Friday, 8 February 2008

4 star rating for Sefton

Now let us not get carried away. There has been some very good work done in Sefton over the last 3/4 years on performance management and we have undoubtedly impoved. That is not the same thing as saying we are getting it all right. We quite clearly are not. Nevertheless we ought to congratulate all the staff involved, this is a real achievement and any attempt to rubbish it would be wrong.
One of the key items that the full report picks out is the progress over the major services review and the impact that should have on cost reductions and efficency. We all know more could have been and should have been achieved there. We will have passed the Rubicorn when all parties vote for the final deal. I think this is now probable but I still wait to see the vote.

It must also be said that the things being measured here might not accord exactly with the expectation of our citizens. They are still New Labour's targets. We have not fully taken control of the process . I am keen to get a much more robust and challenging focus on sustainabilty. Across local government and central government I do not believe that the urgency and high importance of this issue has been comprehended. In that context Nick Clegg and Steve Webb have produced some important ideas the other day Nevertheless let us enjoy our moment of praise, better this than being a one star authority. And of course I should say that I am cabinet member for performance. The report below was given to the council this week:

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council Score 2007
Sefton has been judged as a council that is improving well and demonstrating a 4 star overall performance.

Sefton's scorecard was published on the 7 February 2008 to include the 2007 direction of travel assessment. The published score for 2007 and stated that this is a council whose direction of travel is improving well and demonstrating a 4 star overall performance.

The Audit Commission reached this overall rating by looking at:
What progress Sefton Council has made in the last year – direction of travel
How Sefton Council manages its finances and provides value for money – use of resources
How Sefton Council's main services perform – service performance
How Sefton Council is run – corporate assessment

The following summary has been provided to support the 2007 direction of travel assessment:

Sefton Council is improving well. It continues to improve services in its priority areas and is improving at a faster rate than the majority of other councils. The local environment is cleaner and recycling is improving. Outcomes for children and young people are good, multi agency support for looked after children and care leavers is effective and partnership work to tackle bullying has delivered results. Pupils generally achieve good results in school exams and marks have improved in deprived areas of the borough. Services for older people continue to improve. The Council performs well in helping older people to live at home. Crime is reducing and crime levels are below average. However there is more to do to reduce the fear of crime in the borough. The Council is making good progress in increasing its knowledge of local communities and ensuring that services respond to those needs. The Council achieves good value for money with services that are below average cost. It is planning effectively for the future and a major service review designed to reduce costs and improve services is progressing well.
Audit Commission National Report 2007
The Audit commission has stated that the majority of councils are delivering a high level of services to local people, with four out of five offering a 3 or 4 star standard, according to the 2007 Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) results published today. Most councils are not only achieving a high standard in their administration, but are also improving their services, with three-quarters rated as improving well or strongly.

Two councils jumped two stars: Lambeth and Stoke-on-Trent, which was last year's lowest achieving council. Others have demonstrated the continuous improvements that councils can make, even when starting from a low base, with Bedfordshire, Hackney and Sefton improving their star rating in each year of CPA - The Harder Test. View the scores and analysis report.