Financial management within Argyll and Bute Council is effective with a budget process focussed on the council’s priorities.
That was one of the findings of the 2017/18 annual audit report undertaken by Audit Scotland, which went before the full council last Thursday (November 29).
The report further noted that the council “has appropriate governance and accountability arrangements in place that support the scrutiny of its decisions; It conducts its business in an increasingly open and transparent manner; and the council has been effective in promoting community engagement across most areas of its activities, and had successfully implemented its statutory obligations relating to the Community Empowerment Act”.
Audit Scotland went on to highlight the fact that while the council’s financial position is sustainable in the medium to long term, rising demand coupled with increasing costs of services and the reduction in local government funding will continue to put a strain on the council’s capacity to deliver services at the current level.
Councillor Gary Mulvaney, policy lead for strategic finance and capital regeneration, said: “I’m encouraged to hear that the council has been recognised for its financial management, its focus on priorities, and community engagement.
“Every year it becomes more challenging to balance the budget, and I welcome the fact that Audit Scotland recognises the strain that reduced funding puts on our ability to deliver services in the way we would like to.
“As 80 per cent of our budget comes from the government, we have to constantly review our business to reshape what we do and find ways of bridging the funding gap.
“The recognition that we have based our spending on clear priorities is really important.
“We always have to find a balance between investing in the future of Argyll and Bute and the vital services we need right now.
“That’s why we ask our residents to help us identify what is important to them as we make financial decisions each year and my sincere thanks go to everyone who takes part in our consultations.
“Our goal is, and always will be, to work with our communities to give Argyll and Bute a great future that we can all share.
“And by working together to attract new people, investment and jobs, we can keep the services we all depend on going.”