Quality services get official recognition

government minister Nick Raynsford has praised 46 councils for the quality of
some of their key public services, as he announced beacon status awards this

Essex, Gateshead and Medway councils gained
the beacon status for their adoption services, while Nottinghamshire, Telford
and Wrekin and Lewisham councils were rewarded for their services in better
access and mobility.

Excellence and innovation were highlighted in
Babergh and Stevenage councils, Portsmouth City Council, and Middlesbrough, Brent
and Wigan councils under the theme neighbourhood renewal.

The promotion of racial equality was praised
in Leicester, Lewisham and Manchester councils.

Raynsford said: "Beacon status is much
more than a trophy. Becoming a beacon is just the start – the new beacon
councils will now help other councils learn from their experience."

"By sharing their best practice with
others, beacon councils can help raise standards of public services across the
country," he added.

The other councils won praise for crime
reduction in rural areas, community legal services, fostering business growth,
improving urban green spaces, the use of libraries as a community resource,
tackling fuel poverty, and for work on transition in education.

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