Inverclyde Council finances ‘on track’ but has to maintain progress, says Accounts Commission

Inverclyde CouncilInverclyde Council has made “significant improvements and needs to continue to build on those strengths for the future”, according to the latest appraisal of its finances by the Accounts Commission.

A report published yesterday, the first of a new type of audit, charts progress since 2005 when the watchdog found serious failings by the council in meeting its legal duty to demonstrate Best Value and continuous improvement.

The Commission says the local authority has now changed significantly, developing a positive culture of improvement which has resulted in better service performance. Key elements to its success include a clear vision and, effective collaborative leadership.

The report highlights a range of improvement activity and good joint working with partners. However, more clarity is needed on how this makes a difference to outcomes.

Financial management is effective. Like other councils it faces a significant savings gap in the medium term. Various proposals have already been worked up for councillors to yield savings of around £20 million. Newly-elected councillors will need to make decisions on these to ensure financial stability.

Inverclyde has been innovative in finding different ways of delivering services and involving local communities in reaching decisions.

In its findings, the Commission said it was pleased for the residents and communities of Inverclyde with the pace, depth and continuity of improvement.

Inverclyde still faces substantial challenges. The council and its partners need to focus on improving outcomes and to set clear milestones for achieving them.

Ronnie Hinds, acting chair of the Accounts Commission, said: “Inverclyde has made real improvements and is doing well in many areas. However, the council still faces big challenges and needs to maintain this positive momentum.

“These new reports will give local people a detailed and rounded insight into how their council is performing. We hope this provides each council with an important foundation to help shape and improve services for the future.”

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