Monday, January 16, 2006

Lib Dem Watford hits the big time

Watford Borough Council has been shortlisted in the ‘Most improved council’ category of the Local Government Chronicle Awards.

At the time Dorothy won the mayoral election four years ago and the Lib Dem administration too office, an Audit Commission report gave a verdict that Watford was ‘one of the worst-performing district councils in the country’ – a damning indictment of the previous Labour administration.

The council was an example of Labour at its worst. The previous leadership was obsessed with taking part in government pilot projects (‘Better government for older people’ etc.) rather than managing core services well. A veneer of community focus hid poor organisation and a lack of concern about service delivery.

We have turned this round by being uncompromising in pursuing priorities and concentrate on delivery of core services. Although none of the main services has so far been externalised, the knowledge that we would be willing to use the private sector if necessary has been a powerful driver for improvement in performance by in-house teams.

Last year the award was won by Southwark LBC and this year Islington are also on the shortlist. All in all Lib Dems seem to be making a good fist of sorting out Labour ineptitude.

For full details of the LGC Awards shortlist, click 'here'.


Paul Leake said...

Particularly impressive given that most of the other nominations are for much larger authorities than Watford.

Liberal Neil said...

This is brilliant news Iain. Please pass on my congratulations to Dorothy and your colleagues.

Angus J Huck said...

Yes, I endorse what the two previous correspondents say.

Watford is an example of a Lib Dem administration which lives up to its promises.

And it shows. Year after year, Lib Dem councillors get reelected, usually with ever bigger majorities. And go on winning new wards.

There are too many cases where Lib Dems take over a council only to slip and lose control again (often within one or two years).

Perhaps Watford can show these failed experiments how to get it right?

PS: The Lib Dem group in Three Rivers was at one time faltering. But since taking overall control, they have followed the Watford pattern. There must be something infectious here!