‘Fetishising failure’ distracts increasingly scarce management time away from improving outcomes, according to a new report naming the top 10 most productive councils in England.
The report by consultancy firm iMPOWER said a negative Ofsted judgement on a local authority’s children’s services department could undermine its purpose to protect children and improve their life chances.
It read: ‘Such a focus is deeply debilitating to system leaders, stifles innovation and is worse for children’s outcomes overall’.
iMPOWER believes its collation of service-based data from 30 different public datasets to create an index of productivity for the 150 upper-tier authorities provides a better measure than the verdict of inspectorates.
The consultancy said its calculations can measure which councils - pound for pound - get the best results for their citizens.
Leicestershire CC and East Riding of Yorkshire Council are in first and second place respectively, with Wigan MBC moving up from fifth place last year to third.
Productivity was also ranked across six indicators covering children’s services, older people, all age disability, health and social care, housing and homelessness, and waste and recycling.
There are significant variations in performance among individual authorities.
Derbyshire CC is the 10th most productive council overall, but is ranked 113th for all age disability.
The report also identified the 10 most improved councils since last year, with Barnet LBC in first, Enfield LBC in second and Bournemouth Council in third.
There is no particular correlation between the top 10 most productive councils and actual spending.
Within the top 10 most productive councils, the spending range varied from a 6% underspend to a 3.6% overspend.