Ealing Council rated weak by Audit Commission

Joins Hackney and Lambeth as one of lowest ranked London Councils

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The London Borough of Ealing has been downgraded to ‘weak’ in this year’s Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA), published by the Audit Commission.

Ealing now joins Council's such as Hackney and Lambeth in being rated as weak. They were the only Council in London to see a deterioration in their rating in the latest assessment

Council leader, John Cudmore, described the rating as an 'injustice'. He said the Audit Commission has marked the council down from ‘fair’ despite giving the council three out of four for both its overall performance rating and the way it is run. The Commission’s own tables also show the council is ‘good’ and has improved or stayed the same in every area of service delivery.

Under current rules the Audit Commission automatically ranks a Council as weak if they achieve a zero star rating for a key area like social services or education.

Ealing Council's rating for social care slipped from one star to zero stars in the annual Report published by the Commission for Social Care and Inspection (CSCI) recently. It was one of only 8 Councils in the country to receive the lowest rating. Social care covers all social services, including residential and nursing homes, domiciliary care, children's homes and foster carers.

Mr. Cudmore said: “This judgement simply does not stack up. It’s an injustice. We are providing very good services to Ealing’s residents as the Audit Commission states, but this is being overshadowed by a rule that they themselves propose not to apply next year.”

The Commission has consulted on scrapping the ‘zero star’ rule and replacing it with a more complicated formula. Under both the new formula and the official ratings system Ealing would be categorised as a ‘good’ council in all areas.

The Audit Commission did express concerns about the number of high level departures at the Council saying, "the significant turnover of senior staff represents a risk to realising this vision and maintaining service improvements. Ealing Council needs to tackle the low performance in some of its services."

Ealing Council has embarked on a massive investment programme called 'Making a World of Difference' the aim of which is to obtain an 'excellent' rating from the Audit Commission.

December 16, 2004