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SCRUTINEER - AN INSPECTOR CALLS

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Best Value Inspection Service ...
Best Value Inspection Service

Durham CC

Durham CC provides a good economic development and regeneration service which has promising prospects for improvement, according to a report from the Best Value Inspection Service.

Inspectors, who gave the service two stars, found it was in-keeping with the council's mission statement: 'To make County Durham the best place in which to live, work and bring up a family.'

The report praised the strategic leadership the Labour-controlled council provided and its 'long and successful' track record of physically transforming the county. Inspectors said the council was proactive in intervening in crisis situations.

But the report warned there was tension between the objective of creating jobs and fostering enterprise, and duplication in business support which led to confusion among the council's business partners.

Leicester City Council

Leicester City Council has been praised for the way it runs its services for homeless people in a Best Value Inspection Service report. Inspectors said the Labour-controlled council was providing a good service that had excellent prospects for improvement. They gave it two stars.

The services for homeless people are provided jointly by the housing advice and rehousing service and the hostels and community care service at a cost of£2.4m a year. In particular, the appointments system, speed of processing applications, advice and partnership work was commended.

Inspectors were impressed by the fact that the council used bed and breakfast accommodation as a last resort. But the report did make a number of recommendations to improve certain aspects of the services.

Leicester was told to address the potential for customer confusion and the accessibility of the housing options service.

Malvern Hills DC

Refuse collection and street cleansing at Malvern Hills DC has been criticised in a Best Value Inspection Service report.

It revealed the council was providing only a fair service which had poor prospects for improvement and gave it one star.

The service, which is provided in-house at a cost of£1.3m a year but will be outsourced in the future, was said to have 'no clear vision and specific aims'.

There was a reasonable level of

customer satisfaction with the refuse collection and street cleansing services,

but recycling provision was not meeting expectations.

It was criticised for not making 'significant progress' in addressing issues raised by a recent best value review.

The commission drew up a list of recommendations for the council to implement at both a corporate and service level to help improve performance and aid the process of procurement.

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