Accounts Commission calls on Angus Council to step up savings drive

Angus Council needs to up the pace of change if it is to meet its £26.5 million savings target, an Accounts Commission report says today.

The local government spending watchdog found that the council has made progress since 2010, setting out a clear vision, modernising its business processes and improving the leadership provided by senior managers.

But the council is facing significant financial pressures and needs to find savings of £26.5 million over the next three years. Today’s report says that the council’s ability to make these savings largely depends on the success of its change programme, Transforming Angus.

While Transforming Angus has helped to improve the organisational culture within the council and has contributed to reducing the cost of delivering some services, there are risks that it may not succeed in delivering savings within the required timescales. The council needs to be more ambitious and increase the pace and depth of change.

Douglas Sinclair
Douglas Sinclair

In its report, the Commission also welcomed an improvement in the relationships between elected members and officers at the council, but raised concern that cross-party relations have become increasingly fragile. While improvements have been made in arrangements for elected members to scrutinise decision-making, these should be more open and transparent.

Douglas Sinclair, chair of the Accounts Commission, said: “Angus Council is heading in the right direction as an organisation but it is only now implementing initiatives which many other councils have already done.

“If the council is going to confront increasingly tough financial challenges, it needs to get more ambitious and speed up the pace of change.”

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