Friday, March 06, 2009

A 4 Star Authority "Improving Strongly"

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.


Anonymous said...

Mike Barker has it on his blog and he has printed the real situation in Darlington not the propagandar that appears on your blog.

Anonymous said...

A link would of been nice???

Anonymous said...

Here's your link

Anonymous said...

I must say the Echo seems happy to go allong with the Labour perspective on this as oppose to Cllr Barkers, which does seem to be a little more revealing?

I wonder why, nothing at all to do with all the town and DBC based quangos the Editor is on!

Surely we are not seeing bias reporting from our once skint now proud sponsors of the Renolds Arena- Echo?

Anonymous said...

Oh Barron's biased. Open the Echo every day and you will see Hurworth Comp doing this, that and the other. That's where his kids go and his Missus works for DBC as well. So he aint going to rock the boat.

Anonymous said...

May be we should write to the Audit Commission to put them right about DBC and their incompetence. Just think they might lose some stars.

Darlington Councillor said...

It's just one big conspiracy, isn't it? The Echo, the Council, the Audit Commission. Thank goodness no-one knows about Area 51, hidden in a warehouse on Albert Hill...

Whilst it's good that Mike at least had the cojones to comment on the story, he's completely wide of the mark.

Believe it or not, the Audit Commission inspectors aren't idiots. They conduct a very thorough investigation when they assess a council - just ask any of the staff or councillors who were interviewed by them this time.

In addition, the findings they've made aren't based on "ticky-box" forms - they reflect the real performance of council services on the ground. So for example on education, the work the Council has successfully done with schools both to boost attainment and reduce unauthorised absences are matters of fact.

Mike alleges that the scores aren't based on actual responses from residents - in fact if he bothered to look at the criteria measured by the Audit Commission, he would see that, for example, on environmental services, customer satisfaction with trading standards, the planning service, waste collection and recycling, bus services and passenger transport information are all key criteria.

I guess it was too much to hope that Mike would comment on this story without trying to spin it his way out of an unpalatable reality.

ianh said...

re; the anonymous post stating that Barron is biased in favour of Hurworth Comp.

You trying tell that to many of the supporters of the SHARE campaign when fighting to keep the school open!

In truth Barron rightly or wrongly,did his utmost to remain impartial.

The only reason the comp gets so much coverage in the echo is simply because they are very good at getting their message across. No doubt others would too if they could be bothered.....

Anonymous said...

when residents can get an appointment with the audit commision to tell them about problem areas of councils we will have a more true picture of the state of the work of the council.e.g environment - street scene work across the bo5rough is not up to scratch and constantly getting restructured with no good outcomes, passenger transport info by localmotion of journey planner is often duff,bus sevices have worsened, and recycling has never been able to take cardboard from house collections--not everything in the report is rosy nor should be reported as rosy aas yes there are many challenges outstanding as well as future challenges.