William Eichler 21 March 2019

Watchdog calls for ‘fundamental change’ in Scottish councils

Scottish councils need to change in order to address the growing gap between demand and resources, a local authority watchdog has warned.

The Local Government Overview 2019 report by the Accounts Commission found that Scotland’s councils are managing to improve and maintain ‘most services’.

However, it warned that funding to councils from Holyrood is likely to reduce in future and demand on services will increase.

Nearly 70% of councils’ spending is currently on social care and education, and more money is being committed to Scottish government priorities, the report notes.

This leaves councils less flexibility in where to spend and where to save.

All councils will see a continued rise in the number of people aged 65 and over, and 10 councils will experience an increase in the number of children under 15.

‘It’s important to recognise that councils are working hard to maintain and, in some cases, improve services,’ said Graham Sharp, chair of the Accounts Commission.

‘Now fundamental change is needed to ensure services meet the shifting demands of local communities, with councils working and collaborating with communities to deliver the change needed.

‘Councils must now focus on changing how front-line services are designed and delivered.’

Photo: © kim traynor

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