GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Saturday 18 May 2024
 12°C   NE Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Council / Councillors content with response to best value audit report

SHETLAND councillors have welcomed progress the local authority has made in responding to a mixed best value audit report.

Shetland Islands Council (SIC) chief executive Maggie Sandison said “substantial progress has been made in all areas” following the 2022 report, delivered by the Accounts Commission.

She told a meeting of the SIC’s audit committee on Monday that the majority of actions included in an action plan developed in response to the report have now been completed.

The best value report, prepared for the Accounts Commission by Audit Scotland, highlighted significant concern in a number of areas of how the council works – including financial sustainability and performance management.

There were also areas of praise highlighted by auditors.

Best value is described as ensuring that there is good governance and effective management of resources, with a focus on improvement, to deliver the best possible outcomes for the public.

In order to respond to the recommendations from the report within the required 18 months an action plan was put together by the SIC as well as a sounding board featuring councillors.

Sounding board chairman councillor Cecil Smith told Monday’s meeting that he was pleased with how the progress has gone, particularly as the SIC was “squeezed for time” when the report came in.

“I think it’s congratulations to the officers that we are where we are,” he said.

“Obviously we never agreed on everything – we had some discussions about things – but at the end of the day we got where I wanted to get to, [which] was a much better place than when we first got the best value report.

“It’s not finished – I think that we need to remember that. There’s still somebody looking at us wondering what we’re doing and are we going to do enough to keep them happy.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

Meanwhile SIC depute leader Gary Robinson said he felt best value is “never finished – it is ongoing”, adding that it is important not to take the “eye off the ball”.

Committee vice-chair Catherine Hughson, presiding over Monday’s meeting, commented that “best value should be something we strive to do every day”.

During questioning, engagement with the public – one area of criticism in the best value report, particularly when it came to things like budget setting – was raised.

Lerwick North and Bressay councillor Stephen Leask said the SIC seems to have “stepped things up” in that regard – saying for example he had seen information adverts on budget setting whilst watching a film at Mareel.

Sandison said there is already a very high awareness of the council’s work in the community – particularly as one third of Shetland’s working age population are employees of the SIC.

She noted that the best value audit challenged the SIC on engagement with the community on finances, and said the council had pushed communications on budget and workforce issues.

Sandison said there is also “parallel” work ongoing where individual services take forward conversations about change to gather people’s opinions.

However Shetland West councillor Liz Peterson said she felt the SIC has not done so well in getting feedback from communities.

Sandison said there has been a number of methods of gaining feedback, from questionnaires to the Nort Natters engagement events held for people in the North Mainland.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.