Our esteemed Council has been nominated for the "Council of the Year" award by the Local Government Chronicle, which is a publication that is the local government equivalent of a computer geek magazine! Our Council have proudly announced their nomination, with Council Leader Cllr Stephen Greenhlagh adding:
"Being nominated for LGC Council of the Year is a fantastic accolade and a result of the hard work of everyone at H&F Council in delivering exceptionally high quality services at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.
"The mistake some people make is believing that higher tax equals better services and that lower tax means cutting services - it does not. Our aim is to continue proving that councils can deliver more for less."
There are two things I find interesting about this. Firstly, the announcement of the winner is due on March 24th 2010 - just one month before next May's elections when the Conservatives will be trying to keep control of H&F Council. They would obviously (and quite rightly) trumpet this as part of their election campaign if they are awarded top prize. The second thing is the contrast between the way Stephen Greenhalgh is delighted to welcome this external ranking of H&F's services but chose to speak out against the Audit Commission for having the cheek to carry out it's own ranking of H&F's services - which is what it is there to do!
Speaking about the tiresome Audit Commission's inquiries into the way H&F delivers services to residents the same Stephen Greenhalgh said:
“Who cares what some Audit Commission bureaucrat sat in their ivory tower thinks of services in Hammersmith & Fulham? In all my years as council Leader I can count on one hand the number of times I have been asked what rating the Audit Commission gives the council."
Well yes, Cllr Greenhalgh, but how many fingers on that same hand would count the number of times you have been asked about the Local Government Chronicle's assessment of local authorities and where Hammersmith & Fulham stands in that assessment? Not a burning issue on the doorstep I would have thought.
The difference is that the Local Government Chronicle is a geek's magazine read by geeks while the Audit Commission is a statutory body that safeguards taxpayers money and assesses real-life service delivery. I know which one as a tax payer I care more about. Good luck with the awards though.