Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Tackling issues that local people recognise as priorities, doing the right things to make residents feel safer and making good progress in making the area a better one in which to live are just some of the comments in a new national report about Thanet District Council.

The report, by the Audit Commission, is part of the new Comprehensive Area Assessment, which has two strands to it, firstly an organisation assessment, that looks at how every council in the country is performing and secondly looking at an entire area. Locally, the area assessment covers Kent and looks at what all public sector bodies in an area can achieve together.

The organisation assessment grades the council as performing adequately, commenting that the council's plans to spend money are well linked to what is important to local people. It also highlights that "councillors and staff work well together, and the council has saved money and used it to improve services."

The council is seen as having some success in tackling the causes of deprivation and is making good progress to create a greener Thanet. However, it points out that only one in five people believe the police and other local public services are successfully dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour and that a high amount of money is being spent on cleaning the streets, which has not led to improved satisfaction with this.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: "The Audit Commission have said themselves that this is a much tougher inspection regime than previously. It focuses on outcomes and we've been able to demonstrate a lot of outcomes, particularly in terms of putting resources where local people want to see their money being spent. When residents ask us to prioritise things, we listen and act and do exactly that. It's also encouraging that the report picks out the fact that we are making good progress in making the area a better one in which to live. Of course, there are things where we need to focus our attention and we'll continue to do that, as we strive to further improve the services the council offers to its residents."

In the Kent wide area assessment, the county has been given two green flags, which signify major achievements and innovations. The first has been given for the series of Gateways across Kent, of which Thanet's Gateway Plus, which opened in January 2008, was one of the first and remains a flagship for the county. The other green flag is awarded to improving skills to match Kent's growing economy.

Mention is made in the area assessment of Cliftonville West and Margate Central, with praise for public services, who are described as having "a good understanding of the complex issues affecting the area", with successes including a reduction in crime, improvements to Dane Park and local play areas, cleaner streets and improvements to local properties, some with the help of Renewal Area Grants from the council.

As part of the new assessments, a new website has been created where local people can see how all their public services are performing in Thanet.

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