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SPEECHLEY FALLOUT HAUNTS LINCS

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Improvement at Lincolnshire CC has been 'significantly disrupted' by the Speechley fiasco....
Improvement at Lincolnshire CC has been 'significantly disrupted' by the Speechley fiasco.

In its annual audit letter to the council, the commission said publicity surrounding the conviction of former leader Jim Speechley, and subsequent departure of chief executive David Bowles, meant progress had been piecemeal. In particular, it highlighted social care and highways as areas yet to show consistent improvement despite substantial investment.

'The council has strived to make improvements in service delivery, but these have been significantly disrupted by managing the publicity surrounding the trial of the ex-leader, events leading up to the departure of the former chief executive and the subsequent need to find a replacement,' the auditor said. 'As a result progress has been mixed and although overall improvement has occurred, it is inconsistent across services and often balanced by reduced performance in other areas.'

Lincolnshire, which is currently under a caretaker leadership, decided earlier this month not to appoint a new chief executive until after the county elections (LGC, 14 April).

Interim chief executive Jan Didrichsen said the letter had been overtaken by events such as the Housden report into values, standards and behaviour at the council and no longer accurately reflected performance at the council.

'These are significant issues, but the letter relates to events that happened way back in 2003-04,' he said.

Mr Speechley was convicted of misconduct in public office for trying to improperly influence a road alignment to increase the development value of land he owned (LGC, 8 April 2004).

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