4.          However, we have been urged to balance the effort and work put into a
            review, against the potential gains arising from it. One of the lessons learnt
            from the first two years of Best Value is that too much attention has been
            focused on ensuring compliance with the review methodology, rather than
            focusing on the outcomes and improvements that can arise from reviews.

5.          Reviews should not be undertaken simply because we have previously given
            undertakings to assess a particular service. Similarly, there is a recognition
            that some improvements can be made without the need for a Best Value

6.          The guidance states that Best Value Reviews can help where:

                 There is a need to improve performance on a shared priority; or

                 Authorities are unclear about the objectives for their services or how they
                  contribute to local and corporate objectives and priorities; or

                 There is a need, or opportunity, for a step-change in performance (or for
                  significant savings) and evidence that such a step-change is reasonable,
                  for example where other authorities or providers are delivering a much
                  better quality or more efficient service

                 Changes in legislation or national policy may also trigger the need for

7.          We should seek to adopt a proportionate approach, focusing reviews on
            areas that present the most serious challenges and biggest opportunities for
            service improvement.

8.          All review programmes need to be drawn up alongside a proportionate and
            co-ordinated inspection programme, agreed as necessary, with the Audit
            Commission and Inspectorates.

9.          The Government will be looking for the following in local government review

                 A balance between service-specific and cross-cutting reviews, particularly,
                  in the light of improvement planning following CPA

                 For authorities to work with other public sector bodies to address issues
                  for which institutional boundaries are obstacles, such as health and social
                  care, social housing and crime prevention. Often these will reflect shared
                  priorities or common aims, and have the potential to make a real and
                  lasting difference locally

                 For authorities to work with other authorities to deliver common services

Contact: Tricia Morrison on 01743 252004                                                      2
Best Value Panel, 31 January 2003 :

                 For authorities to use new technology and e-government solutions to
                  improve the accessibility and responsiveness of services to fit the needs of
                  the user

Implications for our Best Value Review

10.         The implications for our Best Value Review programme can be summarised
            as follows:

                 We have increased discretion to develop our review programme

                 There needs to be an increased focus on national and local priorities and
                  areas of weakness and opportunities identified

                 The process for reviews needs to be focused more on the outcomes and
                  improvements which can be achieved

                 We need a clear rationale for identifying which areas will be subject to a
                  Best Value Review

                 A recognition that some areas can and should be examined using a
                  management review approach and do not need the full rigour of the Best
                  Value process identify where improvements can be achieved

                 An undertaking to remove some service areas from the review programme
                  if they were included to meet the “all services within a five year cycle

                 We need a programme that is more outward facing, balance between
                  service specific and cross cutting themes and an increased focus on
                  partnership working with other public sector bodies

11.         The timing of this report is to ensure the changes to the Review Programmes
            are considered alongside the improvement planning process for CPA and to
            enable an immediate start for the 2003/04 programme of reviews.

Original Programme

12.         Our original programme planned to review all our services over a five year

13.         We have examined the programme annually and amended it to reflect
            national and local development in service delivery, our changing priorities and
            the lessons that we have learnt since Best Value was introduced.

14.         Our focus had changed from reviewing vertical services to addressing cross-
            cutting issues which are important to Shropshire people and which may need
            longer term changes to service delivery.

15.         The programme was last amended in October and November 2001 and
            endorsed by the Best Value Panel.

Contact: Tricia Morrison on 01743 252004                                                       3
Best Value Panel, 31 January 2003 :

Revised Programme

16.         CMT received a report on the 13 January 2003, which considered the
            changes needed to the programme to meet the objectives which outlined the

17.         Appendix 1, details the revised programme following these discussions. The
            cross-cutting reviews in particular demonstrate a clear link to the Corporate
            Assessment recommendations.

18.         We are planning to undertake two cross-cutting reviews next year with a
            staggered start.

19.         Access to services will start in April and finish by October. Communicating
            with the Public will start in January 2004 with all the preparatory work
            undertaken well in advance of January.

20.         Terms of Reference for next years’ reviews including the management
            reviews will go to the Panel in February and March 2003.

21.         We are also required to consult with the Audit Commission to develop our
            review programme to demonstrate the relationship between our review
            programme and the improvement planning process. This is underway.

Two Tier Review Programme

22.         There is a clear rationale emerging of the need to develop a programme of
            Best Value Reviews which will be subject to the full rigour of the inspection
            process and areas where a Management Review of the service area will

23.         It is important that the rationale for the inclusion in either programme is
            transparent; both follow a rigorous but proportionate approach and are
            considered formally by Members.

24.         A report to Best Value Panel in February will detail the core methodology and
            timescales to be followed by each programme, the reporting and inspection
            arrangements for both programmes and the annual review mechanism for the
            overall programme.


25.         It is important that the revised programme is “owned” by the authority and
            there is no ambiguity surrounding the reasoning behind inclusion in either the
            Best Value or Management Review process. This will need to be clearly
            communicated to those involved in the review programmes to ensure we do
            not lose the momentum, enthusiasm and notable improvements for
            undertaking reviews at the Council.

Contact: Tricia Morrison on 01743 252004                                                    4
Best Value Panel, 31 January 2003 :

List of Background Papers (This MUST be completed for all reports, but does
not include items containing exempt or confidential information)
Draft Circular - Best Value and Performance Improvement - July 2002,

Best Value Programme - CMT- 13 January,

Best Value Performance Plan

Human Rights Act Appraisal
Compatible with the Act

Environmental Appraisal
All Best Value Reviews are required to consider the environmental implications.

Risk Management Appraisal

Community / Consultations Appraisal
Consultation is a requirement of Best Value.

Cabinet Member

Local Member
All Members

First draft of Review Programme


Contact: Tricia Morrison on 01743 252004                                          5

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