Councils in Scotland are having to provide financial support to Integration Joint Boards (IJBs), the spending watchdog has warned.
In its annual report into local government finances, the Accounts Commission has repeated its concerns over the financial stability and leadership of IJBs, the bodies set-up to manage local health and social care services.
Most IJBs couldn’t deliver services within their budgets and needed extra money from health boards and councils, it found.
The report also found that while councils received £500m more from the Scottish Government in 2019/20, around 40% of this was ring-fenced for expanding early learning and childcare.
However, the report did show many councils were able to increase their financial reserves.
Elma Murray, interim chair of the Accounts Commission, said: 'COVID-19 has fundamentally affected local government services, increasing their reliance on working with their partners and communities. The financial impact of the pandemic on our public services is extreme and creates increased uncertainty of how those services will be provided in the future.
'Good governance, strong financial management and transparency of decision making will be critical as councils and IJBs deal with the impact and consequences of the pandemic.'