EDITORIAL: Forget Best Value, local issues matter

Council PROs are advised to keep a watchful eye over attempts by transport secretary Stephen Byers and the Local Government Association to create the first joint set of priorities between central and local government.

LGA director of strategy and communications Phil Swan says the new agenda will hopefully concentrate on real issues such as crime, education and healthcare, rather than 'abstract processes' such as the Government's Best Value public service inspection reports.

This adds further weight to an argument put by polling firm MORI, which is managing a DTLR study into how councils can improve their PR. Its research has shown that residents have had enough of performance figures - they want to know how local policy decisions really affect them.

The message is clear: no matter how worthy a Best Value inspection report may appear to the compilers, to residents - particularly those living in areas of social deprivation and high crime rates - it is just bureaucratic bin fodder.

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