Angus Council’s strategic leadership and ambitious change programme are recognised in the latest Best Value Audit Report from Audit Scotland.
The report also encourages an increase the pace of change, to ensure the council can address the significant financial challenges of the coming years.
This is the third Best Value Audit of Angus Council, with previous audits reported in 2004 and 2010.
The 2016 report highlights that since the last audit, important improvements have been made in the strategic leadership provided by senior managers and elected members. In particular, the auditors highlight that:
the council knows where it wants to be and how it plans to get there
there have been important and beneficial changes in the culture and approach across the organisation
there are good working relations between elected members and senior managers, with regular briefings to help keep members informed and member-officer groups to oversee key developments
revised political management arrangements have helped strengthen scrutiny
The progress now being made through the council’s Transforming Angus programme is also welcomed, with the auditors looking for a further increase in the pace of change.
Audit Scotland recommends that the council should:
maintain the strong political and senior officer leadership to ensure the desired organisational change and projected savings are achieved
continue to support elected members to develop more open forms of scrutiny; greater focus on priorities; and increased awareness of approaches taken by other councils
provide a more coherent approach to performance management to help prioritise improvement and aid scrutiny
continue to improve the budget process
Commenting on the report council leader, Councillor Iain Gaul said: “The 2016 audit report is a fair and positive read overall and reflects our own assessment of the progress we are making.
“Angus Council has changed significantly in the past few years in both structure and culture. It is encouraging that the auditors recognise that our strategic approach is sound and the pace of change is increasing.
“We have streamlined our management structure and made it more effective; we have now established a culture and leisure charitable trust; and our shift to agile working will significantly cut the number of buildings staff occupies.
“In the coming months we’ll be talking to residents about council priorities and spending for the next 4-5 years. The strong strategic leadership and rigorous scrutiny that we now have in place will help us make the tough but essential decisions to close the significant funding gap.”