‘There are some things they do well’

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so the city council is not quite the “best in the UK” after being pipped to the prestigious title at the local government “Oscars”.

The fact that they came so close was a surprise given that the biggest catastrophe facing any local authority in the UK is right here on our doorstep.

We all know to our cost that the council has been an abject failure when it comes to managing the trams project.

But that should not stop us recognising that there are some things which they do very well.

That is what the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE) has recognised in its own bizarre way.

The fact is that no-one is ever going to love their local authority, just like we’ll never love the tax man.

We moan when we have to hand over so much of our hard-earned cash to them. And it is extremely difficult to work out quite where it all goes.

But time and again residents’ surveys in the Capital appear to show one thing. When it comes down to specific services, we are generally pretty satisfied with the job that the council does.

The APSE judges perhaps took that into consideration when they compared the city’s performance against more than 300 other local authorities, shortlisting Edinburgh for three titles, including the main “best council” one, and picking it as winner of the parks and horticulture category.

Schools and other services may be more efficiently run than in most parts of the UK. Our parks and gardens may be among the best kept in Britain.

And crucially bin collections have continued relatively unscathed throughout a painfully drawn out industrial dispute in which the council is striving to modernise services.

But there is one hard fact that no amount of awards – not even a clutch of Nobel Prizes – is going to change for the local authority.

For one reason, and one only, they are seen as failures by the vast majority of the people they exist to serve.

And that will be true until the whole sorry mess of the trams project is sorted out.