Council among best performing in Scotland
INVERCLYDE Council is one of the best performing local authorities in Scotland, according to a new national report.
The eleventh annual Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) National Benchmarking Overview Report covering 2021/22 highlights that Inverclyde has exceeded the Scottish average in areas such as education, roads, waste and recycling, and leisure, parks and libraries.
Overall, the council showed improvement in 55 indicators (59 per cent) during that period, according to the evidence-based study produced by local authority organisations COSLA, SOLACE Scotland and the Improvement Service.
The report also shows that the local authority has fallen behind in 35 areas (37 per cent of indicators) while four indicators stayed the same (four per cent).
It highlighted that in Inverclyde, the average spend per primary school pupil was £6,864 compared to the national average of £6,325, while the investment per head in secondary education was £8,339 locally and £7,898 across Scotland as a whole.
That in turn contributed to higher than average attainment rates for students in Inverclyde and almost 80 per cent (78.7 per cent) satisfaction rate among adults for local schools compared with 75 per cent nationally.
The report also highlighted Inverclyde Council’s positive performance in many other areas, compared with the national picture, such as: benefit payments, with almost 100 per cent of crisis grants and community care grants applications decided within set timescales; culture and leisure, with high satisfaction rates among local people for parks (86 per cent), leisure facilities (78.7 per cent) and libraries (76.5 per cent) compared with Scottish averages; and waste and recycling, with 88.4 per cent of adults satisfied with their refuse collection service as opposed to 75.3 per cent nationally.
Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, said: “This report highlights the first-class services councils are continuing to deliver despite the financial challenges being faced right across local government because of years of underfunding.
“I’m proud of the record we have here in Inverclyde and there are many positives, as referenced throughout this extensive study, and that’s quite simply down to the hard work of our dedicated workforce to do the best they can for the people we serve.
“Of course, we can always do better and there are many areas in the report that highlights that, but we will strive to do better within the ever-dwindling resources we have at our disposal and make Inverclyde a good place to live, work, do business and visit.”
Other highlights in the report include investment in roads in Inverclyde more than double the national average at £22,353 per kilometre compared with £11,107 across Scotland as a whole, higher business gateway start-ups with almost 30 per 10,000 population in Inverclyde while the nationwide rate was 14.4, and 97.1 per cent of properties have access to superfast broadband internet – three per cent more than the Scottish average.
However, the study did highlight areas for improvement right across the board.
The LGBF report as a whole praised councils for continuing to develop innovative and effective community-based solutions, despite increased pressures around funding, demand, Covid and the cost of living crisis.
It also warned that ongoing savings local authorities are having to make means they are facing increasingly difficult choices with their spending priorities, and the financial outlook for local government is more challenging than ever before.
The full report is available at https://www.improvementservice.org.uk/news/march-2023/innovative-response-from-councils-to-challenges-of-funding,-covid-and-cost-of-living-crisis.