From April 2008 the Best Value Performance Indicators, including number 178, were discontinued by the Government. However, practitioners were strongly encouraged to continue to collect data to the same standard to provide consistency in assessing and benchmarking national and individual performance until such time as an alternative method of monitoring is accepted. Many authorities have continued to survey paths in accordance with the methods below.
Best Value was introduced by the Government with the intention of modernising local government and ensuring the provision of the best quality local services in the most efficient and effective way. This was later replaced with Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA)
For more information see the Audit Commission website.
A background document explaining Best Value
In order to measure how authorities are performing Performance Indicators were developed. For Rights of Way this was BVPI number 178.
The national method for surveying rights of way to provide data for the Best Value Rights of Way Performance Indicator (BVPI) is available. It has been produced by CSS in conjunction with the Countryside Agency and IPROW.
Best Value Performance Indicator No. 178
The national method for surveying rights of way to provide data for the Best Value Rights of Way Performance Indicator. The method has been amended slightly, please ensure you read the supporting documentation.
The documents contain a number of summaries and worked examples together with several documents (in pdf and Excel format) that can be downloaded and saved onto the user's PC for use in the field and the office:
- BVPI (1) Standard Method – A statement on the need and background for this standard, together with an extensive explanation on its compilation and requirements.
- BVPI (2) Survey Form – The standard field survey form which should be downloaded by the user; multiple copies may be printed for field use. NOTE: The form is designed as a double sided A4 landscape document and some users may need to adjust their print margins to enable the form to be printed properly.
- BVPI (3) Guidance Notes for completing the survey form BVPI(2) – This is designed to be a "crib-sheet" for field use in conjunction with BVPI(2). It may be copied and laminated to be taken into the field along with the Survey Forms.
- BVPI (4) Data File – This is an extensive multiple page document designed for use in abstracting and compiling the field data collected during the survey and recorded on BVPI(2). In addition to the empty data files it includes a work sheet entitled Annual Summary and a typical worked example of inputted data. This file should be downloaded onto the user's PC but other than the Annual Summary the file is not designed to be printed. On completion of the year's results the downloaded files can be cleaned out or another set downloaded for the following year's entries. Data entered on the data file is automatically totalled and carried forward to the Annual Summary page. The worked example (work sheet page 4) shows how the completed Data File should look.
- BVPI (5) Notes for using the Data File – These are notes that take the user through the Data File step by step.
- BVPI (6) Sample Map with notes – This is an example of a 2km footpath showing the physical conditions as found on the surveyed route. The information contained on the sample map can also be seen on the worked examples BVPI (7) and BVPI (8) and may also be seen on the last entry of the last work sheet of BVPI (4) which is the worked example of the main data file. NOTE: Users wishing to plot BVPI (6) should note that the map is best viewed on A4 landscape in colour and plotted on quality paper.
- BVPI (7) Completed Full Survey Form from the map – Using the data shown on the sample map, BVPI (6) these pages show the information on a typical "Full Survey" Form, BVPI(2). NOTE: Due to the number of items found on the route the Full Survey sheet for this example path extends to two pages (four work sheets).
- BVPI (8) Completed Summary Survey Form from the map – Using the data shown on the sample map these pages show the information on a typical "Summary Survey" Form, BVPI(2). NOTE: While the FULL SURVEY part of the form would normally be left blank if only completing the SUMMARY SURVEY that part of the form can also be used as an "aide memoir" to help check the totals.
Should any user have any difficulty with any of the BVPI documents, please contact Andrew Woodin via IPROW.
Using volunteers to carry out the BVPI survey
A number of authorities use volunteers to assist with carrying out the annual BVPI survey.
The Isle of Wight used volunteers in this way for some years, finding it to be very effective and relatively problem free. The BVPI volunteer team was initially made up of Ramblers, but shifted to keen semi retired walkers. The Rambler team members were (and still are) extremely helpful, but some take the work very seriously and argue the smallest of points for a long time! (This is not a major issue, but worth bearing in mind if you intend to use 'user group' members.)
The team was given training, but then left to do the surveys in their own time. As the surveys were returned the council did a random monthly quality assurance check on each member.