Council is still a star turn

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council has kept its stars while all around are losing theirs (except Suffolk and Bedfordshire, which gained one). The independent Audit Commission s latest comprehensive performance assessment gives Cambridgeshire three stars out

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council has kept its stars while all around are losing theirs (except Suffolk and Bedfordshire, which gained one).

The independent Audit Commission's latest "comprehensive performance assessment" gives Cambridgeshire three stars out of four for the third successive year.

Essex, Hertfordshire and Norfolk all dropped from four stars to three. Suffolk improved to the top-ranking four-star rating, while Bedfordshire has steadily improved from one star two years ago to three.

The CPA looks at how efficiently councils are run, the quality and delivery of services provided across a range of areas, including housing, care for the elderly, education and recycling, and whether those services are delivering value for money for the taxpayer.

Nationally, most councils are not only achieving a high standard in their administration, but are also improving their services, with three-quarters rated as improving well or strongly.

Michael O'Higgins, chairman of the Audit Commission, said: "This is good news for most councils and taxpayers in England, with the majority of councils performing better than ever. The 2007 results show that councils continue to rise to the challenge of delivering better services for local people at better value for money.

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"Today's results show that most English councils are in a strong position to take on the more demanding role now expected of them. Where there are challenges we know the characteristics they need to copy from the highest performers: strong leadership, a skilled management team willing to take tough decisions and an ongoing focus on poorly performing services."

Details of the assessment are not yet available, and Cambridgeshire County Council refused to comment before midnight tonight (Wednesday).

Last autumn, the commission said CCC was performing adequately, but identified several areas for improvement.

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