Redbridge Council shortlisted for Local Authority of the Year for second year running
PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 July 2020
Redbridge Council has been shortlisted for a prestigious award for the second year running, though not everyone feels the recognition is warranted.
One of six councils in the running to be the UK’s best local authority by winning the Municipal Journal (MJ) Achievement Award, Redbridge will discover its fate in October.
Leader Cllr Jas Athwal believes this recognition is “testament to the hard work” of council staff, who have been particularly stretched during the past few months.
He said: “This year in particular, as we all pull together to navigate our way through the Covid-19 outbreak, our staff have been unfaltering in their commitment to supporting our local communities.”
Among its achievements is the Outstanding rating from Ofsted for its local children’s services, the multi-million pound regeneration of Ilford town centre, and the pipeline of new affordable housing.
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Yet deputy leader Cllr Kam Rai says more can be done: “We won’t always get it right; we have a lot to do, but the passion and commitment to do better is clear. It’s pleasing to see Redbridge get recognition for the second year running.”
Leader of the opposition Conservative Group Cllr Linda Huggett shares her Labour counterparts’ admiration for the “exemplary” staff, commending their dedication to going “above and beyond” the call of duty.
However, while the Monkhams ward councillor says the Ofsted rating is “well deserved”, she has reservations about the other achievements.
“Whilst we welcome the multi-million pound regeneration of Ilford town centre, mainly from government and Greater London Authority (GLA) funding, in practice the improvements have still not materialized and the town centre is still dirty and run down.”
On the issue of affordable housing, Cllr Huggett acknowledges that “whilst there is a proposal”, the borough’s local plan risks failure because “current housing delivery targets have still not been met”.
This, she says, makes Redbridge the third worst performing London council, something which “could lead to a development free-for-all”.
She concluded: “Until the Labour administration get their act together Redbridge does not deserve to be local authority of the Year.”
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