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The Food Safety and Health & Safety Service provided by East Dorset DC provide a good service but the prospect of i...
The Food Safety and Health & Safety Service provided by East Dorset DC provide a good service but the prospect of improvement is uncertain, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

An inspection team gave the service two stars* because the service has clear and challenging aims which link to corporate priorities. It achieves its aims through a comprehensive service provision with priority given to users needs. The Service is clear about its statutory duties and these are broadened by discretionary functions to provide a comprehensive service to the local community.

Jane Wreford, director, Southern Region Inspection Service said:

'The service has addressed issues that have been highlighted by the review, it plans and monitors its work and is supported by a good management information system but it is not clear how it will achieve best 25 per cent performance. The Service has a number of good practices that need to be shared with the public and this will be addressed through the council's web pages and a council newspaper.'

The inspection report highlights a number of key strengths:

- The service often works in partnership with public and private organisations to achieve its aims;

- It has a number of initiatives directed at the local community

- It delivers its responsibilities through enforcement, inspection, investigation, education, training and community projects and by offering advice to users

However, inspectors also found weaknesses:

- The service does not promote what it does or how well it performs

- The take up of education, training and information leaflets is poor

- The service is not clear how it will achieve best 25 percent performance

To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations, including:

- Making communication more effective

- Ensuring the level of service provision meets users perception by obtaining service users views through regular consultation

- Ensuring it meets local demands by using information in its possession to shape service planning

The Food Safety and Health and Safety Service has a budget of£266,000 for 2001/02 and has 5.65 full-time equivelent staff. The review covereed areas of responsibility in premises inspection; food complaints; food sampling; investigation of food poisioning incidents; investigation of accidents; safety advisor roles and responsibilities; training and community events.

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