Council work attacked
Dominic Bareham GREAT Yarmouth Borough Council is delivering an inadequate level of performance, according to a report by auditors.Inspectors from the Audit Commission found that while services in many areas continued to improve, the council was performing particularly poorly in the areas of financial reporting, financial standing and internal control.
GREAT Yarmouth Borough Council is delivering an inadequate level of performance, according to a report by auditors.
Inspectors from the Audit Commission found that while services in many areas continued to improve, the council was performing particularly poorly in the areas of financial reporting, financial standing and internal control.
The report of the audit for the year 2006/7 made comparisons with inspections carried out since the last Annual Audit and Inspection letter.
Of particular concern to auditors was the fact that a statement of accounts for that period had not been prepared by June 30, as required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2003, and the council's management of resources had not improved.
Although the performance of the council's planning department was “sound”, the processing of planning applications was taking too long which could hinder the pace of economic growth.
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The number of littering and graffiti incidents also got worse in 2006/7, while council staff were taking longer to fix non-urgent repairs to properties and the accuracy of benefits processing had declined.
Questions were also raised over the council's ability to deal with major regeneration projects because of a lack of in-house experts to run these schemes to time and budget, while the lack of new affordable housing projects in the borough was also a worry.
Plus points for the council were improvements in answering calls and its role in improving the appearance of the borough through projects such as the new outer harbour, and regeneration work along Marine Parade and St George's Park.
The report also praised the council for reducing the amount of waste collected per household, while the number of homeowners recycling was rising.
Most customers were satisfied with their most recent contact with the council, said the report, while improved websites and a new council magazine were improving communication with the public.
“Services continue to improve in many areas the council identified as priorities. Local people are becoming more satisfied with the services they receive, but a number of these services are not of a consistent high quality and overall performance, as gauged by performance indicators, remains below average,” the report said.
Susan Jewkes, the commission's relationship manager, addressed councillors with the findings at a cabinet meeting.
Council leader Barry Coleman said progress was being made in tackling fly tipping and environmental issues, while the council was working in partnership with other agencies such as Job Centre Plus to tackle the number of people on incapacity benefits.
The cabinet meeting also heard that the council is set to underspend on its £16m budget for 2007/8 by £140,000.