'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.
'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'