The awarding of four stars is excellent and welcome news. Not only does it recognise the major turnaround in key front line services, but it also recognises that the Council is well placed to continue to improve. Does it mean everything is perfect – no!

Inevitably things go wrong. Barnet is a huge borough and not everything works well all the time. The key issue is that in 2002 many significant parts of the Council were failing and on the verge of being taken into direct control by Central Government – the equivalent of special measures for Councils. Education – once the jewel in the crown – and Planning were being eyed up by Whitehall.

Now Barnet has been judged by Ofsted as the best Local Education Authority in London. The planning team – everyone’s favourite whipping boy – is not only the 2nd busiest in London, but amongst the best. The progress is down to a huge effort by Council staff to pull things around.

Does it matter being 4 Star? Maybe not – no doubt some of you will post your own complaints – fair enough. One of the key benefits, however, is that our staff who have worked hard to make changes, have been recognised and a 4 Star Council will be able to attract and keep the best staff.

That in the long run has to be good for everyone.