South Scotland

Scottish Borders Council's £30m savings target 'challenging'

Borders Council Image copyright Google
Image caption The best-value audit is the first to be carried out at the council since 2010

A five-year savings target of £30m set by a council has been described as "challenging" by Audit Scotland.

A best-value report on the Scottish Borders authority said it would need to ensure it continued to deliver public services while making the changes.

The council started its Fit for 2024 "transformation programme" earlier this year, looking at improving management.

Audit Scotland said the authority had already made "good progress" but needed to step up the "pace of change".

The study was the first of its kind in the Borders since 2010.

It found the council had made "steady progress overall" over the intervening years.

Among its "key messages" were:

  • More needs to be done to embed and sustain a "culture of continuous improvement"
  • Members and officers show a "strong commitment" to working together
  • Performance is "good or improving" in education and social work
  • The council has a good track record in making savings but its financial outlook remains "challenging"
  • The local authority is a "key partner in complex and ambitious economic initiatives"
  • Implementation of community empowerment legislation had been "slow in some respects"

The report also gives a number of recommendations on how to change the way the council works.

These include better partnership-working with NHS Borders, creating a structured programme of staff consultation and engagement and improvements to how it involves local communities.

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