That's the independent Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) assessment of Darlington Borough Council's performance and prospects. It's recognition of the dedication and talent of Council staff across the authority, and at every level.
The Council achieved the highest rating in the Benefits, Housing and Use of Resources (Value for Money) categories. Darlington, together with Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and South Tyneside are the only councils in the North East to achieve this top rating
The CPA summary said;
Darlington Borough Council is improving strongly. It can demonstrate improvements in each of its top three priorities: improving the local economy, raising educational attainment and promoting inclusive communities. Improved attainment at GCSE has been particularly notable, rising from 60 to 69 per cent gaining five A* to C grades. The number of pupil exclusions has reduced dramatically, albeit from a high level. The Council has made a significant contribution to strengthening Darlington’s economy, particularly in terms of jobs and wage levels. Performance in housing and adult social care remains strong and crime has continued to reduce. The council manages its resources effectively and value for money remains excellent. The Council has successfully developed with partners a new Sustainable Community Strategy. Its ongoing implementation provides a basis for excellent partnership working. Planning for further improvement is robust. The Council has sufficient capacity to implement its plans. As a very small council, it has actively sought ways to increase capacity though improved working with the voluntary sector and a partnership with a neighbouring council to deliver back office functions.
And because you won't read anything about this on either the local Tory or LibDem sites, I'll simply point out that the Council has achieved this level of performance and sense of direction under the political guidance of a Labour administration.
As always, there's no resting on our laurels, with so many challenges ahead, particularly in delivering first class services at a time of economic hardship. This, however, is a firm foundation for the future.