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NORTH TYNESIDE DELIVERING 'GOOD' TRANSPORT SERVICES

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Transport services provided by North Tyneside Council are 'good' with 'uncertain prospects for improvement', accord...
Transport services provided by North Tyneside Council are 'good' with 'uncertain prospects for improvement', according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

The Audit Commission inspection team gave the service two stars out of a possible three. There is a good choice of transport; roads are generally in good condition, but their condition is deteriorating; and transport is being used to promote other aims such as health living. The service aims are closely linked to the council's long term vision, particularly its regeneration proposals, and are in line with regional ambitions for the area based on a good understanding of the needs of local people.

David Jennings, Audit Commission senior manager, said: 'The council is working well in partnership with others to deliver a safer and improved transport network. This increases the opportunity for local people to access existing and new employment, education and leisure facilities. Transport is vital to delivering a wealthier and healthier north-east, and it is important that the council continues to drive this key strategic agenda forward. The council must now face the challenge of sustaining improvement in these services and making them excellent.'

The inspectors found:

-- the council with partners is providing greater transport choice and has set challenging targets to increase accessibility for all to the main employment and recreational areas in Tyne and Wear;

-- conditions of classified roads is generally good and the council is meeting road safety targets by reducing vehicle speeds and road casualties;

--healthy living is encouraged by increasing opportunities to cycle and walk;

-- a range of initiatives are taking place to improve the quality of public transport service routes and interchanges; and

-- a wide range of community transport options is improving the service.

However:

-- the condition of roads continues to deteriorate;

-- residents have many issues with the parking service; and

--transport services can be difficult to contact and service standards are not clear.

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

--improve communication of what the council is trying to achieve and what it has actually achieved including proactive use of media opportunities;

--to demonstrate value for money increase benchmarking, evaluation of schemes and learning from other authorities; and

-- improve public contact with the service by improving access times and simplified channels of access.

Transport services are delivered by the environment service unit of the council's environment, regeneration and housing directorate.

Copies of the report are available from North Tyneside Council or on the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk

NOTES

North Tyneside Council's transport services include: transport policy; highway management and maintenance including street lighting; new works and scheme design; traffic management, road safety, and accident reduction; integrated transport, reducing congestion and promoting travel choice; public transport; and community transport.

Funding for transport comes from a variety of sources.

In 2004/05 the capital expenditure on transport schemes in North Tyneside, mainly central government funding through the Local Transport Plan, was just under£4.4m and the council's revenue budget for delivering transport services was approximately£2.4m, a reduction of£0.3m from the previous year.

The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog responsible for ensuring that public money is spent economically, efficiently and effectively. Our remit covers more than 12,000 bodies which between them spend nearly£100bn of public money each year.

We are active in local government, health, housing, criminal justice and fire and rescue services and consequently have unrivalled insights into the overall impact of public services on users.

In addition to making sure that taxpayers receive value for money, our aim is to provide impartial information on the quality of public services. We also act as a force for improvement by providing practical recommendations and spreading best practice.

We are committed to working in partnership with other regulators and to ensuring that our own activities also represent value for the taxpayer.

Further details about the Commission can be obtained from its website www.audit-commission.gov.uk

For further information please contact:

Tony Cox, Regional Communications Manager (North)

Tel: 0113 251 6654

Fax: 0113 251 7131

Mob: 07837 385 193

Email : t-cox@audit-commission.gov.uk

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