ESSU Research Report No 2: Options Appraisal Criteria Matrix by Dexter Whitfield
This ESSU Research Report focuses on appraisal criteria, which are a fundamental part of the options appraisal process. It outlines out the key stages in the appraisal process. As options appraisal becomes a more common tool in public management there is evidence that ‘appraisal bias’ is leading to pre-selected options and construction of particular outcomes by the selective use of evidence and narrow evaluation criteria. Yet a rigorous and investigative approach can be very productive, directing attention to longer-term needs rather than short- term interests. The Options Appraisal Criteria Matrix has twelve sections, which cover the full range of issues that should be taken into account in appraising options (June 2007).
Frontline Involvement: Good practice guidelines on employee and trade union participation in Best Value
Guidelines for frontline involvement; corporate policies; summary of Working Together for Best Value research; involvement of frontline employees; commitment to quality employment, equity, sustainability and directly provided services; employees and unions involved throughout the Best Value process; re-organising in-house services; examining market testing options; local agreements; advice and support; technical and quality assessment, April 2001.
A Model for User/Employee Involvement in Best Value had earlier been developed by the Centre for Public Services as part of Public Service Practice No. 7 (1998 out of print) but a summary of the model is enclosed below.
Future Shape of the Council: The Flaws in Barnet’s Commissioning and Procurement Policy
A review of the London Borough of Barnet Council’s commissioning and procurement policies. The Future Shape of the Council project is likely to consider large-scale outsourcing/privatisation to ‘shrink the council’, yet there are serious failings and shortcomings in procurement which make its policies and practice ‘not fit for purpose’. This could expose the Council to serious financial and service risks. The report is published by UNISON, GMB, NUT and NASUWT and makes a series of recommendations on commissioning and procurement, employment options and contract management and monitoring.
Management Consultants: A Best Value Handbook
This handbook provides a comprehensive critique of the use of management consultancy and arguments against the uncritical use of external advice. It identifies important issues which must be taken account of in any decision to use management consultants, and provides a practical guide to the procurement process and engaging management consultants for local authorities, health bodies, public bodies, trade unions and community organisations. Centre for Public Services (1999).
Monitoring Public Services
An essential practical guide to monitoring outsourced public services. Covers the practice and policies of monitoring; the need for monitoring; lessons for improvement; differential monitoring costs; monitoring and quality control plans; user and trade union role in monitoring, September 1991.
Commissioning and Procurement Toolkit for Local Government and Health
New Commissioning and Procurement Toolkit for UNISON Northern (April 2008). It is divided into 11 parts covering: The Political Economy of Commissioning and Procurement, Developing a Branch strategy, Reviewing Services, Efficiency reviews, Shared Services Projects, Options Appraisal, The case for in-house provision, Capital works and BSF/PFI/PPP projects, Procurement and commissioning process, Protecting jobs, terms and conditions and Community and social benefits from procurement.