Comprehensive Performance Assessments (CPA)

1 December 2002

The government announced the introduction of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) in December 2001 in the 'Strong local leadership - quality public services' white paper. The CPA would seek to provide an overall assessment of a council's performance.

The Audit Commission launched the CPA in 2002 and focused scrutiny on the following service areas:

  • environment
  • benefits
  • libraries and leisure
  • finance
  • education
  • housing and social care.

The results of the CPA would allow for government, local authorities themselves and the public to gain an insight into how services were being delivered and how they could be improved. High-performing local authorities would be rewarded with freedoms and flexibilities including relaxed central government intervention.

Other local authorities would receive the assistance of special management teams to help improve their services. For social care, inspection reports from social care regulators would be considered in the CPA and reflected in the results. Local authorities would be graded as Excellent, Good, Fair, Weak and Poor.

The CPA was replaced by the Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) in 2009, which focused on how well services such as education, health and social care, policy, fire and waste were working together to achieve better outcomes for local communities. The Care Quality Commission's social care assessments were used in the CAAs. CAAs stopped in 2010.


Audit Commission.
Briefing on the Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performanace Assessment frameworks.
Audit Commission; 2006.