The Council was assessed on its provision of Best Value by Audit Scotland in October and November 2018, and the Accounts Commission has praised the local authority for performing above the national average and showing improvement across the majority of services.
In its findings, published in full online today (Thursday, 25 April), the Accounts Commission also commended Stirling Council’s good performance and effective resource and financial management.
Recommendations have also been made, set against a backdrop of a projected funding gap of £32million for the next five years, encouraging the Council to examine different ways to deliver services and to establish better processes for evaluating and reporting its performance.
Work is underway by the local authority to fast-track the outstanding ‘locality plans’ to help improve outcomes for its most disadvantaged areas, an issue that had been highlighted by the Commission.
Services are performing above the national average and improving
In the wake of today’s report, Council Chief Executive Carol Beattie welcomed its positive findings and confirmed that steps are already being taken to ensure the Council meets the recommendations set out in the Accounts Commission’s report.
She said: “The Accounts Commission report findings were largely positive and we are happy that the work carried out since our last BVA visit in 2011 has had a positive effect.
“It’s important to emphasise that, while recommendations have been made, the report also highlights that most of Stirling Council’s services are performing above the national average and improving, and that’s something to really celebrate.
“Like all public bodies, the Council is always keen to learn from audit processes such as this as we continually improve the public services we provide to our residents.
“Steps have already been taken to address the recommendations made by the Accounts Commission, as they are areas the Council had already recognised could be developed further.
“These include greater engagement with communities on the Council’s performance, additional reporting of the outcomes and wider inclusion of residents as part of the conversation for service improvement ideas, to provide the services they value most."
Ronnie Hinds, deputy chair of the Accounts Commission, said: “We’re pleased to see the majority of services at Stirling Council perform well. However, it needs to improve how it manages and reports on its performance and ensure this is much more clearly aligned to the council’s strategic plans and priorities.
“Like all councils in Scotland, Stirling's budget is tightening. The funding gap faced by the council will be a challenge and members and officers must ensure that the council works effectively with its partners and its communities to address this.”
The Controller of Audit has prepared this report for the Accounts Commission. It is the fourteenth of the new-style Best Value Assurance Reports (BVAR), which aim to offer a rounded and comprehensive analysis of a Council's performance. The new reports cover how effectively councils are managing changes in services; involving the public in decisions; ensuring enough skills and time to deliver clear priorities; and providing clear information so the public can gauge improvement.
Audit Scotland has prepared this report for the Accounts Commission for Scotland. All Audit Scotland reports published since 2000 are available at www.audit-scotland.gov.uk.
Photo credit: Stirling Council Best Value Assurance Report, 25 April 2019, licensed under the Open Government Licence