Oxford has been revealed as one of the poorest value-for-money district councils in the country.

A league table of civic spending has shown the Town Hall to be among the highest in areas like recreation, environmental health and benefit administration.

And even the man in charge of the city's purse strings said the council is "high-cost, low performance".

Councillors this week analysed a report written by outgoing chief executive Caroline Bull and finance director Mark Luntley, entitled Achieving Value for Money, which showed how the authority fared against similar-sized organisations.

It showed Oxford to have one of the highest council tax elements - £233.52 this year for an average Band D property - of the 238 district councils in the country.

The figures also showed the council to be high-spending in: * Recreation and sport (£36.65 per head) - 2nd highest * Environmental and public health (£21.70 per head) - 3rd highest * Homelessness (£13.54 per head) - 3rd highest * Housing benefit administration (£16.90 per head) - 3rd highest * General fund housing services (£16.40 per head) - 3rd highest * Council housing repairs and maintenance (£1,024 per dwelling) - 2nd highest * Overall spend per head - 21st highest out of 238 district councils * The council also levies the 10th highest council tax of district authorities City councillor Stephen Tall, executive member for better finances, said: "It's generally acknowledged the city council is overall a high-cost, low performance council. Parts of the council work very efficiently but there is a long way to go before the whole council does.

"The Liberal Democrats have made achieving better value-for-money a top priority in our first six months, targeting a number of key service areas for review, including street cleaning, leisure centres and housing repairs - areas that matter to the public.

"We have also made clear our intention to hold down council tax increases, in recognition that Oxford has one of the highest council taxes in the country."

Oxford earns one of the highest amounts from car park charges, but is one of the highest spending on car park administration.

And while it spends vast sums on leisure services, it receives one of the lowest incomes from football pitch and sports hall hire.

The authority maintains progress has been made - two years ago it was ninth in the national list of overall spending - and said high costs were not necessarily an indication of inefficiency.

For example, the city council deliberately spends vast sums on its free bus travel scheme for pensioners - a service viewed as one of the most important offered.

The report concluded: "We will never be able to explain precisely why one service costs more than another down the road."