South Ayrshire Council's services perform well, but improvement is not fast enough

27 October 2021
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Public services at South Ayrshire Council perform well and residents are satisfied with the services they receive. However, the council must move faster in changing services for the future.

A report published today by the Accounts Commission says many council services are performing well, including those aimed at improving the local economy. Citizens also benefit from the good relationships between local communities and partner organisations and between councillors and council officers. Together they responded effectively to tackle the impact of Covid-19.

The report says, however, that the council has been slow and inconsistent in making necessary changes to how it delivers services. The Commission is also concerned about the council’s lack of a medium-term financial plan. This must be closely linked and integrated with other critical strategies, including a robust workforce plan, service transformation plans, and plans to improve local people’s lives.

It is crucial these plans reflect future financial, service and demand pressures facing the council. Councillors, together with senior officers, need to demonstrate greater leadership and commitment to transforming how the council and its services are run and provided as it recovers from the pandemic.

Tim McKay, Interim Deputy Chair of the Accounts Commission, said:

Overall, services in South Ayrshire Council are currently performing well. But it is frustrating that the momentum on change and transformation that we saw in 2016 has not been maintained.

Without robust longer term financial planning, linked to a strategic approach to managing both its workforce and changing the way services are delivered, the council will not be able to manage budget reductions alongside increased service demand. A much greater pace of change, drive and momentum is needed to deliver on this.