Stirling Council’s services largely perform well, and the council manages its resources effectively. It now needs to get better at identifying where and how it needs to change to meet future challenges.
Most services at Stirling Council perform above the national average and are improving. However, a report by the Accounts Commission says that as council budgets tighten across Scotland, the council must have better processes for evaluating and reporting its performance so it can identify how to improve. The Commission says there is a lack of progress in these areas since it last reported on Stirling in 2011.
The council manages its finances and its workforce well and has made savings over a long period of time. However, it faces a projected funding gap of £32 million over the next five years and should look at changing how it delivers services to meet this gap. It is important that this is aligned with the council’s five-year financial plan.
The report highlights significant social and economic inequalities. While the council area as a whole is relatively prosperous, some parts are among the most socially and economically deprived in Scotland. The council and its partners have been slow to produce ‘locality plans’ to help improve outcomes for its most disadvantaged areas, with only one of four published so far. The three outstanding plans need to be approved and published without delay.
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."