Urgent remedial action needed at Inverclyde Council

02 June 2006 Share this LinkedIn

A report published by the Accounts Commission today (Thursday 2nd June 2005), says that Inverclyde Council must take urgent, remedial action to address weaknesses in leadership and direction.

Today’s Best Value audit report is part of a rolling programme affecting all local authorities in Scotland and provides information to local people for the first time about how well the council is organised to deliver improving services.

The Deputy Chair of the Accounts Commission, Isabelle Low, said:

“This is the most critical Best Value audit report the Commission has considered to date and describes a council which is not in a position to deliver best value for local people. There are instances of good performance and we also recognise the council’s commitment to the Inverclyde area and the efforts of frontline staff. However, extensive and fundamental weaknesses in leadership and direction by elected members and senior management are preventing Inverclyde Council from improving. The council should secure appropriate external assistance to support the recovery exercise to address core problems in the organisation.”

The Commission identified a number of key requirements which they say will have to be met if the council is to move to a position where it can provide Best Value. These include:

  • better leadership from senior managers and councillors
  • more consistent decision-making by councillors based on information which clearly demonstrates how services are performing
  • more strategic management by the Chief Executive and the Corporate Management Team
  • the development of a culture, across the whole organisation, aimed at improving services for local people
  • the development of a clear approach to demonstrating value for money and competitiveness in services
  • learning from the good practice that exists, both inside and outside the organisation

The Commission recommends that Inverclyde Council should immediately carry out a recovery exercise aimed at addressing the core problems of the organisation, which would involve the following:

  • action by members and senior managers to develop an effective working relationship that will support the needs of the organisation and the delivery of Best Value services to the people of Inverclyde.
  • review management capacity, in terms of the skills, knowledge and experience required to address the challenges facing Inverclyde.
  • carry out a performance review of all services. This should identify the needs of local people, and set targets against which performance improvement can be measured.
  • review the council’s organisational structure to ensure there is a focus on customer needs and efficiency.
  • secure appropriate external assistance, on a consultancy basis and from elected member and chief executive peers, during the recovery exercise.
  • Isabelle Low continued: “The Council’s progress will be monitored closely and we require a further report from the Controller of Audit on immediate steps taken by the Council as at 31st October 2005. We will give consideration at that point to any further measures which need to be taken.”