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SCRUTINEER - AN INSPECTOR CALLS

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Best Value Inspection service ...
Best Value Inspection service

Ealing LBC

The housing management service provided by Ealing LBC has been judged to be fair, but has uncertain prospects for improvement, according to a report from the Best Value Inspection Service.

The problem for the future surrounds the council's failure to keep up to date with its own improvement plan. Inspectors have told the council it needs to address this as a priority.

Overall, the council was given one star for the service, which costs£20m a year.

Inspectors praised the resident participation unit and the improved housing benefit performance, which has brought it into the top quarter of London councils.

Joanna Killian, lead housing inspector for the London region, said: 'Ealing needs to put good contract management systems in place and develop a strategy for rolling out its large-scale improvement projects to ensure tenants and residents receive good quality services.'

Penwith DC

The waste management services provided by Penwith DC are fair and have excellent prospects for improvement, according to a Best Value Inspection Service report.

Inspectors found effective refuse collection, clean central streets and well-regarded

front-line staff, and gave the service one star.

But the council's performance for recycling and composting was considered poor. The report said some back streets were not kept clean, the amount of waste collected was exceptionally high and the council had not done enough to find ways of reducing waste.

It acknowledged the council was focusing on improving services by introducing a kerb-side collection of recyclable goods and plans to provide better composting facilities.

Trevor Smale, managing inspector of the southern region, said: 'Penwith provides a well-regarded refuse and street cleaning service. However, the council recognises that to make meaningful improvements to the service it must focus on improving recycling and reducing waste.'

Stockton-on-Tees BC

Stockton-on-Tees BC's estate management service is fair and has promising prospects for improvement, according to a report from the Best Value Inspection Service.

The inspection team gave the service one star because tenants were generally satisfied with the service, but there was room for further improvement. Weaknesses were identified with accessibility and the system of performance management.

In a bid to improve the service, inspectors urged the council to carry out a value-for-money review. But officers and members were praised for their commitment to the service.

Mike Maunder, leading housing inspector for the northern region, said: 'There is a clear drive and focus to respond positively to problems and deliver change and improvement. However, some uncertainty remains as to whether all of the actions set out in the improvement plan are achievable within the relatively short timescales.'

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