Comprehensive Area Assessment
Lambeth is a great borough to live, work, learn and do business in and in the past year it's become cleaner, healthier and crime has gone down. That's the conclusion of a new national report called the Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) published on 9 December 2009. An assessment of the council's performance in isolation as part of the CAA scored us three out of four which means we are serving our 274,500 residents "well".
The study by the Audit Commission - an independent body that looks at how local councils and their partners perform on behalf of the government - concluded that Lambeth was heading in the right direction.
For the first time ever, inspectors assessed how well local public services, such as the council, police and health providers, were working together to deliver improvements for the borough as a whole.
It concluded all partners in Lambeth were working hard and succeeding in making the borough a better place to live in light of challenges, including the recession, but also highlighted some areas for improvement, including the standard of social housing.
An assessment of the council's performance in isolation as part of the CAA scored the council three out of four and concluded that "overall, Lambeth (Council) performs well".
The CAA is made up of two assessments. The first, called an area assessment, looked at a number of inspections of services in Lambeth provided by the council, NHS and police among others. It concluded the following.
- Business - public service providers are working well with businesses to help them through the recession. For example, £5 million has been set aside to protect local businesses and employment.
- Employment - the most important priority for Lambeth service providers is keeping people in work, or helping them find work. Therefore we have provided apprenticeship and voluntary schemes to help people improve skills and build up experience to prepare for future work.
- Children - Lambeth children are doing better than they were in the past and test results for 11 to 16-year-olds are improving faster than across the whole country.
- Crime and community - crime is falling in Lambeth. Between 2003 and 2007, crime dropped by a third. During 2008/09, crime has continued to fall in those areas where local people have most concern. Public services in Lambeth are good at getting people involved in shaping decision-making. Residents in Lambeth are more likely than elsewhere to feel they can influence decisions.
- Health and wellbeing - the overall health and wellbeing of people in Lambeth is improving, especially older people. HIV is treated effectively and progress has been made on reducing high levels of smoking. Schools and services for children and young people are good at encouraging healthy lifestyles.
- Poverty - vulnerable members of the community, particularly those who are likely to be most affected by the recession, get good support in Lambeth. Services are helping people take up education, training and employment opportunities. For example, family advisers based in children's centres are providing support and employment training for lone parents, couples with children, BME groups and parents with English as an additional language. This is helping some into work.
- Housing and environment - housing in Lambeth needs to improve, especially council-run homes. However, many people are being helped to find alternatives to social housing in the private sector and Lambeth partners are meeting targets around delivering new affordable housing. Public service providers have made some good progress in improving the environment. Streets are cleaner and residents' satisfaction with that rose by nine per cent in 2008. Police community support officers and the council work well together to reduce littering.
The second part of the CAA called an organisational assessment looked at the performance of Lambeth Council in isolation and concluded we "perform well" for which we were given a score of three out of four.
There are two parts to the organisational assessment. We are performing well against our priorities and received a score of three out of four for "managing performance".
We were scored two out of four for "use of resources", which relates to how well we manage our finances and govern our business. This means we met minimum requirements and performed adequately against tougher criteria.
Areas of strength included:
- children's services and adult social services are performing well
- crime continues to fall and targets for reducing crime are being met
- the number of young people not in education, employment or training has been reduced
- more older people have been able to make their own choices around the social care they get
- three quarters of Lambeth residents are satisfied with their local area and rate rubbish collection, recycling, street lighting, and street cleaning highly.
- young people in Lambeth are more positive about their primary schools, sixth form colleges and sport and leisure facilities than in 2007.
Some housing services and managing our income from housing were identified as areas we need to improve.
For more information on a year of performance achievements across all services in 2008/09, please see our Annual Report. For more information about the Lambeth CAA results, go to the Oneplace website.