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SOMERSET'S COMMUNITY PLANNING IS 'GOOD'

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Somerset CC's approach to community planning is 'good' and has promising prospects for improvement, according to an...
Somerset CC's approach to community planning is 'good' and has promising prospects for improvement, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

On a scale of zero to three stars, the Audit Commission inspection team gave the service two stars because it has a good understanding of the needs of the area and has clear plans to bring about improvements for local people through delivering the community strategy.

Robert Hathaway, Audit Commission senior manager, said:

'The council has a clear understanding of the needs of people in Somerset. It has worked well in partnership with businesses and other agencies to develop a community strategy to meet those needs. It is already delivering benefits for local people such as reduced numbers of burglaries by working with agencies such as the police and probation service, and new projects that lead to increased training and employment opportunities.'

The inspectors found:

--The council has a good understanding of the needs of the area

--The community strategy is clear and appropriate for Somerset

--The council and its partners are already delivering results for local people

To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations. These include:

--taking action on research and information, especially about marginalised communities

--improving involvement of young people and voluntary groups in influencing decisions

--improving publication of success stories

Somerset CC employs approximately 17,000 people and has a budget of£436m in 2004/05. The Somerset Strategic Partnership is made up of local government and public services such as health, police and learning providers. They have worked together to produce a vision and community strategy for Somerset.

Copies of the report are available on the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk

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