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In the March 2005 Budget, the Government announced that independent assessment, conducted by the National Audit Office, would be introduced for the RDAs during 2005/06 on a rolling basis.
This new assessment system draws heavily on the Audit Commission’s programme of Comprehensive Performance Assessment for local authorities and builds on the learning experience of the London Development Agency that went through a similar process of assessment in 2004. (As a functional body of the Greater London Authority, the London Development Agency is subject to a separate assessment regime performed by the Audit Commission).
Independent Performance Assessment will allow the RDAs, Government partners and stakeholders to understand the role and the performance of the RDAs as strategic drivers of regional economic development. By placing emphasis on self-reporting backed up by strong independent audit and peer review principles, independent performance assessment will be critical to driving continuous performance improvement in the RDAs. The NAO’s assessment of each RDA will be shaped by the perceptions and understanding of the RDA’s stakeholders and partners. It will provide an objective, evidence-based understanding of how well each RDA is performing now and how it will continue to enhance its performance over the longer term.
The NAO undertook the assessments in three phases:
The NAO’s Guidance on Independent Performance Assessment of the Regional Development Agencies is now available on the NAO Website.
Together with the impact evaluation each RDA is undertaking of the effectiveness of their interventions on economic growth since inception, self-reporting by the RDAs and assessment by the National Audit Office comprise a framework that will provide Government with evidence about RDA performance and delivery as well as the effectiveness of RDA interventions in meeting their statutory role.