COSLA President Shona Morrison has said that Councils are already at the forefront of service provision and are probably the most transformative and collaborative part of the public sector in Scotland.
The COSLA President also called on other parts of the public sector to be as radical and transformative as Scottish Local Government and praised how well Scottish Local Government collaborates with partners in particular.
Commenting today (Wednesday) in response to the Accounts Commission Overview Report, Councillor Morrison said: “As today’s report recognises, Councils worked well with their partners to address the impacts of Covid-19.
“The report also recognises the huge challenges Councils face due to budget constraints, increased cost pressures and demand, and increases in directed and ringfenced funding. As we have all seen, increasingly difficult choices are required about spending priorities and service provision given reducing budgets coupled with growing demographic and workforce pressures.”
Councillor Morrison added: “In addition, we are working with the Scottish Government on a ‘New Deal’ for Local Government, which will enable more long-term planning, more transparency in the budget setting process and a reduction in ring fenced funding for national priorities which constrains councils from making decisions about how to best use money to address the needs of their local communities.”
She concluded: “Only on Monday of this week, in our response to the Finance and Public Administration Committee's call for views on public service reform, we highlighted the significant efficiencies and reforms that councils across Scotland have already made in response to successive real-terms cuts to core funding for over a decade.
“We also welcomed the Scottish Government's renewed commitment to work collaboratively with Local Government to deliver on shared priorities, including tackling child poverty and achieving a just transition to net zero.
“Today’s report from the Accounts Commission and our response to the Finance and Public Administration Committee deliver exactly the same message. Councils are uniquely placed to be the key partner in the Scottish Government's public service reform programme and should be further empowered to better support local service delivery.”
The report can be found on the Accounts Commission website: Local government in Scotland: Overview 2023 | Audit Scotland (audit-scotland.gov.uk)