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Hinckley & Bosworth's "excellent" achievement under the Lib Dems

December 16, 2008 12:01 AM
Lib Dem Hinckley & Bosworth Councillors

Hinckley & Bosworth's Lib Dem Councillors (including David Bill, Leader and Stuart Bray, Dep Leader centre) with Bosworth PPC Michael Mullaney celebrating the "Excellent" news.

Liberal Democrat controlled Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council has now been officially rated as an "excellent" authority by the Audit Commission. In the last assessment undertaken during the previous Conservative administration the Council was rated just "fair."

The announcement today (16 December) means that the Borough Council is now placed in the highest category available to councils and is the only district council in Leicestershire to have achieved this status, which places the council in the top 20% of districts in the country.

In order to achieve an "excellent" rating, the council had to prove to inspectors during a recent comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) that it provides high-quality services, with both effective leadership and management.

Welcoming the announcement, Lib Dem Council Leader David Bill said: "We are all very proud of the 'excellent' rating awarded to us by the Audit Commission.

"However, we cannot and should not rest on our laurels. It has taken a great deal of hard work to gain this achievement - it will be just as hard, if not harder, to sustain and aspire for 'excellence' justifying this rating. Yet I think that we can show, by our achievements, that we are not complacent and will continue to aim for improvement 'beyond excellence'; our target must be to be 'the best'."

Deputy Leader, Cllr Stuart Bray said, "In the 2007 elections we gained control of the Council from the Tories against the national trend. We promised that we would restore the reputation of the area which was tarnished by the antics of the former Tory administration and improve services for local people. This CPA rating has shown that we have made great strides towards doing that."

In their report, the Audit Commission inspectors praise councillors for tackling the key issues and challenges that face the Borough, such as economic regeneration, strengthening local communities and planning the council's budget.

"As a result, good progress is now being made on town centre redevelopment in Hinckley, an issue that residents have wanted the council to address for nearly 20 years," they say.

The inspectors also praise the "constructive and collective leadership by councillors along with strong managerial leadership", which they say, has contributed to the council having a "robust and healthy organisational culture."

"Good communications, investment in training and development and excellent relationships with the trade union have created a culture where staff feel able to put forward their ideas to improve services. Staff are proud to work for the council, and as a result they focus strongly on the needs of their customers."

In addition, the improved leadership by councillors and officers is evident in the way the council works with other organisations to improve the quality of life for residents of the Borough. As a result, crime levels are down, deprivation is being tackled in priority neighbourhoods, a new town centre campus is being built for North Warwickshire and Hinckley College and co-operation with the voluntary and community sector is helping to support disadvantaged communities.

The inspectors also point out that financial and performance management is robust, which has enabled the council to maintain its focus on priorities, leading to a significant improvement in services for the public.

"Seventy four per cent of the council's Best Value performance indicators improved last year and half are in the best performing category compared to other councils, well above the district council average," say the inspectors.

Although the inspectors point out that a number of challenges remain, they accept that the council is aware of them and is actively addressing them.