Council takes action to address findings of Best Value report
Midlothian Council has welcomed the findings of a Best Value Assurance report produced by the Accounts Commission, the public spending watchdog for local government.
The report highlights a number of ambitious projects delivered by the council since the last Best Value report was published in 2012. These include new schools, community facilities, housing and transport. Although performance across services is mixed, the report points to evidence of improvement in some of the council’s priority areas, including improved outcomes for children and young people.
Fastest growing population in Scotland
However, it is recognised that the council still needs to focus on some of the key requirements needed to demonstrate Best Value, including financial sustainability, financial management and service transformation.
“The report rightly points out that, with the fastest growing population in Scotland, Midlothian Council faces an increasing funding gap and significant financial challenges,” said Council Leader, Councillor Derek Milligan.
“In recently agreeing a new medium term financial strategy, the council has already taken steps to address a number of these key issues and is putting robust plans in place to bring about the transformation in services that is now needed, said Councillor Milligan.
Closer working and involving communities
“We have not drawn on our reserves to balance our budget over the last two years as is suggested here, and indeed this year we have come in under budget. When it comes to showing better leadership, the Best Value report is actually highlighting the need for closer working between the three political groups – something that we have already addressed in developing our new financial strategy.”
The report also says that partnership working remains strong in Midlothian and there is solid evidence of the council involving communities in the redesign and delivery of local services.
“The council is aware of where it needs to improve and we are focused on working with our communities to meet our key priorities,” added Councillor Milligan. “The chief executive, corporate management team and councillors from across parties will be working together to make these changes and to take action to address the key recommendations set out in the Best Value report.”