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Comparing for Improvement: the future for local government performance improvement regimes
Local Government House, Smith Square, London
18th March 2009

External inspection plays an increasingly important role in local government in the UK, but there has been relatively little independent research into its impacts.Researchers from Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities were funded by the ESRC’s Public Services Programme to study the development and impact of Comprehensive Performance Assessment in England, Best Value Audits in Scotland and the Wales Programme for Improvement. The research examined how and why these performance improvement regimes were developed; their similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses; and evidence of their impacts.

The purpose of this seminar was to feed back and test out the findings of the research and explore the possible implications for the implementation of Comprehensive Area Assessments, the development of Best Value Audits following the Crerar review and changes to the Wales Programme for Improvement in the light of the Welsh Assembly’s Government’s proposed local government measure. Participants included representatives from the devolved governments, SOLACE, the Audit Office and the Programme’s own deputy director.