ODPM | Best Value Performance and Other Performance Indicators

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Best Value Performance and Other Performance Indicators
Commentary on the Indicators for 2000/01

Best Value Performance Indicators

Best Value has been applied to local authority services since 1 April 2000. There are a number of different categories of fire authorities in England and Wales. Essentially these divide into 34 single-purpose authorities (London and the metropolitan fire authorities and combined fire authorities) and 16 county fire authorities where fire is provided by the county council as one of a range of services. Single-purpose fire authorities are Best Value authorities in their own right. For county fire authorities the duty of Best Value applies at county council level.

The fire service BVPIs were included in volume one of the document "Best Value and Audit Commission Performance Indicators for 2000/2001" which was published in December 1999 [(website reference)]. They were developed in consultation with fire service interests and replaced the indicators published by the Audit Commission up to and including 1999-2000. There are two broad categories of indicators, service delivery and corporate health. Service delivery indicators tend to show how effectively fire authorities are providing services, for example in relation to the incidence of fires and fire-related casualties. Corporate health indicators provide information on how well fire authorities are running themselves.

The BVPI data for service delivery indicators give a direct brigade by brigade comparison under each heading. A relatively small number of corporate health indicators have been applied to single-purpose fire authorities, reflecting their limited range of functions. The tables for some of the corporate health indicators may not cover all fire authorities. Where it is considered important to have comparisons in the performance of all fire authorities against particular corporate health indicators, such as sick leave rates, data have been collected from all authorities.

The indicators serve to highlight variations in performance. At national level the figures reflect the generally encouraging trend in the incidence of fire-related casualties for the year 2000. Under the Best Value process, fire authorities will be required to compare their performance with that of the best and set targets for improvement. For the purpose of inter-brigade comparisons, the data is also presented separately under a number of family groups for brigades with similar characteristics.

For service delivery indicators much of the data used has been taken from information already collected from fire authorities for the purposes of the publication of national fire statistics. The indicators will be largely unchanged for the following two years which will give the opportunity for direct year-on-year comparisons of performance. For corporate health indicators the general approach adopted is that the indicators are applied to single-purpose fire authorities where they are relevant.

The essence of Best Value is seeking continuous improvement in service delivery and outcomes. It is therefore vital that authorities are able to establish a comprehensive baseline of performance against which they and the people they serve can judge the progress they are making.

Other Indicators

HM Fire Service Inspectorate collects a variety of information from fire brigades on an annual basis. A selection of this information has been presented in a separate set of tables. This data will be used to inform the inspection process and will allow brigades to measure their own performance in these areas over time and against other brigades.

BVPI and Other Family Groups

Each of the BVPI and Other Indicator tables is mirrored by a set of tables in which the brigades are separated into 5 'family groups' to help them prepare best value performance plans.

Notes on the Tables

Amended Data

Updated tables have now been included for the financial year 2000/01 for the following indicators:
  • BV 142 (i), (ii) and (iii)
  • BV 143 (i) and (ii)
  • BV 144 (a), (b), (c) and (d)
  • BV 146
  • BV 149

These BVPIs have been revised from those issued in December 2001. The BVPIs contained in this document now relate to the period April 2000 to March 2001 and replace those BVPI data issued in December 2001 which related to the calendar year 2000 (i.e. January - December 2000).

BV 150

This BVPI has been updated to show 2000/01 data.

All other BVPIs using financial year data remain the same as at December 2001.

Decimal places

Generally, indicators are shown to one decimal place. However, for the purposes of sorting the tables a limit has not been put on the number of places.

Family groups

In April 2000, brigades were informed that their performance for the purposes of BVPIs 144 and 150 would be considered within 5 'family groups'. However, groupings for all the indicators will be found in this publication to assist in the best value process.


This means that data were not available.


This means that the indicator was not applicable.

Sources of data

Tables 1 - 51 have been annotated with the data sources. These are clarified below:

  • DTLR annual returns - All brigades submitted annual returns for 2000/01. The figures in the tables were taken from these returns, after having been checked and amended where appropriate.

  • DTLR fire statistics - The figures used came from forms FDR 1 and 3 completed by brigades.

  • CIPFA - The figures for the number of domestic properties (BVPI 142) and non-domestic properties (BVPI 149) were obtained from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

  • Registrar General's mid year estimates - Population figures were provided by the Office for National Statistics.

  • RO5 returns to DTLR - BVPI 150 was calculated using information from Revenue Outturn Form 5 line 2 column 5.

Information on the make up of the BVPIs (Tables 1 - 26) is contained in:

  • Fire Service Circular 6/2000

  • DTLR publication Best Value and Audit Commission Performance Indicators for 2000/2001 Volume One: The Performance Indicators.

Information on the method of calculating the other indicators (Tables 27 - 51) is given in the guidance notes to the DTLR annual returns attached to Dear Chief Officer Letter 2/2001.

If you have any queries on the indicators, the data, or their presentation, please contact either Robert Schofield on 020 7217 8620 (e-mail robert.schofield@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk) or Kenneth Watkins on 020 7217 8589 (e-mail ken.watkins@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk).

Published 21 December 2001 - Updated 18 March 2002
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