In a report out today, the Accounts Commission makes clear the significant progress that West Dunbartonshire Council has made in recent years.
The report from the local authority spending watchdog says a critical part of the progress made has been the effective and improved leadership of councillors and officers, sharing a commitment to making improvements.
The Commission says there has been clear and steady improvement in service performance, particularly in the council’s priority areas of housing and advancing educational attainment. Local residents also express increasing satisfaction with council services.
It is clear that West Dunbartonshire Council faces some real challenges, in particular falling population levels, significant economic deprivation and poor health outcomes for many residents. This report confirms, however, that the council is in a good position to tackle these challenges, despite facing a budget gap of nearly £14 million over the next three years. Continued involvement of local communities will help the council and its partners deal with these challenges.
Over the last few years there has been a significant expansion and investment in buildings, roads and other assets. But this work hasn’t always been delivered on time. Improvements to project planning and management are needed to ensure the council has the capacity and capability to delivery these projects, on time and on budget.
Ronnie Hinds, deputy chair of the Accounts Commission, said:
"This report on West Dunbartonshire Council shows the significant progress made by the council over the last eleven years.
"Clear leadership and constructive working relationships have enabled the council to maintain or improve services while faced with real social and economic issues. More of this will be needed, together with effective financial and project management, to deal with the challenges that lie ahead."