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RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT DIRECTIONS: HACKNEY SAYS 'RECOGNISE PROGRESS'

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Statement from Hackney LBC leader Jules Pipe, in response to today's announcement from various secretaries of state...
Statement from Hackney LBC leader Jules Pipe, in response to today's announcement from various secretaries of state*.

'The political leadership and senior management of Hackney LBC are committed to achieving significant and sustained improvement in the services provided by the Council and to restore financial control in all areas.

'We accepted the Audit Commission's conclusion in November 2000 that the council required extensive external assistance in this task. We are grateful for the support we have been given to date.

'The statements from ministers are critical of Hackney's past failures - and we as councillors have been similarly critical. But it is time to recognise the changes which have taken place in the council and the progress which has been made. The achievements of our new revenues and benefits service since April are particularly impressive. We are on target to clear the backlog by the end of December. We have already reduced the time for processing new claims from six months to one month.

'The draft directions reflect the discussions we have been having with government and incorporate many of our suggestions for moving forward. They are achievable with appropriate support in terms of both filling key management positions and providing financial support to enable us to protect services while we bring the finances back into balance.

'The government has made clear that in a number of areas this support will be forthcoming. We will therefore be continuing our discussions with government as we prepare our response to these draft directions.'

* see LGCnet'TOUGH DIRECTIONS TO BRING IMPROVEMENTS TO HACKNEY LBC'

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