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LIGHTING UP CAERPHILLY: COUNCIL GETS 'GOOD' REPORT

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Caerphilly CBC's street lighting service is 'good with uncertain prospects for improvement' according to an indepen...
Caerphilly CBC's street lighting service is 'good with uncertain prospects for improvement' according to an independent report published today by the Audit Commission in Wales. The service is responsible for over 23,000 streetlights and illuminated road signs throughout the borough.

The Audit Commission in Wales Inspection Team gave the service two stars (out of a possible three) because they found that the condition of streetlights provided by the council is generally good and well regarded by the public. But the independent report says that there is room for improvement, in particular in reporting more fully to members.

Anne Delaney, acting director, Audit Commission Inspection Service, Wales, said:

'Street lighting has an important contribution to make to community safety and security. Our inspectors found that Caerphilly CBC provides a good street lighting service, which residents feel helps reduce the fear of crime. Staff should be praised for the quality of their work.

'Whilst the council should be pleased with the overall quality of street lighting, there is room for improvement in managing the performance of the service and communicating developments to members. We feel that progress in these areas will help ensure that the street lighting service improves in the future.'

The inspection report highlights a number of positive features:

- The condition of streetlights provided by the council is generally good

- Residents consulted by the service and inspectors considered that streetlights provided by the council are good and are repaired quickly

- The number of streetlights not working is well within the government target of 3 per cent

- The service is provided cost effectively

However, inspectors also found areas that the council still needs to address, in particular:

- The service does not always communicate future street lighting replacement schemes clearly to members

- The service does not fully report service performance to members

Inspectors believe that the service has uncertain prospects for improvement because the council's best value review didn't identify all the options that could significantly improve the service.

Recommendations to help improve the service include:

- Continuing to use and develop performance indicators to manage and monitor performance of the service

- Explore future service delivery options

- Continue to breakdown and integrate the 'client and contractor' roles

- Continue to identify and evaluate benchmarking and performance information

Caerphilly CBC's street lighting service is responsible for over 23,000 streetlights and illuminated road signs throughout the county borough. The service has a budget of£1,867,000 in 2002/03. The street lighting service is part of the engineering division and employs seven staff and a trainee based at Hafodyrynys depot.

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