Burnley Council performing well despite budget pressures

Burnley Town Hall
Burnley Town Hall
Share this article

Burnley Borough Council attracted £51m. of private sector investment in the last year.

The figure was revealed as Burnley councillors were updated on the progress of the council's partnership with private contractor Liberata.

The council's Scrutiny Committee heard that:

• The borough attracted £51m. of private sector investment in 2017/18 through the inward investment service and business support programmes. This compares with £9.8m. in 2016/17.

• In the last year, resident satisfaction with parks and green spaces remained at over 80%: this is higher than other areas in the county.

• In quarter four of 17/18, 100% of major planning applications and 92% of minor applications were processed in time. Comparative data shows that the Burnley team's performance was above the North West districts’ average for both major and minor applications, and is well above the benchmarks set for planning teams in England.

• In quarter four of 17/18, Streetscene brought 22 successful prosecutions for dirty back yards, resulting in £4,450 of costs being awarded, compensation of £1,650, and fines amounting to £13,480.

Members also heard that employee sickness absence rates within the council are lower than those in other councils in Lancashire, 70% of staff had 100% attendance in the last year.

Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said: “The quality of council services remains high despite the budget pressures that come with years of cuts from central government. That said, the staff in the council don’t dwell on the cuts, they are focused on helping to keep the borough clean, safe and one of the best places in the UK to do business.”

Liberata was brought in to take over the running of some services from the council at the start of 2016. These included customer services, revenue and benefits, and environmental health.

In the contact centre, Liberata met their target to answer 80% of calls promptly.

Liberata's Burnley benefits team also achieved its targets; against a target of nine days, it took less than six days on average to process new benefits or a change of circumstance.

The partnership was part of Burnley Council’s strategic planning around maintaining essential public services while meeting ever-increasing financial challenges.

As part of the deal, Liberata agreed to create new jobs in the borough. Councillors were told that Liberata was ahead of projection - 52 new jobs had been created by the end of March 2018, ahead of the target of 40.

Council chief executive Mick Cartledge said: “I am proud of what we have achieved over the last year. Occasionally our services don’t get it right, and there is still much to do as we continue to improve the borough, so the hard work will not stop.”