Service improvement ‘not fast enough’ at South Ayrshire Council

Public services at South Ayrshire Council perform well and residents are satisfied with the services they receive but the pace of change must improve in the future, a report published today by the Accounts Commission has concluded.

Service improvement 'not fast enough' at South Ayrshire Council

According to the Best Value Assurance Report, many council services are performing well, including those aimed at improving the local economy. Citizens also benefit from the good relationships between local communities and partner organisations and between councillors and council officers. Together they responded effectively to tackle the impact of Covid-19.

The report added, however, that the council has been slow and inconsistent in making necessary changes to how it delivers services. The Commission is also concerned about the council’s lack of a medium-term financial plan. This must be closely linked and integrated with other critical strategies, including a robust workforce plan, service transformation plans, and plans to improve local people’s lives.

It is crucial these plans reflect future financial, service and demand pressures facing the council, the watchdog said. Councillors, together with senior officers, need to demonstrate greater leadership and commitment to transforming how the council and its services are run and provided as it recovers from the pandemic.

Tim McKay, interim deputy chair of the Accounts Commission, said: “Overall, services in South Ayrshire Council are currently performing well. But it is frustrating that the momentum on change and transformation that we saw in 2016 has not been maintained.

“Without robust longer term financial planning, linked to a strategic approach to managing both its workforce and changing the way services are delivered, the council will not be able to manage budget reductions alongside increased service demand. A much greater pace of change, drive and momentum is needed to deliver on this.”

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