Audit Commission urges councils to be ‘creative’

Local councils must develop a more open-minded and creative approach to the
market to realise a £4.9bn in required efficiency savings following this year’s
Comprehensive Spending Review, according to the newly published Audit
Commission’s report,

The report reveals most councils lack the necessary information, skills and
mindset to use the market effectively to drive down costs and improve services.

‘Councils should no longer let dogmatic views stand in the way of service
improvement or offering value for money,’ Michael O’Higgins, Audit Commission
chairman, said. ‘Competition is now a two-way street where services may
sometimes be improved by councils being able to offer a competitive threat to
commercial providers.’

To provide value-for-money services without reducing standards or quality,
the report urges councils to adopt a pragmatic approach, using market
mechanisms, including competition and contestability, where appropriate
alongside other ways of improving services; improve their commissioning and
procurement skills; and collect and use better information about service
performance and cost, and information about public service markets.

Further reading:

Met audit claims scalps

Audit Commission calls for better quality public data

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