Best value report published

Best value report published Image

A comprehensive review of Dundee City Council by auditors has highlighted a “steady pace of improvement” over the past decade.

The Best Value Assurance Report (BVAR) evaluates how effectively the council is delivering on its statutory duty to deliver Best Value.

The report was compiled by Audit Scotland for the Accounts Commission following a lengthy period of evaluation, using the council’s self-evaluation report, interviews, information gathering and further analysis.

The final report contains many positive assessments of the council, including the progress made since the last Best Value Audit in 2010.

It also described the council as a “mature organisation that is able to honestly appraise its own strengths and weaknesses and identify where improvement is required.”

However, the Accounts Commission says the council must now work with partners to move even faster to address complex and deep-rooted problems such as poverty, inequality and the highest level of drug-related deaths for a city in Scotland.

Council Leader, Councillor John Alexander, said: “This report showcases the excellent work that’s being carried out in the city by the council and its partners in a number of areas.

“It reflects well the progress we’ve made as well as some of the challenges we face going forward.

“Ultimately, it’s very pleasing that the Accounts Commission’s detailed assessment shows good leadership, effective partnership working, the city’s ongoing transformation and the council’s continuous improvement is providing a bright future for Dundee.”

Key findings within the report include:

• The council and its partners have a clear and ambitious vision for Dundee,
with the City Plan and the Council Plan showing how life in the city will be
improved. The report goes on to say “they understand that the key to this is
addressing Dundee’s high levels of poverty and inequality.”

• Examples of positive work include the Dundee Partnership’s regeneration of
the Dundee Waterfront, V&A Dundee and the new Dundee Railway Station.
Additional major projects throughout the city, such as the Regional
Performance Centre for Sport and Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, have
also contributed to wider regeneration.

• Financial management was found to be effective with budgets focused on the
council’s priorities. The council’s 2019 long-term financial strategy has
contributed to the good progress made in financial planning.

• The Dundee Partnership’s embracing of the Community Empowerment Act
was highlighted, using the eight local Community Planning Partnerships to
deliver local projects to communities, and including citizens’ views to inform
£1.2m of spending on local projects throughout the city in 2018/19 as part of
Dundee Decides.

• Areas identified as requiring further progress include closing the attainment
gap, workforce planning and ensuring the financial stability of the Integration
Joint Board.

• The auditors also highlighted the “complex and deep-rooted” challenges
around drug deaths, poverty and mental health, and recommended that more
be done to ensure the benefits of the city’s transformation are felt by all
Dundonians.

Councillor Alexander added: “We know that there are areas where more needs to
be done to improve the lives of people in the city, and we are working hard with our
partners to deliver that change.

“Through the Fairness Commissions and Dundee Drugs Commission, all partners,
communities and those with lived experience are working together to identify and
implement effective change.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges of the global Coronavirus pandemic, our
bold ambitions for a smarter, fairer, more vibrant and attractive Dundee are
undiminished.”

An action plan to address the recommendations in the report will be considered by
councillors at a later date.

The Best Value Assurance Report can be viewed in full on the Dundee City Council website.

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