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SCRUTINEER - AN INSPECTOR CALLS

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Best value Inspection Service ...
Best value Inspection Service

Hounslow LBC

Hounslow LBC's repairs and maintenance service is fair but has uncertain prospects for improvement, according to the Best Value Inspection Service.

The service received a one-star rating. Inspectors said that, although the council's response to emergency repairs is good and telephone access times have been extended, customer satisfaction levels are still low.

Lead housing inspector for the London region, Jo Killian said: 'There are still too many delays in completing non-urgent and communal repairs. Appointments for non-urgent repairs and inspections are still not routinely offered to residents.'

Sedgefield BC

Sedgefield BC's housing maintenance service is poor and has uncertain prospects for improvement, according to the Best Value Inspection Service.

Inspectors gave the service no stars because it 'fails to have a customer focus, access to all aspects are limited, and information about the level of service customers can expect is lacking'.

Inspectors said poor working practices and inadequate IT systems reduce the service's ability to provide a good-quality, value-for-money service.

Housing chief inspector Roy Irwin said:

'The council has now begun work on a new improvement plan which recognises the weaknesses of the current service and is realistic in its short and medium-term goals.

If all the actions in the improvement plan are achieved this will deliver significant improvements to customers.'

He added: 'We found the service to be very poor and so the level of change required to move the service to a fair rating is substantial.'

A council spokesman said the council was 'disappointed' with the findings.

Southampton City Council

Southampton City Council's library and archives service has received one star from the Best Value Inspection Service.

Inspectors said the service is fair with promising prospects for improvement.

Weaknesses highlighted included the poor appearance of library buildings and book stock, limited opening times and lack of knowledge of what existing and potential customers would like from the service.

Recommendations included developing library service groups and devising a long-term service plan based on corporate priorities and estimated future finances.

Jane Wreford, regional director of the

Best Value Inspection Service, said: 'It [the council] has recognised the shortcomings

of the service and is willing to find solutions and new ways of working to make improvements.

'The challenge now is to improve the presentation of the library and archives service which meets local needs. If this

is tackled along with our other recommendations, we would expect to

see the service improve further.'

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