The EPSI programme started when the Conservative government’s attitude to LEAs’ role in school improvement was at best ambiguous. Much of the rhetoric from ministers asserted that central government can, with the assistance of its ‘quangos’, set the framework through legislation and motivate schools to improve through local management, the National Curriculum, the OFSTED inspection cycle, competition between schools, and the publication of results and league tables. The inference, often explicitly stated, was that there is no need for LEA interference in this field apart from providing a last resort, a safety net. The Labour government has given LEAs a clearer role, but with much sharper accountability. LEAs are tasked with monitoring and raising levels of achievement, with ‘intervention in inverse proportion to success’. They will be held accountable for their effectiveness in relation to school improvement through the Education Development Plan and the OFSTED inspection of LEAs.