Financial pressures resulting from the recession mean that improving sharing of services between local authorities should be high priority, according to a report by the Accounts Commission for Scotland published on 26 February. In a generally critical report, the Commission has registered its disappointment at the slow progress being made by local authorities towards shared service initiatives and related efficiencies.

Another key area for improvement, says the report, is in relation to effective partnering with other organisations, particularly to implement Single Outcome Agreements entered into with the Scottish Government in June last year. Each of the 32 local authorities has signed up to a Single Outcome Agreement, which sets out how they will work to improve national outcomes for the people in there and in a way that reflects local circumstances and priorities.

Other key areas highlighted for improvement include:

  • Performance management and monitoring;
  • Their culture of continuous improvement;
  • Service competitiveness and value for money; and
  • Continuous development of elected members (e.g. through personal development plans and training).

The full report can be found on the Audit Scotland website at http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk