Feb 042015

News Release from East Lothian Council:

The third annual report for the Scottish Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) for 2013/14 has just been published. The information presented in this report covers how much Scotland’s 32 councils spend on particular services, service performance and how satisfied people are with the major services provided by councils.

As each council has different structure and service arrangements that it believes are the most appropriate and cost effective to support its local community, standard service definitions and classifications for spending and performance have been developed to ensure comparability across councils. These are continually reviewed and improved to ensure the best possible performance information is available to communities, and to councils themselves.

The 2013/14 report shows that East Lothian Council is performing relatively well across a range of indicators and is placed in the top quartile in 22 indicators and in the bottom quartile in only 10 indicators.

East Lothian Council Chief Executive, Angela Leitch, said: “We welcome the publication of the 2013/14 Local Government Benchmarking Report which provides invaluable data that we use as a catalyst towards improving standards and delivering better services.

“The indicators around citizen and customer satisfaction with services are particularly positive as we are in the top quartile in all eight of thee satisfaction indicators; for example, 93% of East Lothian residents are recorded as being satisfied with our parks and open spaces.
“ Other areas in which East Lothian Council performs well include:

o Sickness absence – number of sickness absence days per employee has fallen from 9.44 in 2011/12 to 8.63 in 2013/14 and we now have the 7th lowest sickness absence rate in Scotland

o The cost of democratic services in East Lothian is just under £21,000 per 1,000 population compared to the Scottish average of just over £32,000

o The percentage of income due from Council Tax received by the end of the year now stands as 96.4% compared to the Scottish average of 95.2%

“ However we also recognise the need to continuously improve our services and are taking action to address areas where the data shows we are performing well below the Scottish average, including rent arrears, length of time taken to complete non-emergency repairs to housing and positive destinations for school leavers.”

The National Trends identified in the report include:

• Local Government is responding well to the need to reduce costs and get better value for money. At the same time, councils are using better measurement/comparable data as a catalyst for improving standards and delivering even better services

• Councils have continued to make substantial improvements in efficiency and productivity. Overall, across Scotland the cost of delivering services has reduced while service output and outcomes have been maintained and improved

• Significant variations exist across councils – these are providing opportunities to learn from each other and to drive improvements

Service Areas

• Early Years – significant expansion in Early Years provision whilst managing to hold down spending

• Education – broad progress in educational outcomes (including among 20% most deprived) and young people heading for positive destinations – while unit costs have reduced

• Adult Social Care – continued progress in shifting the balance to more care at home, alongside a reduction in unit costs (for both home care, and residential care)

• Culture & Leisure Services – significantly higher use of culture and leisure resources and reduced unit costs

• Environmental Services – sustained improvements in recycling rates, cleanliness score and satisfaction levels in waste collection and street cleaning at a time of reducing unit costs
• Roads – continued improvement in the condition of the road network, against reductions in spend

• Corporate performance – continued progress in representation of women in senior roles and continued efficiencies across range of corporate services e.g. reduced costs of supporting democratic core and of collecting council tax

• Housing – considerable improvements in housing quality and energy efficiency – while the number of vacant council homes remains low at 1.3%
The Report, Executive Summary and full data is available to view on the LGBF website http://www.improvementservice.org.uk/benchmarking/