County council downgraded in ratings

SUFFOLK'S claims to be a top-rating local authority have ended today - but the county has been told it is “improving well.”The county has been granted three stars - out of a possible four - in ratings awarded by the government's Audit Commission.

SUFFOLK'S claims to be a top-rating local authority have ended today - but the county has been told it is “improving well.”

The county has been granted three stars - out of a possible four - in ratings awarded by the government's Audit Commission.

The previous categories of excellent, good, weak, fair and poor have been replaced by stars ranging from zero to four, with four stars being the highest.

Suffolk, which Suffolk won an excellent rating last year, has lost its top status because of an accounting technicality, which rates its “use of resources” at only two instead of three.

The new scoring system assesses the direction of each council's overall improvement using the following labels: improving strongly; improving well; improving adequately; and not improving adequately (or not improving).

Suffolk County Council masked its disappointment at losing its top status, saying it was pleased to be recognised in the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) for continuing to make improvements in all key areas of service delivery - education, social care and environment and transport.

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Council Leader Jeremy Pembroke: “Now we are faced with a new, harder test it is our ambition to progress to four stars under the new rules.

“We are delighted that the Audit Commission has recognised we are delivering improving, good value-for-money services, which is the only test that matters to the people of Suffolk.”

James Strachan, chairman of the Audit Commission, said: “Fewer councils than ever before are in the lowest two CPA categories despite this being a harder test than last year.”

Weblink: www.suffolkcc.gov.uk

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