Rugby town hall staff ‘listening’

The design of Rugby's new leisure centre has been citied as an example of listening to the public.
The design of Rugby's new leisure centre has been citied as an example of listening to the public.

Staff and councillors at Rugby town hall have received top marks for providing everyday services for a wide range of people.

Rugby Borough Council has become the first district or borough authority in the country to be rated “excellent” in its efforts to serve everyone equally.

A team of independent reviewers coordinated by the Local Government Association gave the award after visiting the council over a three-day period last week. They saw council staff delivering services first-hand, visited communities, and met with representatives from partner authorities, and voluntary and community organisations.

Cllr Derek Poole, chairman of the council’s equalities steering group, said: “We have taken a very different approach to equality to almost every other council – we have focused on delivering great services that are tailored to each and every customer, no matter who they are or what their need may be.

“I am thrilled that this unique way of doing things has been recognised for delivering great services for our residents.”

The inspectors cited various examples of the efforts made to include various people’s views in decisions made. One example was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre, for which the council had asked the Rugby Disability Forum to specify their needs.

The inspectors also cited a project with neighbouring authorities and the Homes Improvement Agency, which has resulted in residents getting their homes adapted far quicker than previously.

They also praised the council for working with young people to provide new skate and parkour facilities in suitable locations – and asking them to choose the designs.

The findings also identified some areas to make improvements, including sharing success within the authority, and making sure that voluntary sector partners are told about ways they have helped to improve things for residents.

Borough council leader Cllr Craig Humphrey said: “Rugby residents know they are getting good value for money, but this finding also shows that they are receiving good, responsive services that are tailored to their needs. We have already offered to share our success with other councils, and I am more than happy to show them the Rugby way.”