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Leader hits back after his council is rated 'adequate'

PUBLISHED: 16:30 16 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:19 23 August 2010

KB4301	15-02-07	Gravesend	Michael Snelling

KB4301 15-02-07 Gravesend Michael Snelling

A COUNCIL has reacted angrily to suggestions in a report by the Audit Commission that it is only adequate at carrying out its duties. The Oneplace report, publishedon December 9, looks at Use of Resources, Managing Finances, Governing Business and Mana

A COUNCIL has reacted angrily to suggestions in a report by the Audit Commission that it is only "adequate" at carrying out its duties.

The Oneplace report, publishedon December 9, looks at Use of Resources, Managing Finances, Governing Business and Managing Resources, all of which Gravesham Borough Council scored two out of four on, with four being excellent and one poor.

A spokesperson for the council said: "It has been made clear that the council is very

unhappy with the report which does not reflect the positive comments in other Audit Commission documents on the improvements the council has achieved.

"The Oneplace report is oversimplified and as such doesn't properly capture a balanced and true position of the council and its performance. The oversimplification limits the meaningfulness of the report." It also cites problems with the delivery of recycling services, of benefits, and of generally low fitness levels for the county. The lack of a feeling of community cohesion is also mentioned.

The report also criticises the levels of crime in the borough, though it recognises that they are falling and is complimentary on the council's use of its finances and the way it is trying to improve its work with other organisations. Council leader Cllr Mike Snelling, pictured, said: "All the challenges faced by the new administration were immense and it is pleasing to see recognition of the way we have responded to those challenges in the report, especially the financial management of the council.

"But I do support our officers' view that there are unjustified criticisms levelled in the report. The chief executive will be seeking a meeting with the Audit Commission to directly explore these concerns."

Claire Bryce-Smith, the Audit Commission's Oneplace

spokesperson for Kent, said: "We stand by the findings and conclusions in our report, and look forward to working with Gravesham Borough Council as it continues to seek to improve services for the people of Gravesham."

nick.hitchens@archant.co.uk

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