The Accounts Commission believe that good performance information is the cornerstone of councils working well with their communities. Comparative performance information can help the public to better understand the performance of their council over time and how this compares to other councils in Scotland.
Our recently published Strategy 2021-26 recognises that the next five years will, amongst other priorities, see Scotland build on its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and work towards addressing the climate emergency. We want our work to amplify these important areas as we continue in our role of reporting on the performance of local government and supporting it to improve.
So today, following a consultation process with councils and our partners, we set out how councils should report on their performance to their citizens and their communities in our Statutory Performance Information Direction 2021.
In preparing this 2021 Direction, we reviewed how councils responded to our previous 2018 Direction. As the response was generally good, the 2021 Direction has a similar overall shape, but emphasises the importance of:
Alongside this, we always encourage councils to publish benchmarking information, in particular encouraging the use of the Local Government Benchmarking Framework. This is run by the local government community through SOLACE and the Improvement Service.
We hope that our new approach will be welcomed and responded to positively by councils and their partners.
Tim McKay, Interim Deputy Chair of the Accounts Commission for Scotland