STAFF at a council that has been criticised by the Government for its poor housing service are in revolt against an action plan proposed by Whitehall.

Chester-le-Street District Council's housing staff are opposing a proposed strategy which has been put in place to try and bring the department up to standard, claiming it cannot work.

The Government is still considering the unprecedented step of taking over Chester-le-Street's housing department after it was deemed as providing a poor "no-star" service for two years.

But the measures being introduced to overcome its failings are being rejected by senior managers at the council, who say the proposals to introduce continuous assessment of the service they provide will draw money away from housing services.

A memo leaked to The Northern Echo says that senior managers within the council intend to challenge the proposal.

The Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) plan will go before councillors today for their approval, but managers want chief officers to revise the report first.

The memo, sent jointly from a number of senior managers, read: "We do not wish to sit quietly and watch resources being drawn away from the "front of house" whilst those at the "pointed end" continue to get the battering from disenchanted people.

"Investing in the improvement of monitoring and performance management systems could prove to be a retrograde step if, in so doing, our performance worsens because resources are wrongly diverted away from service delivery."

But a spokesman for the council said the proposals were not yet confirmed.

He said: "The Government's new arrangements for Comprehensive Performance Assessment raise a variety of financial and human resource issues that are currently being given consideration by the council's chief officers. The memo raises internal matters, which are hardly unique to our council."

The spokesman said an amended report on the CPA would be considered today.