More work needed to aid recovery

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DONCASTER Council still has some way to go towards its recovery since Government intervention, admits its top manager.

But chief executive Rob Vincent says progress towards better working at the authority has been good so far.

In the eight-page document, Mr Vincent reports the council has been realistic in developing responses and adopted a mature approach to decision making.

The Government took action over the council after the Audit Commission warned it was ‘failing’.

It said the council was not properly run and was failing in its legal obligation to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in its work regarding economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

It added those leading the council – the Mayor and Cabinet, some councillors and some officers – did collectively have the capacity or capability to make the necessary improvements in governance.

But Mr Vincent, who was brought in after the Audit report, said: “A lot of good work has been done to get to where we are now and that’s testament to the commitment of officers and elected Members and the determination to ‘put things right’. I believe we are on track to build further on the achievements of the past year and work towards sustaining Doncaster’s recovery beyond the intervention.

“We are under no illusions, however, that there is still some way to go and this is also illustrated in the report.”

The report charts progress in 11 areas of the recovery.

It says there are encouraging signs of improvement in the Children’s Service Improvement Plan, although its annual Ofsted report published in December’s assessed Doncaster’s performance as remaining poor for 2009/10.

A new Safeguarding Strategy and Action Plan was launched in October.