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Govt organisation that reported on councils’ management and capacity. Defunct as of Mar.31.2015, with its functions being transferred to the voluntary, not-for-profit or private sector.
- Dec.18.2017: England's councils may be doing well, or terribly. We have no way of knowing. How did a government committed to massive cuts in public spending casually get rid of the one body that could have appraised their impact? Councils have good reason to complain about the way George Osborne and now Philip Hammond have loaded the spending cuts on the municipal ledger. Councils approved of the way Pickles lashed out, abolishing the commission. Trust us, they said; we will really separate executive and scrutiny functions. The communities committee says scrutiny is “marginalised”, too closely connected with council leadership and badly serviced by officers. This report isn’t just an implicit rebuke to the Centre for Public Scrutiny, noting the resurgence of an organisational culture resistant to overview in many authorities. Its conclusions were predictable – and were predicted – seven years ago. This committee report adds to the puzzle literature of this dire decade. How could a govt committed to massive reductions in public spending have so casually got rid of the one body that could have provided trustworthy appraisal of justifications for, and the effects of, the cuts? David Walker, The Guardian.
- Aug.17.2010: Who will tackle failure now the Audit Commission is being axed? The Audit Commission may have been unloved but councils will still need to be assessed in order to drive improvement. Communities secretary Eric Pickles's announcement last week was a piece of political knockabout - what really lies behind this decision is a radically new conception of the relationship between central and local government. The coalition govt is not interested in setting outcomes from on high – there are no more public service agreements (PSAs), no demands that councils achieve particular central goals other than save money. Instead, Pickles argues that local people should be able to hold councils to account, and to that end he is busy ripping up what he sees as unnecessary central bureaucracy. No matter how unloved the Audit Commission might have become, it did perform a number of useful functions that now need to be reinvented. For all its failings, the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) did set clear national minimum standards and provide a way to spot and tackle failure. Simon Parker, The Guardian.