A three star council and 'improving well' say inspectors

March 5, 2009 12:00 AM

Deputy Leader of Rochdale Council - Councillor Irene DavidsonRochdale Council is 'improving well' say the Audit Commission who have awarded the authority a three out of four star rating.

The report, released today (Thursday 5 March) says that the overall rate of improvement at the council, which was given a two star rating in 2008, is now greater than the national average and is matched by improvements in priority areas.

The Audit Commission is the body charged by Government with the task of assessing the performance of all English councils.

The Audit Commission's assessment includes an evaluation of how the council's main services perform.

Their report on Rochdale highlights a number of achievements and areas for further improvement. It says that compared to other councils, environmental improvement is significant, including reducing household waste collected and making use of derelict land. Standards of cleanliness in the borough are high and getting better. Recycling rates are improving, and the borough is becoming safer, with fewer people seriously hurt or killed in traffic accidents and overall lower levels of recorded crime.

The Council's Adult Care service was singled out for praise, with the Audit Commission saying it has improved in the last year, and is now rated as good.

Inspectors found that effective partnership working continues to deliver some good outcomes for children and young people, although health inequality remains a significant challenge.

Better partnership working with the authorities' management organisations, namely Link 4 Life and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing has contributed to an improvement in housing, arts and leisure.

The report also says that changes to service provision, informed by better engagement with vulnerable citizens have improved access and encouraged wider participation in activities which tackle inequality, including activities which support healthier living. Capacity has generally been strengthened and value for money has improved.

Inspectors noted that improvement plans are generally robust, though implementation arrangements are inconsistent, with some performance targets and deadlines missed.

Deputy Council Leader Irene Davidson said: "Our business transformation programme has already delivered important improvements and we are introducing new measures to address issues identified in this report. All of the council from the Cabinet to the people delivering on the frontline are committed to delivering excellent levels of service to local residents, and have all had a part to play in regaining our three star status."