Quality of life in county earns review’s green flag
six independent inspectorates to judge the quality of services across the county.
It singles out two initiatives in the county as exceptional. One is its pioneering Gateway centres, which include advice on licensing, health surgeries and services including libraries and benefits.
The other is the help and support offered to young people, saying so-called Neets – the number of young people not in education or employment – is coming down against the national trend.
Both merit “green flag” ratings in the assessment, and the Audit Commission says they are examples other authorities could follow. Kent has no “red flags” – an indicator showing where there is significant concern.
According to a separate assessment by the Audit Commission, also published yesterday (Wednesday), Kent County Council has cemented its reputation as one of the best-performing local authorities in the country.
It is one of just three counties to score the highest possible ranking, performing excellently with farsighted and strong leadership.
But there were more mixed results for Kent’s district and borough councils. Six were assessed as only adequate, meaning they are meeting only minimum requirements – Ashford, Dover, Gravesham, Shepway, Swale and Thanet. The remainder were performing well, with Sevenoaks excel- lent. When it comes to health, care is improving but not fast enough, says the Audit Commission.
On the positive side, more people are healthier and living longer than in other parts of the country and deaths from cancer, heart disease, strokes and infant deaths significantly lower than national average. The review says crime levels have fallen and more people feel safe than in other parts of the country.
Kent County Council leader Cllr Paul Carter said: “This is great day for Kent and its residents. We have been massively complimented on our achievements. These results don’t just happen. They are as a result of hard work, determination, innovation and dedication by everybody involved.”