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Wales Programme for Improvement

The Wales Programme for Improvement (WPI) was introduced in Wales in 2002 as statutory guidance to local authorities on how they should discharge their Best Value duties. This was a new approach to supporting improvement in the delivery of the services provided by them.

Greater flexibility for local authorities was introduced in 2005 with the statutory guidance that was issued in that year. The WPI evolved further still with the passing of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

You can view the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 on the Office of Public Sector Information Government (OPSI) website.

The new improvement regime which the Measure established differs from best value in the following ways:

  • It establishes a broader definition of improvement.  Rather than focusing on economy, efficiency and effectiveness, it requires authorities to set their own improvement objectives.
  • These can be any actions which tend to improve any combination of:
    • strategic effectiveness (i.e. delivering the authority’s community strategy);
    • service quality;
    • service availability;
    • fairness (ie equality and social inclusion);
    • sustainability;
    • efficiency; and
    • innovation
  • It gives authorities a broad power to collaborate with each other and with other bodies to attain their objectives, and requires them to consider using it.
  • It allows authorities more flexibility in generating, using and reporting performance data and other forms of intelligence about how well local needs are being met.
  • It clarifies the Welsh Ministers’ powers to intervene in failing authorities, and requires them to offer support before doing so.

The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 gives the Welsh Government the power to issue statutory guidance on how they discharge their duties under that Measure.

Part 1: Local Government Improvement

This document is one of three documents along with similar guidance for Fire and Rescue Authorities and Guidance on Community Strategies and Planning.