Stirling Council’s clear vision for the area, strong political leadership, effective cross-party working, governance and scrutiny, and strong management leadership of improvement and change are all highlighted in Audit Scotland’s latest Best Value Audit report dated October 2011.
The Council’s overall performance as is rated as good - the second-highest category possible. Prospects for future improvements are also assessed as good.
Good progress is shown to have been made on the improvement actions from the last Best Value Audit in 2005. These include:
· scrutiny arrangements
· performance management and public reporting
· taking a longer-term approach to and involving councillors more in budget planning
· resource management in areas including asset management and procurement.
Service improvements highlighted include:
· schools and education facilities
· Park and Ride facilities
· regeneration in Raploch
· community safety initiatives
· leisure facilities.
The report draws attention to good progress being made in reshaping services for older people, with more emphasis on care at home. On child protection the Council is found to be taking effective action against all the agreed areas for improvement; roads maintenance has improved although the overall condition of roads remains poor; and the housing management service is assessed as fair. A housing service action plan is already in place.
The promotion of partnership working across the Forth Valley in areas such as child protection, asset management and shared services is welcomed. Stirling Council’s change programme is found to have helped make efficiencies, and the report welcomes the major shared services agreement with Clackmannanshire Council to jointly manage Education and Social Work. The way the Council works is effective, with the Chief Executive, Assistant Chief Executives and Heads of Service all working together to deliver council-wide efficiencies and improvements.
Areas for action include community planning arrangements within Stirling itself, further development of performance management, and workforce planning across the organisation.
The full report is available at www.audit-scotland.gov.uk