Rugby Borough Council is a ‘good council’ that is making things better for residents and has improving services whilst reducing costs, according to an independent local government review.
Councils used to be subject to compulsory assessments, similar to Ofsted in schools, but the government has removed this requirement.
However, Rugby Borough Council wanted an independent, objective assessment of its performance so it invited local government leaders from outside the area to undertake a ‘no-holds-barred’ review.
The findings have just been published.
The review found that the council has effective leadership focused on the leader of the council, who provides a “strong and progressive” focal point. The council has “positive politicians and officers who have Rugby’s best interests at heart.”
Cllr Craig Humphrey, leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “For many years we have watched other councils talk the talk while doing very little for their residents and businesses, but here at Rugby we have chosen to roll our sleeves up and actually make things better. It is gratifying that this approach has paid off, and that this independent review has found that we are a strong and effective council.
“We have unashamedly chosen to go for growth, and with new housing being built and some significant new businesses choosing Rugby, we have weathered the recession well. Our ambition in years past means that we are still financially stable and have no need to consider any cuts to our services at the present time. In the medium term, this growth will mean that we will be able to continue to provide services and infrastructure for our residents.
“Rugby has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and the percentage of its 16-64 year olds who are economically active is the highest in the country. This didn’t happen by accident – we will continue to build on this success by attracting more quality employers to the borough. We will also work to attract retailers like Debenhams to the town so residents don’t have to travel elsewhere for their shopping.
“The findings of this review are personally gratifying too. When the council moved to a new management structure four years ago I knew it was the right thing to do even though it attracted a lot of criticism, much of it directed at me. Now, the model that we have pioneered is being adopted by more and more councils. Only recently, Birmingham, the largest council in Europe, has decided not to have a chief executive.
“I knew we were doing the right thing, and it’s nice to have that confirmed independently and be told that the value that I bring should be recognised. I will continue to put Rugby’s best interests first, confident that our vision for a growing, attractive borough is being delivered.”
The full review, published by the Local Government Association, can be downloaded from the council website at www.rugby.gov.uk.
Residents will have an opportunity to quiz Cllr Humphrey at an event to be held at Warwickshire College on 11 November, which will also be attended by representatives of the police, county council and health services.
For more information about this event see www.warwickshire.gov.uk/rugbyarea.
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