Renfrewshire Council continues to improve and is making encouraging progress in the performance of its services, says the Accounts Commission.
A report published today, the second of a new type of audit, charts progress since 2006 when the Commission found the council had strong and effective leadership but needed to improve service performance. Improvements have been made since then in the way Renfrewshire plans, manages and carries out its business.
The council works well with its partners and has successfully brought in innovative ways of providing services at a local level. Continuing to build on engagement with local communities will be an essential part of progress in this area.
The report highlights stark inequalities within Renfrewshire - life expectancy for men in Ferguslie is 14 years behind those in Bishopton and there are similar disparities in child welfare and educational achievement. However, the council has a clear and ambitious vision to revitalise the area's economy and address poverty and inequality.
The report notes that changes have recently been made to strengthen previously weak scrutiny arrangements. The Commission urges councillors to make these arrangements work, ensure more constructive political arrangements and make better use of training and development opportunities.
In its findings, the Commission said effective financial management and planning gave Renfrewshire the capacity to deal with funding challenges. This needs to be supported by a workforce strategy. It also urges the council to look at ways of ensuring more transparency and clarity of responsibilities in its relationship with Renfrewshire Leisure which provides a range of services previously run directly by the council.
Christine May, acting deputy chair of the Accounts Commission said:
"Renfrewshire has a sound foundation on which to build.
"Like other councils in Scotland, it has a new minority administration. The challenge for all councillors is to find ways they can work well together and improve the lives of the people of Renfrewshire."