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Tories attacked after bad report

PUBLISHED: 09:51 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:02 21 May 2010

TWO leading politicians have clashed following the official release of another highly critical report into the performance of Waveney District Council.

TWO leading politicians have clashed following the official release of another highly critical report into the performance of Waveney District Council.

Waveney's Labour MP Bob Blizzard yesterday launched a stinging attack on the Tory-led council following its latest assessment by the Audit Commission.

In response, Waveney council leader Mark Bee accused Mr Blizzard of looking backwards and insisted measures were now in place to improve performance and turn the authority's fortunes around.

The row flared as officials from the Audit Commission prepared to address members of the council's executive committee about the findings tonight. The commission's annual inspection for the year up to March 31 last year reveals that performance had deteriorated in a number of priority areas.

Mr Blizzard said: “All we have heard from Waveney District Council over the last year is that they have turned a corner and things will start improving. This shocking report from the Audit Commission shows this is clearly not the case. It shows the council is simply not getting better.”

The report highlights poor performance in areas including management, use of council money, planning services and benefits.

Mr Blizzard added: “At the end of the day, the buck must stop with the Conservative leadership of the council.” He also accused the council of being “secretive” by only including the Audit Commission report as a late addition to tonight's executive committee agenda.

Mr Bee hit back at Mr Blizzard, pointing to the departure of former chief executive Glen Garrod in December and plans to foster a new partnership with highly-rated Suffolk Coastal District Council as indications of efforts to improve performance. “As Mr Blizzard knows full well, this historical report refers to a 12-month period up to December 2007 at which point we took firm and decisive action to overhaul our senior management team,” said Mr Bee. “While the MP is looking backwards, we are looking forward and I have no doubt that our closer ties with Suffolk Coastal District Council will enable us to improve both our performance and the quality of services delivered to the residents of Waveney and East Suffolk as a whole. We have had a difficult year, but the future looks bright.”

Responding to Mr Blizzard's accusations of secrecy, Mr Bee added: “I find it utterly remarkable that the MP could accuse of us being secretive when we discussed the findings of this report publicly with the media at the beginning of the month and have specifically asked the Audit Commission to bring it to the executive to be noted.”

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