Bolton Council and its partners have been praised as performing well by the new Comprehensive Area Assessment.
The assessment aims to assess how well local public services are performing and working together to meet the needs of the people they serve.
The Comprehensive Area Assessment is carried out by the Audit Commission and is a new way of assessing local public services in England based on a joint assessment made by six independent inspectorates.
The Area Assessment found that the Bolton Vision partnership is performing well on delivering economic prosperity to the town and has bold plans to regenerate Bolton town centre over the next 10 years, with an investment of over £1 billion. The Vision partners have worked closely with property developers to ensure that none of the developments are cancelled.
The report also finds that the Vision partnership is responding well to rising unemployment, by helping more adults to get qualifications, using the council’s ‘Work Shop’ and working together to improve the skills of the local workforce and help them get jobs. 240 people who were on long-term incapacity benefit have been helped by the ‘Work shop' to get back into work over the last year.
The Area Assessment also notes that Bolton Vision has performed well in making Bolton a cleaner, greener and safer place to live. The council and its partners are working well together to tackle anti-social behaviour and there has been a great improvement in the cleanliness of the borough and reduction in graffiti and litter.
The council and its partners have also performed strongly in reducing the number of homeless people and making sure all tenants live in homes that meet the Government standard for decent homes, as well as working with housebuilders to increase the number of houses in Bolton.
However, the Area Assessment also does highlight areas where Bolton Vision needs to improve. The report found that there have been some improvements in the health of people in Bolton, but that the council and its partners still face a major challenge in improving overall health.
Chris Hopkinson, Chair of Bolton Vision commented: “The Bolton Vision partnership is committed to improving life for local people. We are pleased that the Area Assessment recognises the good work which is being done by partners across Bolton and we are determined to continue to work to promote economic prosperity for Bolton and to narrow the gap between different areas of the borough.”
In terms of the council’s performance, the Audit Commission praises the council’s provision of adult social care, which is amongst the best in the country. Results from an annual performance assessment by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) show that Bolton is a top-ranking three star authority for adult social care for the fifth year in a row. The council is also praised for improving educational outcomes for young people. OFSTED has rated Children and Young People’s services as performing well and there will be further investment across both primary and secondary schools across the borough.
Finally, the Organisational Assessment, which assesses the work of the council as a whole also found that Bolton Council is performing well on managing its performance and use of resources.
Council Leader Cliff Morris commented: “We are pleased that we have been assessed as performing well by this new type of assessment. We are committed to delivering better services and real improvements to the quality of life for local people and plan to work with our partners to make Bolton more prosperous, achieving, healthy, cleaner, greener, safer, stronger and more confident in the years to come.”