The Commission's corporate assessment inspection team found Brent Council is making good progress, with a strong focus on priority neighbourhoods, community cohesion and delivering high quality services. Many services are improving with achievement most apparent in key priority areas. Regeneration is a particular strength.
'The Council is continuing to work hard to improve outcomes for local people in areas such as regeneration, crime and healthier communities. But it faces challenges in areas such as human resources and it should use partnership working more effectively to increase capacity and performance management. These issues will need to be overcome, if the Council is to fully realise its ambition.'
The inspectors found:
.Brent Council is making good progress and focuses well on meeting the needs of local people. There is strong dialogue with communities and the attention paid to celebrating differences in the community.
.A focus on priority neighbourhoods and delivering high quality services is resulting in improved performance in many areas. Priorities include regeneration, supporting children and young people, and promoting a better quality of life.
.Councillors and corporate managers provide a good lead in local communities and are now successfully turning their attention more to partnership working.
.Well regarded leadership and good staff capacity is helping improve the way the Council works. There is a stable workforce, good staff morale and a commitment to improving services.
.Investment is making a difference to poorer performing services. Improvements are being achieved whilst maintaining relatively low costs, this is supported by good financial management and improving financial standing.
To help the service improve, inspectors recommended that the Council should:
.Enhance partnership working by exploiting opportunities such as joint service provision and strengthening how it manages performance.
.Improve the clarity of some short, medium and longer-term plans. In particular, improve action planning in order to better focus on measurable outcomes.
.Press forward with improving its corporate human resources function to support organisational change. This includes implementing the new HR strategy and improving workforce planning.
Brent Council is rated as a 3 star council, following the Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA). CPA measures how well councils are delivering services for local people and communities, while reducing the overall regulatory burden on them. It distils a complex set of judgements on local authority bodies and the services they provide into one easily understood rating.
Copies of the report are available from the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk