|Ealing 'weak' again as Audit Commission wins appeal|
Council to pay costs as Appeal Court backs original rating
Ealing Council has lost its bid to overturn the Audit Commission’s "weak" rating in the Appeals Court. The Court has upheld the Audit Commission’s verdict on Ealing.
In the original case the judge said the Commission had failed to "apply its own mind" to Ealing's overall performance. But for the CSCI's rating, the council's performance with a points score of 39 would have been categorised as "good". The "weak" categorisation had been treated by as an automatic consequence after the Commission for Social Care Inspection gave Ealing's social services department a zero star rating.
New Council leader Leo Thomson said, "We are very disappointed by this judgement. However, it must be remembered that Ealing Council has moved a very long way since the original CPA decision was made last year and is now providing even better services. "
The Council now has a new corporate board in place, a new chief executive and new political leadership.
Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Jason Stacey, said, "Wherever you go in Ealing, people tell you how poor the Council is at delivering services, so it was of no surprise in December when the Audit Commission delivered a ‘weak’ rating. What was really galling was the Labour administration’s refusal to accept the verdict of the umpire."
He called on new Leader, Cllr. Leo Thomson, who he says backed the decision to appeal, to apologise for the cost to residents of the legal action. The decision means that Ealing will have to pay Court costs which are set to run to many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Steve Bundred, Chief Executive at the Audit Commission said, "We have maintained throughout that the decision of the lower court was legally flawed and if allowed to stand would require us to second guess the decisions of other inspectorates within the CPA framework. Today's judgement is in the wider interests of local government. We will now be able to introduce our planned improvements to CPA, which combine a tougher test of local authority performance with a reduced burden on inspected bodies and taxpayers."
May 20, 2005