Improve council services'

PUBLISHED: 14:07 26 July 2007 | UPDATED: 21:45 29 May 2010

UTTLESFORD District Council must do more to improve access to services for people living in rural areas. That was the outcome of a report by the Audit Commission published on Thursday. The report states that rural isolation hinders people s access to ser

UTTLESFORD District Council must do more to improve access to services for people living in rural areas. That was the outcome of a report by the Audit Commission published on Thursday.

The report states that "rural isolation hinders people's access to services" and said the council needed to improve its communication with the harder-to-reach sections of the community.

Tracy Turner, director for communities, said: "The rural nature of Uttlesford is one of the challenges we face in ensuring all sections of the community can access council services when and where they need to".

The report awarded the council a "fair" and "improving" rating in its access to services inspection. It was praised for being "easy to contact and responsive," and its handling of complaints was described as "good compared with most other councils."

Ms Turner said: "We are pleased the inspectors have recognised this authority has a strong track record of delivering improvements and that we already have plans in place to address the issues raised by the Commission."

The inspection recognised some good initiatives by the council to lesson the effects of rural isolation but said there was no authority-wide strategy in place to address the problem.

The report described the council's prospects for improving as "promising," and recognised its achievements in developing major initiatives such as its new recycling scheme and the planning application for Stansted Airport.

"The council shows good awareness of what it needs to do to improve access and how best to do it," the report said.

The council agreed with the Audit Commission's 11 points of action, including developing its sustainable community strategy to deal with rural issues.

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