The new Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) began in April 2009 and is currently being implemented across England, but what does it mean for the third sector? The Office of the Third Sector has published a short briefing on the key elements of the CAA and how the third sector should engage with the process locally.
The CAA brings a very different approach to assessing local public services, looking at what makes a real difference to people’s lives, assessing how well public sector organisations and their partners work together, and focusing on outcomes.
Perhaps most importantly, it means that all areas will be assessed on all National Indicators including NI6 (participation in volunteering) and NI7 (environment for a thriving third sector) regardless of whether they are included in the Local Area Agreement.
The third sector is an essential partner on Local Strategic Partnerships and in delivering local services. OTS has worked across government, with the joint inspectorates, and with key third sector partners to ensure that the role of the third sector is fully embedded across all elements of the framework, from quality of partnership working to key lines of enquiry on commissioning; from the framework document itself to the guidance to inspectorate staff. The CAA can act as a lever for the third sector to hold local government to account.
It is important for the third sector to have a coordinated approach to engaging with the CAA locally, in order to effectively have their voices heard and to be able to maximise the contribution of the wider sector to the assessment process.
This short briefing sets out the key elements of the CAA framework and why it is important to the third sector.
(Press Release from Cabinet Office)