In its report on Best Value at Argyll & Bute Council published today (Tuesday 14 February), the Accounts Commission says that the council needs to do more to ensure that services for local people improve.
The report says that Argyll & Bute Council faces particular challenges because of its geographical make-up and the fact that its population is spread over a wide area. However, even taking this into account, the council needs to do far more to ensure services for local people improve.
Alastair MacNish, Chair of the Accounts Commission says: “Some of the council’s services perform well and traditional aspects of management are sound, but overall Argyll & Bute has made limited progress in modernising or in establishing Best Value and a culture of continuous improvement. It needs to become more outward looking and responsive to the people using its services.
“To achieve this, the council needs clearer leadership. Its management needs to focus on what it is trying to achieve overall, set clear strategies and targets and ensure that these are met. Service reviews need to become more challenging and particular attention should be given to the strategic management of the council’s resources, so that financial planning fits in with overall aims and resources are matched to agreed priorities.“
The Commission identified a number of areas that need particular attention. These include:
- Developing the management team’s ability to play a more effective role in promoting continuous improvement across the council.
- Developing effective service planning and performance management systems.
- Developing and using a clear and sustainable financial strategy, which links financial planning to corporate objectives and shifts resources to agreed priorities.
- Learning to recognise and spread good practice within individual services across the council as a whole.
- Gaining a better understanding of how other organisations, including other councils, are improving and modernising services.
The Accounts Commission requires Argyll & Bute Council to produce an Improvement Plan that addresses the report and the Commission’s findings. The Commission will continue to monitor the council’s progress through the normalaudit process.