STAFF morale among workers at Darlington Borough Council is at an all-time high.

The results from the latest staff survey from the local authority reveals that 75 per cent of employees believe the council is a good organisation to work for, believe teamwork is encouraged and that they are supported during stressful situations.

Almost 80 per cent say the council is committed to delivering a better service.

The survey, which was released after The Northern Echo requested it under the Freedom of Information Act, is largely positive, with few employees giving negative answers to the 40-plus questions.

The survey, taken last year, shows improvements on 2003, which a council spokesman yesterday said was encouraging.

Eighty per cent of workers feel they help the council to deliver a high quality service and over 70 per cent feel valued and fairly treated.

The best responses to the survey came from corporate and chief executives. Workers from the education department provided the second most positive responses.

Social services were the most negative and it was the only sector to record worse answers than the previous year.

Almost 12 per cent of all staff do not think they are treated fairly at work and one in five members of staff said they were not informed of issues which affect the council and impact on their jobs. A total of 17 per cent said they didn't feel motivated at work.

Don Bristow, council cabinet member for resources, said: "The responses we have recorded are very positive.

"Our organisational development strategy, which was launched in 2002, focuses on three key areas - people management, performance management and communication.

"The results of our employee survey, combined with our recent rating as an excellent authority, clearly demonstrate that this strategy is bearing fruit."

However, there is still room for improvement. One in ten staff do not feel their manager asks for their ideas and opinions and one in 14 don't feel their views are listened to.