For the past two years, I and many others have supported David Green in the preparation of the ICE Best Practice Guide (for local authorities). I am, therefore, somewhat disappointed that, two years down the line, the focus of recent discussions has been on the Best Value Performance Indicators published by Department of Employment, Transport & the Regions and the Audit Commission.
I am pleased to learn that the ICE Guide is to be published next month. However, I feel that the time has come for the Institution to re-emphasise the fundamental steps that need to be taken to ensure that Best Value focuses on service planning, delivery and customer experiences.
Without that, the underlying part of the PI triangle will be one of endless fact finding and number crunching to feed the annual return to national government whereas it is intended to demonstrate the health of communities in a way which can be recognised by the public and to establish those actions which are necessary to improve standards.
Without this re-emphasis I am afraid that the Guide risks being filed under 'D' for 'Dust occasionally' and it will fail to have the desired effect on those charged with service provision.
David Micklewright (M), Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, MicklewrightDA@halcrow. com