East Dunbartonshire Council services perform well according to new Accounts Commission report

East Dunbartonshire Council services perform well, with high levels of customer satisfaction according to a new report published today by the Accounts Commission.

Over the past four years, East Dunbartonshire Council has continued to improve many of its services and is focused on improving the quality of life for local people.

The report recognises that the council is well led and understands the actions needed to improve still further. Local people are, overall, satisfied with their local services. Its education services are performing well, even in the most deprived areas.

Whilst the council has low levels of poverty compared to other Scottish councils, eight areas are impacted by relative deprivation. Improving its housing services, which are performing poorly compared to the national average, will help tackle these inequalities and support the most vulnerable citizens. Alongside this, whilst the council does much to engage its local communities, more could be done to involve those who rely the most on essential council services.

The council responded effectively to the multiple impacts of Covid-19, quickly delivering services differently, whilst targeting support to those most in need. The council should use additional Covid-19 funding, which it received late, to best support those in need.

Tim McKay, deputy interim chair of the Accounts Commission, said: “Council services in East Dunbartonshire are good and councillors are focused on improving the quality of life for local people. Whilst the council has a clear determination on how it can improve services still further, there should remain a focus on its most vulnerable citizens.

“East Dunbartonshire, like many other councils in Scotland, faces the pressures of an increasingly ageing population. Whilst some of its health and social care services are performing well, services need to be delivered differently in future, ensuring they are financially sustainable as the area looks to recover from the impacts of Covid-19. Housing services must also be improved, not least because housing is so fundamental to mitigating the multiple impacts of poverty and inequality.”

Joint council leader Vaughan Moody said: “The council welcomes this Best Value report and is pleased that it reflects positively on the pace at which progress has been made here in East Dunbartonshire since the last such report back in 2017. 

“We are particularly pleased to see that the report references our leadership, performance management, partnership working and high levels of customer satisfaction as areas of strength for the council. There is also reference to our Education service and its great performance including in areas of highest deprivation. This is recognition for the great work of our council teams - both on the frontline and the back office - do to deliver services in this area.”

Set within the context of COVID-19, the Best Value Report highlights that the council reacted well to the immediate and ongoing challenges of the pandemic - with governance, staffing and digital arrangements being adapted quickly to support the local and national response being recognised. 

Joint council leader Andrew Polson said: “Despite the COVID-19 challenges of the past 18 months, which continue to impact service delivery, we are delighted that this Best Value Report recognises that areas such as workforce planning and financial management are effective and very much focused on our council priorities. This provides us with a strong base to steer the council through COVID-19 recovery and review our priorities for the months and years ahead.”

In addition to recognising areas of achievement, the Commission confirmed their agreement with the council’s identified areas for improvement, including inequality, housing, community planning, and health and care services. 

Councillor Polson added: “This Best Value report acknowledges that we have made good progress and also that we know where we need to improve further.  We are aware of the issues we face, not least from our aging population. Our ongoing challenge is in balancing our aspirations to deliver further service improvements with emerging new priorities all within the finite resources available to us.”

Following publication of this Best Value Report, it will be presented to council at its November 4 meeting, with an action plan which is currently being prepared, to enable councillors to consider and approve the report.

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