Socpo welcomes Best Value review

Local Government HR group Socpo welcomed an announcement by the Government
last week that it is to review its controversial Best Value reforms.

Both Socpo and the GMB union have criticised the reforms, claiming they have
increased red tape and demoralised senior managers.

Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the
Regions, said the aim of the three-month review is to reduce bureaucracy and
raise standards. It will also look at ways to protect the terms and conditions
of employees and use front-line staff in a more creative way.

Socpo president Keith Handley said he supports the concept of Best Value and
hopes the review will lead to fairer processes.

He added, "Socpo has been campaigning for some time to change the
current system.

"It is bureaucratic and incredibly time consuming and seems to mitigate
against the very thing it is supposed to achieve – improve front-line services.

"I am especially pleased that the review will examine what can be done
to protect the terms and conditions of employees. The current system of
protection is unfair and does nothing to help the morale of those employees
transferred over to the private sector."

Best Value was introduced in 1999 under the Local Government Act and calls
on authorities to review all functions every five years, monitor performance
against national Best Value Performance Indicators and publish annual
performance information.

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