East Renfrewshire Council ‘performing well’

Written by Kate Shannon on 7 November 2017 in News

The Accounts Commission praised the local authority but said councillors need to play a more prominent role in managing change

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East Renfrewshire remains a high-performing council but its councillors need to be more prominent in dealing with tough challenges ahead, according to Scotland’s local authority spending watchdog.

A new report published today by the Accounts Commission charts the council's progress since a previous audit in 2005.

Ronnie Hinds, acting chair of the Accounts Commission said: "East Renfrewshire has made progress since 2005.

"However, like all councils, it faces the challenge of serving a changing population with a reducing budget and few easy ways to save money.

"It is consulting local residents on savings options, and a priority now is for councillors to be more actively involved in taking hard decisions."

Today's report states that the council's clear vision and priorities are well supported by its councillors and officers, and also by the partner organisations it works with to provide public services.

The commission said it was “encouraged” by progress since 2005 but added that councillors need to play a more prominent and transparent role in managing change and scrutinising performance.

The report says school education has been a particular strength and the past six years have seen significant improvements in the percentage of pupils gaining five or more awards at Level 6, including those from more deprived backgrounds.

Performance in other service areas is more varied, for example in meeting the costly backlog of road repairs and promoting economic development.

Currently, the commission found that East Renfrewshire is in a strong financial position, with high reserves and low borrowing, however, it consistently underspends its budget for services.

Better planning of its budget is needed as it faces a period of accelerated change, seeking to make savings of £26m by 2020/21 while providing services to an increasing population, including many with greater needs.

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