A NOTABLE treble of service excellence has been gained by Cheshire County Council.
For the third year in succession, the Independent Audit Commission rated the authority 'Excellent' in the way it serves its local people.
Council leader Paul Findlow said: 'This is tremendous news for everyone in Cheshire, particularly our 250,000 council taxpayers.
'Eighty-five per cent of the services they receive - education to highways and social services to libraries - are provided by this authority and are judged to be among the best in the country by the Audit Commission.'
In its Comprehensive Performance Assessment, the commission awarded Cheshire's main services with an overall performance score of four out of four.
The three-star rating places Cheshire into the exclusive Premier League of English top tier local authorities.
'Cheshire County Council has made progress in services for children and older people. We expect to see these services improve further in the next 12 months,' says the report.
'Children in Cheshire schools continue to perform well with better support being provided for those with special needs.'
The Audit Commission recognises that while services for older people have improved, balancing the increasing demand for those services with available resources is a 'continuing challenge'.
It highlights an expected improvement in Cheshire's road network with 'increased investment and new management arrangements' and compliments the authority's approach to performance management.
Labour leader Derek Bateman said: 'This rating is the result of a decade of hard work by the officers, staff and members of Cheshire County Council.
'There is no doubt that results like this - three years in succession - have to be earned the hard way. There are no shortcuts.'
Lib Dem leader Sue Proctor said: 'The Commission's findings are a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of our staff, working under severe pressure.'