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FEATURES - AN INSPECTOR CALLS

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Audit Commission/Social Services Inspectorate ...
Audit Commission/Social Services Inspectorate

Worcestershire CC

Worcestershire CC's social services department is only serving some people well, but it has excellent prospects for improvement.

A joint report from the Audit Commission and Social Services Inspectorate said the council had been slow to develop a full range of community and home-based services for adults.

Inspectors said the council must take a more strategic approach to commissioning services to encourage a shift from institutional care to community-based services.

Assistant review director Malcolm Newsam said: 'We have judged Worcestershire as having excellent prospects for the future. There is strong leadership, coupled with excellent relationships with staff and partners and we have been impressed by the significant progress made over the past two years.'

Best Value Inspection Service

Barnsley MBC

Market and associated town centre services provided by Barnsley are fair, scoring one star, but have promising prospects for improvement, the Best Value Inspection Service has found.

Despite a trend of decline, customer loyalty and the quality and variety of goods available ensured markets were still perceived as key to the vitality of local town centres.

But the services and facilities for traders and the public across the markets were 'at worst very poor and at best adequate'.

Little was done to support traders or assess the impact of markets on local employment. With one exception, the markets made a net loss. Prospects for improvement were promising because an ambitious improvements plan was in place and Barnsley had a good track record of service delivery and a serious commitment to redevelopment.

Inspectors' recommendations included better support for small businesses.

Kerrier DC

Kerrier DC operates a fair, one-star leisure and museums service, which has uncertain prospects for improvement, according to the Best Value Inspection Service.

Inspectors found pricing and programming were targeted to maximise participation and users were generally satisfied with the quality of facilities. The services had secured significant external funding and reduced their cost to the council.

But participation rates were falling, and there was no planned maintenance for premises leading to complaints from users over the condition of some facilities.

Kerrier could not demonstrate a strong commitment to improving these services, inspectors said. There was no clear long-term maintenance or capital improvement plans, and the future of the museums was unclear.

Inspectors recommended Kerrier should improve the condition of its facilities and look again at its contractual arrangements for managing services.

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