BASILDON Council has been praised by a Government watchdog for its services and the way it handles public money.

The Audit Commission’s Oneplace website has rated the council as performing “well” in meeting the needs of residents.

The council scored a three under the new Comprehensive Area Assessment, one below the top score of four.

Recent initiatives, such as “recession-busting” advice days, free weekend car parking, business clinics and credit crunch advice leaflets were also highlighted in the report.

Other improved services identified included benefits, recycling, street cleaning and supporting local people to develop skills and gain employment.

The council was also given credit for managing to save £1million over the 2008/09 financial year.

Council leader Tony Ball said: “This is fantastic news for the district.

“We have been working hard to meet the needs of all our residents, and this independent assessment shows we are heading in the right direction.”

The findings also revealed how the council is:

  • Managing finances well
  • Working effectively with partners to promote safer communities
  • Tackling antisocial behaviour
  • Has helped reduce crime in the district.

The council’s chief executive, Bala Mahendran, said: “I am delighted the achievements of the council and partners have been highlighted by the assessment.

“We are committed to working together to continuing to improve outcomes for local people even further.”

Phil Turner, councillor responsible for resources, said: “I am pleased the council’s dedication to improving value for money has been properly recognised in the assessment.”

Southend, Castle Point and Rochford councils were all rated three for their performance.

The full results of the assessment are available by visiting