Last year Liverpool were the best in Europe. Judged another way
Manchester were the best in England. But if you take into account the
amount they spent to achieve this performance then it looks like
Sheffield is going to be the best this year. I’m talking football
teams but I could be talking Local Authorities.
League tables are a fact of life in local government but that
doesn’t mean they are not controversial. One of the most persistent
complaints is the failure to take proper account of differences
between local authorities. A recently published league table appeared
in the professional press in an article titled, “ Redefining what good
This referred to an annual report, by management
consultants Impower, which claimed to identify the 10 best councils.
Unlike the governments league tables a local authorities performance
data was measured against their spending to establish the “ outcome
value for every pound spent”. To put this in footballing terms
Sheffield United would be top of the league on the bases of
performance against spend, Liverpool would at best be mid table and
Manchester City would be near the bottom due to their vastly greater expenditure.
Like all league tables those at the top are happy with the
recognition and wiling to talk about how their hard work, innovative
approach, recruitment and retention strategy have contributed to their
success. Where as those who find themselves at the bottom of the
league say they measure success in a different way because their
resources and circumstance mean it’s simply not an even playing field.
To continue the footballing analogy a league table based on “ value
for every pound spent” is like the Fair Play League Table interesting
and legitimate but not much consolation if your team /Local Authority
is at the wrong end of the table that really matters.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk