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SCRUTINEER - AN INSPECTOR CALLS

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Best Value Inspection Service ...
Best Value Inspection Service

Dorset CC

Two related services at Dorset CC have received low ratings following inspections by the Best Value Inspection Service, which does not expect them to improve.

The council's asset management service was rated poor and given no stars, while its property-related services received one star.

The asset management service is supposed to ensure the council uses its property effectively, while property-related services include the building management division and client property services.

Inspectors said the majority of the council's buildings are in a poor state of repair because of historic under investment.

Weaknesses included no link between corporate planning decisions and asset disposal and acquisition decisions.

The council was 'surprised' by the findings, as independent consultants appointed by the DTLR found the asset management service was 'fair and likely to improve'.

Hilary Cox (Con), cabinet member for the environment, said: 'It is a complete nonsense for the inspector to say this service will not improve. We are already working very hard to tackle this. This service will improve.'

Eastleigh BC

Much work needs to be done to the private sector housing service provided by Eastleigh BC to make it responsive to users, according to best value inspectors.

The service was rated fair, receiving one star, but inspectors said it has uncertain prospects for improvement.

Strengths included committed staff and adequate systems to manage grants. Weaknesses included lack of consultation with customers, performance management of staff and little help available for customers wanting to improve their homes.

Best Value Inspection Service chief inspector of housing Roy Irwin said: 'Customer consultation, initiatives to help those who do not have access to grant assistance and partnership working are all important aspects that can help develop and improve the service.'

www.bestvalueinspections.gov.uk

OFSTED

Wiltshire CC

Few functions carried out by Wiltshire CC's education department are performed well, according to an Ofsted report.

The council has progressed in its education provision since the appointment of a chief officer in January 2000 to the point where many functions are performed satisfactorily, but few well, inspectors said.

An increasing feeling of trust and confidence is emerging in many schools, but many retain an unrealistic expectation of the role of a modern education department.

Chief inspector of schools Mike Tomlinson said: 'The department is aware of its weaknesses and is now tackling many of them. It has the capacity to deal effectively with the issues raised in this report.'

www.ofsted.gov.uk

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