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Council aims to be better than 'fair'

PUBLISHED: 09:41 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 01 August 2010

A DISTRICT council which was given a "fair" rating for its housing services earlier this year has implemented an action plan for improvements and has undergone a "considerable amount of progress," councillors will be told.

A DISTRICT council which was given a “fair” rating for its housing services earlier this year has implemented an action plan for improvements and has undergone a “considerable amount of progress,” councillors will be told.

A 2006 Audit Commission report branded Waveney District Council's strategic housing service as “poor” and gave it a no star rating on a scale that runs from zero to three. But in April auditors gave Waveney a “fair” one star rating with “promising prospects for improvement”.

The Audit Commission praised the council for providing more new affordable homes, reducing its use of bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless families and providing more choice for would-be tenants.

But the council was criticised for not meeting the needs for all sections of the community and the inspectors said they could not be sure if the authority's housing service was offering value for money.

Auditors made a number of recommendations for improvements and an action plan was drawn up to allow these to be implemented.

A report to councillors who will discuss the action plan next week says that 12 of the 17 recommendations have now been completed with a further four almost complete or ongoing.

One recommendation has been frozen because of the council's current financial position. The report says the commissioning of a private sector stock condition survey could cost £50,000 to carry out.

“Members will note that a considerable amount of progress has been made to date,” says the report's author Robert Prince, the council's head of environment and housing.

The action plan includes ways to strengthen the focus on access and customers, secure value for money and strengthen performance management. One of the key areas being worked on relates to equality and diversity.

The document will be discussed at a meeting of the council's housing scrutiny sub-committee next Tuesday where members will be asked to note and endorse the progress being made.

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