New CPA framework published

03 August 2006

The Audit Commission has published the detail of Local Authority CPA service assessments including the Culture Block. The information can be found at

The documents published include:

  • CPA – the harder test: Framework for 2006
  • CPA – The harder test 2006: Guide to service assessments for single tier and county councils
  • CPA – the harder test framework for 2006: Consultation analysis for single tier and county councils

The removal of the previous protection for the Culture score is confirmed, with the effect of increasing the importance of Culture for the overall assessment of Local Authorities. The weighting for Performance Indicators is increased, whilst that for Inspections is decreased, making the following changes to the Performance Indicators for our sector all the more important.

A number of new Performance Indicators have been included for the Culture, which includes museums, libraries and archives, together with arts and sports services. Significantly for our sector, Museum Accreditation has been confirmed as a performance indicator for CPA assessments. MLA has produced a guidance note on this, which is attached. Further information on Museum Accreditation is available on the MLA North web site at,275,11,275

For public libraries, the proposed Impact Standards have not been included. Your attention is also drawn to comments in the Guide document, indicating the intention to raise the thresholds for a number of the Public Library Standards indicators concerning:

  • The provision of People’s Network terminals;
  • Requests supply times;
  • Annual items added to stock;
  • Time taken to replenish lending stock

The Consultation document includes many interesting references to the development of the Culture Block within CPA. Whilst the broadened range of Indicators has been welcomed, they attracted some concerns on the grounds of not fully reflecting the range of Authority’s cultural provision (especially arts, parks and theatres), and of the use of relatively untested Indicators.

Finally, there is strong support for the development of self assessment as an element of CPA for the future. The Cultural sector is well placed in this regard, with the introduction this year of the Regional Commentaries process for County and Unitary Authorities. See

To support this process, there are a range of self-assessment tools available:

Related Links:

Arts at the Strategic Centre 

Inspiring Learning for All 

Towards An Excellent Service (TAES) 
Related Documents:

CPA Accreditation
cpa_accreditation_10095.pdf (40 KB)  

For MLA North West:

Chris Chadwick
T: 01925 625 053

Alan Boughey
T: 01925 625 063

Accreditation – Paul Webb
T: 01925 625054

For national MLA:

Libraries – Andy Birleson
T: 020 7273 8281

General queries – Paul Bristow
T: 020 7273 8286

MLA North West
Ground Floor, The Malt Building, Wilderspool Park, Greenalls Avenue, Warrington WA4 6HL
Tel: 01925 625050 | Fax: 01925 243453