William Eichler 28 October 2021

South Ayrshire Council’s slow transformation ‘frustrating’, auditors say

South Ayrshire Council’s slow transformation ‘frustrating’, auditors say image

South Ayrshire Council’s services perform well but the council has been slow at making necessary changes to the way it delivers these services, auditors say.

A report by Audit Scotland has praised the local authority for responding effectively to COVID-19. It concluded that the council had worked well with partners to provide support to vulnerable individuals and communities while continuing to deliver other vital services.

Audit Scotland also found that many of the local authority’s services were performing well. According to the auditor’s report, South Ayrshire residents benefit in particular from the good relationships between local communities and partner organisations and between councillors and council officers.

Despite performing well in some areas, the report also found that the council has been ‘slow and inconsistent’ in making necessary changes to how it delivers services.

Audit Scotland acknowledged that South Ayrshire Council has effective financial management arrangements in place and effective short-term financial planning. The auditors also noted the council has a history of delivering services within budget.

However, the local authority currently faces an estimated budget gap of between £56m and £69m between 2022/23 and 2029/30, and no medium-term financial plan.

They warned that the council needed a medium-term financial plan that was closely linked and integrated with other critical strategies, including a robust workforce plan, service transformation plans, and plans to improve local people’s lives.

‘Overall, services in South Ayrshire Council are currently performing well. But it is frustrating that the momentum on change and transformation that we saw in 2016 has not been maintained,’ said Tim McKay, interim deputy chair of the Accounts Commission.

‘Without robust longer term financial planning, linked to a strategic approach to managing both its workforce and changing the way services are delivered, the council will not be able to manage budget reductions alongside increased service demand. A much greater pace of change, drive and momentum is needed to deliver on this.’

Responding to the report, a South Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: ‘The report recognises that we responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing to deliver vital services. The report also highlights that we have a clear vision, which reflects the needs of our communities.

‘While the Controller of Audit notes some of the high quality services that we deliver, there are also recommendations for improvement and plans are in place to address these.’

Photo: Mary and Angus Hogg / Geograph

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Independent non-executive members of proposed NHS Integrated Care Boards

NHS
Competitive
Do you have the vision to shape the future of health and care for people in your area? Nationwide
Recuriter: NHS

Lead Community Protection Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£37722 - £40869 per annum + value award of £2,472 per annum
2 x Lead Community Protection OfficersCommunity Protection Team(PO3 plus an incremental value award of £2,472 per annum) Permanent Our Community Prote England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

School Organisation Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£41,952- £48,663
We’re giving a platform to people inside and outside our community. Because, we’re not just home to the UK’s fast-growing economy. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Service Manager (Referral and Assessment)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£60,426 to £74,202 per annum
Can you inspire, encourage, and develop excellent social work practice to make a real difference in the lives of children and young people? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Asset Management Team Administrator

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum
The role is what you make it, and the more you put in, the bigger the difference you can make to... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue