Outcome measures of success
The Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) was used from April 2009 to 2010. Assessments were undertaken by a partnership of inspectorates, including the Audit Commission which had the primary responsibility for local performance in place-shaping. Other inspectorates included the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Healthcare Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Probation, Ofsted and the Tenant Services Authority.
The CAA focussed on 'place-shaping', and by definition the leadership role of local authorities, working with partners was critical. Drawing on a range of evidence and information it made rounded judgements about performance, challenges and prospects for people living within a particular geographical area. There was a strong focus on outcomes for places - rather than on meeting targets - which was intended to support more joined up services working towards a local vision.
Since the 2010 elections, the Coalition government's objectives of decentralisation and localism have been led by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The Department's Structural Reform Plan sets out how the Department's activities over the period to 2015 intend to put decision making in the hands of local people, give power away from the centre and make central and local government more transparent. See DCLG Business Plan 2011-2015 : www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/businessplan2010. As part of this plan, DCLG has announced:
- The abolition of the Comprehensive Area Assessment and disbanding of the Audit Commission;
- The end of central monitoring of the targets associated with Local Area Agreements, giving councils the freedom to amend or drop LAAs and the associated 4,700 targets;
- The abolition of top-down regional bureaucracy associated with the Government Office network and Regional Development Agencies.