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Damning: Audit Commission on Shepway Street Scene

March 29, 2007 9:29 PM
Litter and rubbish

Audit Commission report: "standard of cleanliness is poor"

An Audit Commission report published this week on Shepway Council confirms that on local streets "standard of cleanliness is poor", the Council "is not adequately meeting the parking needs of the community" and "has not been working to clear and published performance standards".

The report lists a catalogue of failures, including:

  • the Council has not been working to clear and published performance standards;
  • the overall measurable standard of cleanliness is poor;
  • it is not adequately meeting the parking needs of the community;
  • the Council's website is not as helpful as it could be for street scene enquiries;
  • the Council undertakes a range of enforcement actions but does not do so in a strategic or focused way;
  • it is not systematically evaluating the value for money it achieves for street scene services;
  • it is unable to demonstrate that its current contract arrangements for street cleaning and grounds maintenance work are delivering value for money; and;
  • some spending decisions have not conformed to plans.
  • The transfer of street cleaning and grounds maintenance services to a contractor was not well managed and this led to a decline in service quality that has been slow to recover.
  • The Council is not taking an effective approach in delivering and managing value for money in street scene services.
  • Procurement strategies, though improving, are underdeveloped and there are examples of spending on non-priority areas. In addition, performance management is under-developed with target setting not fully effective.

Shepway Lib Dem Council Group Leader Lynne Beaumont slammed the Council approach to the report. Lynne said:

"The Council should be ashamed of the spin they've put on this report - even the Government would be ashamed of a press release headed 'It's getting so much better all the time' considering the damning nature of much of the report.

"The report is clear that the transfer of services to Kent in 2004 arranged by the Conservatives was a disaster. The report says what local people already knew - the transfer was not well managed and the quality of services declined, leaving us with dirty streets.

"It's time we took this key service back under local control. Shepway should fully manage and control the cleaning of its streets. The Lib Dems are committed to focusing on making our streets clean our key priority. To fail to bring these services back under local management now would be to renege on a promise and to let down Shepway."

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