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 looks like”.
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