Qual­ity of life in county earns re­view’s green flag

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

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.

Far-sighted

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.”

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