Council: Improved Library Services Key To Economic Recovery

Coventry City Council has been nominated for an award recognising its "excellence" - despite complaints skyrocketing to an all-time high.

The authority has been shortlisted for ‘Council of the Year’ - awarded to authorities which demonstrate a "level of excellence and innovation that takes its work well beyond basic service provision".

But the nomination comes after a report revealed residents in the city had complained more than ever before about their service from the authority last year.

There were 136 complaints against the council to the Local Government Ombudsman between April 2017 to March 2018.

That is up 29.5 per cent from the year before, and is the highest number of complaints since the ombudsman's first annual report was published in 2005.

Complaints upheld by the ombudsman were also higher than for any other council in the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Why the council thinks it deserves the award

Coventry’s submission for 'Council of the Year' naturally highlighted its successes in gaining key titles such as UK City of Culture 2021 and European City of Sport 2019, as well as being a host city for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

The titles are set to provide a massive economic and cultural boost to the city.

Other areas the council highlighted in the entry included:

  • work to transform the city centre with a new train station and improvements to the Upper Precinct
  • creating new investment and jobs in the city
  • making more services available online
  • modernising the way it works with the opening of new offices at Friargate and a new Customer Service Centre in the city centre
  • improving Children's Services

The entry also praised the council for "revolutionising" the way it works to cope with unprecedented budget cuts - such as changing the way it provides library services.

The council announced a number of libraries would shut if community groups could not be found to take them over in a bid to save millions from the council budget back in 2016.

The decision was hugely unpopular and led to several protests by residents.

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