Monday, August 14, 2006


Find out how your Council is doing!

Local Councillors don't receive a salary. They get an allowance, but most have full time jobs as well. For those of us who haven't been elected, and merely campaign locally, there is no financial reward at all, so I have a full time job myself. And it proves very useful in campaigns!

I work for Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, a neighbouring Authority to Bury. My particular job is in Performance Improvement, and it involves making sure that the Council continually improves all of its services. I liaise with central government, keeping on top of the various inspections, assessments, and performance indicator information that they need. I also make sure that we as a Council best respond to the needs of both central government and the local community. As a result, I get to know about lots of interesting websites which can put you in touch with the Council, and more particularly can let you know about how well (or not) the Council is performing.

Councils are subject to assessment across all of their services. One of the main coordinating bodies for all of these assessments is the Audit Commission, who are also charged with ensuring improvements in the health service, criminal justice and housing. The Audit Commission's main way of assessing Local Government is Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA), which you can read about here. More particularly, if you want to find out about Bury MBC's performance in CPA, the Council's scorecard is available here. This site is very useful if you want to find out more about how the Council is providing its services, as it contains lots of inspection reports.

Other useful sites that you might be interested in are:

OFSTED - where you can read inspection reports on schools and Local Education Authorities

The Commission for Social Care Improvement whose job it is to drive improvements in the social care sector. In fact, you can see their page on Bury MBC here.

The Benefits Fraud Inspectorate who look to improve benefits administration and reduce fraud.

Of course the best place to start finding out about the Council is at its own website at

I only thought of recording all of this information because, after a hard day at the office, I think the websites deserve someone visitng them who isn't me! I have spent the day immersed in compiling a Value for Money self assessment for Oldham, and writing a Direction of Travel statement as well. I've dealt with it for quite long enough today, so won't share the details now (that will have to wait for another exciting posting!), but it is comforting to think that, nationwide, there are plenty more like me writing the same for their own Authorities. And once the documents are written and inspected, everyone can view the type of websites I've mentioned here, and find out exactly how their Council is doing.


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