Comet country councils 'performing well' according to Government report

COUNCILS in Comet country are, on average, performing well and giving good value for money to residents, according to a Government report out this week. Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), Stevenage Borough Council (SBC), North Herts District Council (NHD

COUNCILS in Comet country are, on average, performing well and giving good value for money to residents, according to a Government report out this week.

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), Stevenage Borough Council (SBC), North Herts District Council (NHDC) and Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) have all been assessed in depth for the Oneplace report.

Published jointly by the Audit Commission, the Care Quality Commission, Ofsted and Her Majesty's Inspectorates of Constabulary, Prisons and Probation, Oneplace provides assessments of performance covering all 152 major areas in England.

It's the first time that auditors and inspectors from these six organisations have come together to publish their findings, and is designed to highlight whether the services provide value for money and where they could improve.


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But for NHDC, told it was only performing adequately, there were also some harsh words with inspectors saying even though the council is "not consistent".

The report says of NHDC: "The council has helped reduce levels of crime significantly by working with the police. However, people are less satisfied with the council's refuse and recycling services than elsewhere."

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The report adds: "The council has modest ambitions which do not set a clear vision beyond the short term. It still needs to get better at managing its services."

Leader of the council F John Smith said the review illustrated the dangers of using information which he said is now over a year old, saying: "We do not accept our ambitions are modest and short term."

NHDC leader of the opposition Lib Dem Steve Jarvis said: "North Herts is a nice place to live but the council doesn't do much to contribute to this."

SBC, says the report, is performing well delivering good services in a challenging environment.

The report adds: "The area is becoming safer and health levels are improving in some key aspects but remain a concern in others but there has been good progress both on teenage pregnancies and smoking levels."

Sharon Taylor, leader of the council, said: "Overall, the assessment is a very positive one and I think it shows what can be achieved when we all work together in partnership for the good of the whole community."

The assessment of CBC was difficult, says the report, as it has only been in existence since April.

But the report did say the council plans to improve poorly performing services especially in adult social care.

Nigel Smith, Oneplace spokesman for CBC, said: "Services for adults who need care are not good enough and action is being taken by the new council to improve this."

HCC has been told it is performing well with the report saying: "The council has clear ambitions and leadership is strong."

Robert Gordon, leader of HCC, said: "Overall this is a very positive assessment. We have bucked the national trend and scored higher for the uses of resources than we did last year. We are the only county council to have improved our score.

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