Government inspectors are being called in to a troubled council to help officers and staff to improve performance and deliver better services.
According to the local newspaper, four teams of advisors will consider every aspect of the way Copeland Borough Council is run.
In March 2009, the Audit Commission’s Comprehensive Performance Assessment scores showed Copeland was one of eight districts whose financial reporting did not meet minimum standards.
Source: Copeland Borough Council
But council leader Elaine Woodburn denied suggestions the inspectors were being invited in because of concerns over council failings.
“That is bordering on a complete lie,” the Labour leader told the Whitehaven News.
“If you’ve got organisations who can come in with a fresh pair of eyes, with the right expertise, it would be pretty stupid of us not to take that opportunity.
“This council has an unsustainable budget, we’ve never hidden from that, and savings have to be made. We don’t know how much yet but I don’t want this driven by money but by the services the community wants and our performance.”
But the Conservative deputy leader Alistair Norwood said the council was “dysfunctional”.
“What’s happening makes me embarrassed to be a councillor for Copeland. These people are being brought in to make sure the people of Copeland get the services they deserve, evidently because we haven’t been able to provide them.”
UPDATE: The article is updated by one published on 18 August: read it here