Sunday, March 08, 2009

Two whole stars from the Audit Commission for Liverpool City Council

I can quite understand why the ruling group is celebrating an improvement in the council's rating by the Audit Commission, after all there is no way down from being the worst council in the country (it was official) so any improvement would be a straw to clutch at.

But a straw is exactly what it is, nonetheless.

I have read the CPA reports giving the background to the national picture, and I note that

"For the third year running, no councils were categorised as 0 star. Only three per cent of councils (four councils) were 1 star in 2008. However, this represents an increase from 1 per cent of councils (two councils) in 2007. The two councils that were 1 star in 2007 (Liverpool and Rutland) both improved their star rating in 2008, to 2 star and 3 star respectively." (1 star in 2008 are Doncaster (controversial mayoralty), Haringey (Labour) and Milton Keynes (NOC, LibDem leadership). Surrey (Conservative) has appealed with a judicial review against theirs.)

So, we are not the worst council any more, but merely the 5th= worst.

Why if tiny Rutland could improve from one star to three, could we only manage to move up one place?

Could it be because we are in the deprived North, where it is hard to excel? Apparently not according to this report which says "The North East and North West regions also performed strongly overall, with at least 80 per cent of councils categorised as 3 or 4 star councils."

But don't take my word for it, have a look at the ratings for all councils in the whole country.

Other Metropolitan Authorities with a mere 2 stars are
Birmingham - Conservative
Bradford - Conservative
Liverpool - LibDem
Newcastle-upon-Tyne - LibDem
Oldham - LibDem
Sandwell - Labour
Wolverhampton - I suspect this is either a Tory council or a Tory/LibDem coalition.

Actually, you would be amazed at how hard it is find out who runs which authority, the council websites never say so you have to guess! So some of these above might be wrong, I have gone with the party of the leader, mainly.

I know that everyone in Liverpool will be pleased that we no longer have to be associated with a singular failure across the country, to be the worst, but it seems we have not risen as far as we should have and we are still sharing our shortcomings with councils we would not really wish to be compared with.

I wont even mention the fact that Band A properties are now going to pay over £1000 in council tax for the first time ever - £1007 to be precise.

My end of year report for Liverpool's LibDem council continues to read "Could do (considerably) better"

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