Local Government in Scotland - Performance and Challenges 2018
5th April 2018
Finding savings is now "increasingly critical" for councils dealing with ongoing reductions in funding, says the Accounts Commission.
Councils are balancing a real terms funding cut of 9.6 per cent over the last eight years with increasing demand, particularly from a growing older population.
And the local authority watchdog says that councils need to clearly set out the impact budget reductions are having so they can plan for the future.
The annual report looking at the challenges facing councils and how they are performing found that:
Some councils have maintained or improved their performance in a number of areas despite budget reductions. For example, councils are spending less on secondary schools but pupils from all backgrounds are performing better;
Other evidence suggests that budget cuts are having a negative impact, with public satisfaction falling in areas such as refuse collection, street cleaning and libraries;
Adult social care services are not keeping up with demand, with older people facing long waits for an assessment of their needs and a further wait to receive their care package;
Some services have borne the brunt of funding reductions. For example, planning department staff numbers have been cut by over 20 per cent in the last decade, and environmental staff by eight per cent between 2016 and 2017.
Under the current funding formula, some councils face receiving less cash from government as their total population falls but the number of old people - and associated demand for services - increases.
Without service redesign or policy changes councils could be spending nearly 80 per cent of their budgets on education and social work alone by 2025/26.
Graham Sharp, chair of the Accounts Commission, said:"Councils are facing the major challenge of reducing costs, maintaining services for an ageing population and putting significant policy and legislative change into practice - all at a time of increasing uncertainty.
"They have done a lot to manage the impact of budget reductions, but with forecast funding gaps higher than current levels of reserves for some councils the delivery of savings is now increasingly critical.
"Decisive leadership, innovative thinking around service delivery, and robust planning based on community engagement is now more important than ever to ensure council services stay sustainable."
Read the full report at
The Highland Council and partners are advising motorists of temporary road closures and speed restrictions which will be in place from 28th - 30th April 2018 during the Etape Loch Ness cycling event. The restrictions and prohibitions which are being put in place are for participants' safety and to allow the Etape to take place on public roads.
Chomharraich sgoilearan, pàrantan agus luchd-obrach toiseach teirm an t-samhraidh an-diugh (Diluain 16 Giblean 2018) aig Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh a chaidh fhosgladh às ùr. Bha an cùmhnant togail mar phàirt de phrògram tasgadh calpa iomlan ann an co-bhann ri Riaghaltas na h-Alba, a' gabhail a-steach rathad inntrigidh ùr chun na sgoile, agus ath-leasachadh air seann togalach Ostail Eilginn gus àite-còmhnaidh ùr a chruthachadh do sgoilearan Àrd-Sgoil Phort Rìgh.
Highland Council's Trading Standards team is reporting poor findings from the cigarette test purchase programme it recently carried out in the Inverness area. During the recent exercise, while a total of 10 retailers correctly refused to sell cigarettes to a young test purchase volunteer who is under the minimum age of 18, three businesses sold cigarettes to the volunteer.
The North Coast 500, Scotland's iconic touring route along Scotland’s northern coastline is now part of a national campaign to clean up the country’s roads. This initiative, led by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful and supported by North Coast 500 Ltd, the company behind the NC500, urges road users to ‘give your litter a lift, take it home’.
The by-election for a councillor to represent the Caol and Mallaig Ward on The Highland Council has been won by Denis Rixson - Scottish Liberal Democrats - who was one of six candidates who contested the vacancy. He joins Councillors Allan Henderson (Independent) and Ben Thompson (Independent) in representing Ward 11 on The Highland Council.
Motorists are being advised by The Highland Council that there will be part-day road closures of the B851 on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th April from 9am to 3pm at Farr Primary School (south of Inverness). The two rescheduled part-day road closures (which were previously postponed due to bad weather) are required at Farr Primary School to carry out essential carriageway surfacing works.
The annual inspection of the The annual inspection of the rock face adjacent to the Stromeferry Bypass which is part of the A890 route along the south shore of Loch Carron, will begin on Monday 16 April. Geotechnical Engineers from AECOM will undertake the inspection with the assistance of rope access contractor Geo-Rope Ltd.
Highland Council Local Scrutiny Plan - April 2018 to March 2019 Introduction 1. This local scrutiny plan sets out any scrutiny risks identified by the local area network (LAN), proposed scrutiny responses and expected scrutiny activity for Highland Council during the financial year 2018/19.
Highland Council has reviewed prices for letting school facilities and has introduced some changes from 1 April 2018. These changes reflect increasing costs and harmonising prices with High Life Highland in line with Council policy.
The Highland Licensing Committee has considered a report in relation to street traders licence condition 8 and agreed to remove this condition from its standard licence conditions. The continued use of the condition was reviewed following a recent court decision which made clear that licensing conditions must serve a licensing purpose namely preserving public order or public safety.
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