The Local Government Act 2002 places significant importance on the role of levels of service for all local / territorial authorities. It requires that:
- Intended levels of service (and performance targets and other measures by which actual levels of service may be meaningfully assessed) be included in the long-term council community plan (LTCCP).
- A description of how the Council will manage assets to respond to changes in levels of service be included in the LTCCP.
- An audited statement setting out a comparison between actual and intended levels of service (and giving reasons for any significant variances) be included in Council’s annual report.
- Any significant changes to intended levels of service are publicly consulted upon.
When used in the legislation, the term "levels of service" covers all aspects of Council’s operations, though clearly many levels of service will have little or no impact on the IDC.
For instance, Council will have levels of service relating to its library opening hours in the same way that it will have levels of service to define acceptable streetlighting on its roads. This introduction will focus only on levels of service that are likely to be of interest to the reader of the IDC.
Although the Local Government Act 2002 requires levels of service to be included in the LTCCP it should be acknowledged that not all levels of service will be recorded in that document. This is because many levels of service are inherently technical and would not be relevant in the LTCCP which is a community-focussed document and also because any attempt to create an exhaustive list of levels of service is unlikely to be either meaningful or beneficial.
Definitions in this section