Watchdog Praises Council’s ‘Rapid Progress’

Independent inspectors have praised Haringey Council’s “rapid progress” in improving services. Michael Haworth-Maden, of the Audit Commission, presented the local government watchdog’s annual summary of its assessment of the council at a meeting of the executive committee.

He told councillors there had been “rapid progress in improving services in Haringey over the past five years”. Councillor George Meehan (Labour), council leader, called it ‘very good news’. But he added: “Clearly we will take very seriously the issues you have raised that need to be addressed.”

Earlier this year the local government watchdog awarded the council three out of four stars for its 2006 assessment. Only social care for adults fell short with two stars – down from three in 2005.

The commission’s appearance at the meeting was an opportunity for Councillor Isidoros Diakides (Labour), executive member for housing, to praise the service.

Last year he endured opposition Liberal Democrat calls for his resignation after the commission pointed to failings in the service. He said: “Last year the housing service was, unreasonably in my view, attacked very, very badly and a lot of spurious allegations made against it and the capacity of our officers was challenged to deliver.

“This external assessment by the auditor shows housing services went up from two stars to three stars for the first time ever and I think that is a tribute to those staff, who under pressure managed to deliver that improvement. I think it would be appropriate to put on record our thanks.”