Encouraging signs of progress at North Ayrshire Council but further improvement needed

Since the first best value report in 2005, North Ayrshire Council has shown an increased commitment to providing Best Value, according to the Accounts Commission. The Commission finds that the council’s overall performance is satisfactory and it has fair prospects for future improvement.

The council is performing well in some important service areas such as education, housing, social work, planning and libraries and is making progress in helping improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in the area. However, for some of the activities which the council has put in place to ensure improvements, it is too early to judge how effective they will be.

Chair of the Accounts Commission, John Baillie said:

“North Ayrshire Council’s increased commitment to Best Value has been clear since mid-2009. It is encouraging to see the council working hard to improve how it manages its resources and keeps track of service performance. Councillors are now doing more to support improvement and we urge them to continue to develop their role.

“We remain keen to see key processes put in place that will enable the council to keep up the quality of those services that are performing well, extend that level of performance to other service areas and demonstrate value for money.”

The Commission also says that while it is good to see that the council has moved forward, particularly over the past year and a half, looking back to 2005 when the first Best Value report on the council was published, the progress made since then is disappointing overall.

The Commission wants to see the council establish arrangements to help councillors scrutinise performance so that they have better information available when making decisions. The council also needs to develop its financial strategy and get better at showing that it is using its resources efficiently. To do this it will need to improve how it manages assets and procurement of goods and services.