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EAST HAMPSHIRE STREETCARE SERVICE RATED 'GOOD'

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The streetcare service provided by East Hampshire District Council is good but has uncertain prospects of improvem...
The streetcare service provided by East Hampshire District Council is good but has uncertain prospects of improvement, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

An inspection team gave the service two stars because standards of cleanliness and grounds maintenance were found to be high and the cost of the service compared favourably to other similar councils.

Bridget Downton, Managing Inspector Southern Region, said: 'Current service standards are high but the council has not yet put in place satisfactory arrangements to ensure that these standards will continue to be maintained or improved.'

The inspection report highlights a number of key strengths:

Clear and demanding standards of service.

Improving performance in tackling fly tipping.

However, inspectors also found weaknesses:

Local residents have not been involved in determining standards of service.

Operational information is not analysed to determine problem areas.

Contracts for service delivery are nearing their end and future arrangements are still unclear.

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

To develop an approach to consultation with the residents of East Hampshire to ensure that they can:

Contribute to the debate on local service standards;

Determine trends in and current levels of performance; and

Participate in driving forward service improvement

The streetcare review covered street cleaning, grass cutting & grounds maintenance and street furniture such as litter bins and benches.

These services cost£900,000 a year to run. The council oversees the delivery of service using two contractors for street cleaning and grounds maintenance.

Copies of the report are available from East Hampshire District Council or on the Audit Commission website here.

NOTES

1. The service was inspected as part of the Government's best value initiative, which places a duty on all councils to deliver the most economic, efficient and effective services possible.

2. The inspection involved interviews with council staff and members, and members of the public using the service.

3. The Audit Commission Inspection Service was established to provide the public with an independent assessment of whether best value is being achieved by their local council. Inspection reports judge how well a service is currently serving local people, based on a star rating from 0-3 where 0 is poor and 3 excellent, and how likely it is to improve in the future.

4. The government has placed a duty of best value on councils requiring them to improve local services over the next five years. Councils must report annually on their performance (best value performance plans) and review all of their services over the next five years in order to identify and achieve continual improvements in local services.

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