Town halls have raised standard of services, says Commission

22 Mar 01
Most council environmental services in England have improved in recent years, according to the Audit Commission's latest performance indicators.

23 March 2001

The services examined by the commission included refuse collection, recycling, street cleaning, street lighting and public toilets.

The performance indicators pre-date the start of Best Value in April 2000 and are the benchmark against which local authorities can measure the success of council services under the new regime.

On average, local authorities had reduced the number of streetlights out of action from 1.25% in 1998/99 to 1.14% in 1999/2000, according to the Audit Commission's annual report.

There had also been an improvement in the recycling of household waste, up from 8.8% in 1998/99 to 9.3% in 1999/2000.

However, the number of occasions when rubbish collections had been missed increased from 177 per 100,000 collections in 1998/99 to 194 in 1999/2000. There was also 'considerable' variation in environmental services between neighbouring authorities.

For example, Stockport recycled 30 times more household waste than neighbouring Manchester. 'Most councils have risen to the challenge of improving the services that affect every resident in their areas.

There have been big improvements in areas such as recycling and street lighting,' said Audit Commission controller Andrew Foster.

'Nevertheless, some councils have a lot of work to do to catch up with the better performers.'


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