Council improves from fair to good

INDEPENDENT auditors who inspected a Suffolk council have revealed the authority has improved from “fair” to “good”.

Laurence Cawley

INDEPENDENT auditors who inspected a Suffolk council have revealed the authority has improved from “fair” to “good”.

The news has delighted staff at Forest Heath District Council, which the Audit Commission said had a “good understanding of local needs” and showed “a sound approach to providing value for money services”.

The “good” ranking comes in the wake of the commission carrying out a comprehensive performance assessment of the council, which looks at its ambitions, its ability to improve services and what it has achieved.

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Forest Heath District Council is now 'good' according to a new report released today by the independent Audit Commission.

Audit Commission senior manager Edwina Child said: “Forest Heath District Council has good services and works well in partnership.

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“It has clear, shared priorities which ensure that it makes progress in getting results for local people. But it needs to continue its work on consulting with and meeting the needs of all community groups.”

Forest Heath leader Geoffrey Jaggard, said: “This is a real achievement and it has taken vision and hard work to get here. To have independent inspectors say we are performing well and consistently above minimum requirements is very gratifying and testament to our commitment to customer service.”

The council's chief executive David Burnip said: “We set out to be a good council and we have achieved our goal. There have been challenges along the way to this accolade, however staff and elected members have worked together to find solutions and the best way forward for customers.

“I am very proud of everyone at Forest Heath who has focussed on and worked towards this success."

The commission also highlighted a number of areas in which the council needs to improve. These included developing a systematic approach to consultation, ensuring it met the needs of people at risk of disadvantage and encouraging greater voluntary and community involvement in local services

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