Council improving but stays two-star

By Martin Neville

Friday, March 6, 2009

 

THE Isle of Wight Council remains a two-out-of-four-star authority for the fourth successive year.

The authority was judged to be improving adequately by the Audit Commission, ranking it among the bottom in the South East.

The commission said services had improved, including adult care, access to services, truancy reduction and dealing with empty properties, but progress in other areas such as services for children and young people, which remain at an adequate level, had been limited.

Planning decisions and benefit claims were taking longer, the commission said.

It found waste recycling was improving at 39 per cent, but the volume of waste collected continues to grow.

The commission did recognise a clear vision, plans and progress to tackle education, highway maintenance and waste management.

Cllr David Pugh, Isle of Wight Council leader, said: “While it is heartening to see our improvements to services being recognised by the Audit Commission over the past four years, we are even more pleased that our last residents’ survey, and early indications from the official Place Survey, which replaces previous best-value performance indicator surveys, confirm residents recognise improvements are being made and are feeling the impact of those improvements.

“That said, we are not complacent and will continue in our determination to improve our services to meet the priorities of local residents and very much hope that these will be recognised in the new Comprehensive Area Assessment that will report later this year.”

In a statement, the council said since the evidence was collated, it had undertaken and implemented the findings of a review of planning services to improve the service.

Jill Wareham, Isle of Wight Lib-Dem prospective parliamentary candidate, said: "The Conservatives have failed dismally over the last four years through their wastefulness. Evidence of this is shown through appalling financial mismanagement, the disintegration of our roads through lack of investment and the failure to do anything about education improvements during their term of office.

"It is time for people to challenge the Conservatives running the council about what they have achieved in the last four years. They have had long enough to make their mark.

"We look forward to the elections in June when the residents of the Island will have an opportunity to vote for a team of new and experienced Liberal Democrats, who will be working under a new mandate for the benefit of their local communities."

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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