A DAMNING report into Southend Council’s highways department has revealed under-staffing and bad management are behind a TWO-YEAR backlog of work.

The new joint administration has revealed an inspection of the department was carried out by the Local Government Association in October, which highlighted failings in management and performance.

The ruling alliance has now also revealed chronic understaffing is also a major issue.

The Echo reported this week the department has so much work it is unable to deal with any more requests for residents parking permits, speed limits or parking restrictions due to an “absolutely tremendous” backlog of claims.

Ron Woodley, councillor responsible for transport, said: “The report came out in October on the state of management in the highways department. It’s an area where member requests are piling on and on with no one taking account of the number of staff and the financing.

“The report said there needs to be control and it needs to be managed and that’s what we have got to do. We need to look at restructuring and making sure that things are being done properly so we don’t put too much pressure on certain people.”

Former council leader, Conservative Tony Cox, said: “We accept there are areas that require improvement and measures were being taken to address those points raised in the report. There is an issue of resourcing within the department which again needs to be addressed.”

A council spokesman said: “The council invited the LGA to carry out a peer review of our highways service, to help with the development of these important services and functions.

“The review was intended to shine an honest light on both the key strengths of the service, but also areas where there is room for improvement.”

He added: “Whilst the review highlighted many examples of excellent work being carried out, an action plan has been developed to address these areas for improvement and is being delivered on, including improving how the service communicates with key stakeholders for example. “

“The service is committed to ensuring Southend is accessible and connected with a variety of sustainable methods of transport options.