Watchdog praises significant progress and strong leadership at West Dunbartonshire Council
A representative from Audit Scotland spoke at a council meeting last week where the results of the Accounts Commission’s Best Value audit of the local authority were presented to councillors.
Audit Scotland conducted the review on behalf of the watchdog and its audit director Fiona Mitchell-Knight echoed the comments made in the report which found that effective and improved leadership from councillors and officers had been critical to the progress made in West Dunbartonshire.
Ms Mitchell-Knight also highlighted the clear and steady improvement in service performance – particularly in the council’s priority areas of housing and advancing educational attainment.
The key strengths identified in the report included:
Council leader, Councillor Jonathan McColl, said: “This is an excellent report for West Dunbartonshire and evidences the significant efforts to transform this council over the past decade. It is an endorsement of the commitment of all of our staff from our chief executive to frontline workers. We are not complacent and there are areas where we can continue to develop. There is now a strong platform in place on which we can build, we are clear on our vision for the future and both elected members and officers will do everything they can to ensure we deliver for every resident in West Dunbartonshire.”
Councillor Martin Rooney, leader of the opposition, added: “This report confirms the significant improvements made by the council since 2007. All councillors are committed to ensuring progress continues over the coming years and services for residents are maintained and enhanced.”
The Commission published its findings in June following a significant review of the council conducted over several months in 2017/18. The latest Best Value publication marks a significant turnaround for West Dunbartonshire since audit reports in the mid-2000s.
Work is already underway on the areas identified by the Accounts Commission for continued improvements:
Audit Scotland undertook the review on behalf of the Accounts Commission.