Improvements but Falkirk Council can still do better

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Effective leadership is required at Falkirk Council if it is to deliver its five-year improvement programme, according to the Accounts Commission.

A new report published today (Thursday) is the third in four years by the local authority watchdog on how Falkirk is meeting its legal duty to demonstrate best value.

The report states the council has responded encouragingly to previous concerns with good commitment from councillors and officers to the transformation programme. Improvements have been made in financial planning and performance reporting.

Falkirk needs to make significant savings of £77.5 million over the next five years. The Commission said more clarity is needed on how the savings will be delivered by the improvement programme.

Graham Sharp, chairman of the Accounts Commission, said: “Falkirk has made encouraging progress over the last year.

“However, there is a lot more work still to be done. Effective leadership is essential to ensure the improvement programme continues moving from planning to delivery.”

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, council leader, said: “It is pleasing to see that progress on improving services to our communities continues to be made. This report highlights some of the areas where our efforts are being recognised. In particular, our transformation programme, ‘Council of the Future’, as well as our longer term financial planning have been identified as examples of where we believe these improvements are already making a difference.”

She added: “We’re not complacent and we know there are some significant hurdles to overcome in the future. However, with a determined effort from elected members across party lines as well as staff and with support from our communities, we are working towards making this a highly effective Council able to deliver valued services in the years to come.

“We welcome the findings and will continue to work with the Accounts Commission.”