Suffolk gets top marks

SUFFOLK has retained its place as one of England's top-performing councils, again winning four stars for the quality of its services.

SUFFOLK has retained its place as one of England's top-performing councils, again winning four stars for the quality of its services.

The number of councils in the leading category has almost tripled since the introduced in 2002 of comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) - the Audit Commission's annual measure of English councils' performance.

There are 62 single tier and county councils receiving four stars today and 30 of the 149 authorities have made substantial improvement and leap two or more stars. In the East of England, Norfolk joins Suffolk on four stars, up from last year's three star rating, while Essex remains on three stars.

This means that of the 10 Eastern single tier and county councils - Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire county councils and Peterborough, Luton, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock unitary authorities - nine are rated as three or four stars. Thurrock is one of only six councils in England to be assessed as 'not improving adequately'.


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Michael O'Higgins, chairman of the Audit Commission, says: “CPA has been a challenge to which local government has risen very well, and our retrospective report records the success of many councils that are to be congratulated. As we say goodbye to the star rating system, it is heartening to see a record number of four star councils.”

The star system is being phased out partly because of the increasing co-operation between councils on running their public services. From April, CPA will be succeeded by comprehensive area assessment, which will have more focus on users of services.

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Although there will still be organisational assessments of councils, they will also be scored on their pivotal role in achieving improved local outcomes in partnership with other providers of services to the public.

Suffolk county council leader Jeremy Pembroke said the star rating was “a strong endorsement of the exceptional council services Suffolk county council provides for local people, and vital to all of us in this economic climate, at incredible value for money.”

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