HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc311-2W
Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what reviews have been undertaken of the effectiveness of different methods of intervention in failing local government authorities; and what proposals he has to undertake further reviews. [81956]

Mr. Miliband

Ofsted reinspection reports on 27 LEAs previously found to be failing have so far shown that 26 had improved, with 21 now satisfactory.

The Audit Commission, in their report, "A force for change central government intervention in failing local government services", which examined interventions in education and social services, found that "effective interventions work by tackling the fundamental causes of service failure: poor political and managerial leadership and poor systems and culture". In addition, in an NOP survey of local councils that had been subject to intervention, 72 per cent. of respondents thought that their councils had made substantial progress, while 75 per cent. said they had found intervention "fairly" or "very" helpful.

The Department has commissioned independent consultants to evaluate new organisational models in local education authorities, including those resulting from intervention. The consultants will report on organisational robustness, performance, value for money and sustainability, as well as identifying the local circumstances under which it would be appropriate to adopt one model rather than another. They will also advise on a process whereby the different models can be further evaluated in two years' time. The consultants' report and guidance will be published by March 2003.