Audit Commission say Council is Improving Strongly
Strong endorsement of Swindon Borough Council’s rapid improvement has been given by the Audit Commission in its latest inspection report.
The Commission says that Swindon has one of the fastest improving councils in the country, which is delivering better value for money and clear improvements for local residents.
In its Direction of Travel assessment, the Commission says Swindon Borough Council is improving strongly, its highest rating. It states:
- Vulnerable people now receive substantially improved services;
- Benefits services are now excellent;
- Housing performance remains strong;
- School results continue to improve, particularly in primary schools;
- The town centre environment is improving, with graffiti and litter noticeably reduced;
- New waste services have been rolled out and recycling rates are high;
- Roads are safer;
- Strong procurement and service reviews are achieving better value for money;
- Effective partnership working with other public services is resulting in wider community outcomes such as improved health and less youth crime;
- Services for adults, such as people with learning difficulties supported into work, are much improved.
Swindon Borough Council Leader Cllr Roderick Bluh said: “This assessment is testament to the huge amount of work that has been put in across the council to get us to where the residents of Swindon have a right to expect us to be.
“When you consider just how poorly the council was performing only a few short years ago, the turnaround has been dramatic. There’s still a lot of work to do, but the Audit Commission is in no doubt we’re heading in the right direction at a rapid rate.”
Nationally, only 18 councils out of the 150 Unitary and Single-tier authorities achieved the highest improving strongly rating.
In 2002 the Audit Commission rated Swindon Borough Council as among the worst performing councils in the country. It later credited subsequent changes in the council’s structure, the appointment of a new top team of officers and new political leadership as increasing the momentum of change.
Cllr Dale Heenan added “A huge amount of effort has been put in by both officers and councillors to get us to this point. However, we are ambitious for the Council and the Borough and will be pushing on to do even better. After the mess that Labour left Swindon in after 25 years of waste and mismanagement, 4 years of Conservative action means Swindon is no longer one of the worst performing Council’s and is continuing to improve.”