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Falkirk Council has welcomed the recent findings of the Accounts Commission, highlighting areas of progress and opportunities for future improvements within the organisation.

In a report published today (Thursday, 2 May), the findings acknowledge significant progress has been made since the council's last Best Value Assurance Report in 2022, and highlight the ongoing commitment required to meet the evolving needs of local communities.

The commission commends the council’s proactive approach to tackling its financial challenges, notably through its transformational change programme, Council of the Future, and recognises past achievements in delivering savings. It also highlights that the council has clearly demonstrated its commitment to prudent financial management. However, it stresses the need to identify further recurring savings to ensure long-term financial stability.

Drawing attention to the importance of community engagement, the findings acknowledge existing consultation efforts but emphasise that the council must accelerate the development of its community engagement strategy to ensure meaningful involvement of residents in decision-making processes.

The council's dedication to enhancing strategic planning and performance reporting is also recognised as a positive step. However, the findings underscore the need for further development in using performance data to drive improvements and the need for publishing service plans.

Kenneth Lawrie, Chief Executive of Falkirk Council said:

"While the findings are a positive acknowledgement of our commitment to ongoing improvement, they also highlight the massive financial and operational challenges that lie ahead of us. There is no denying the fact we still have a financial mountain to climb and must find savings to close a £62 million budget gap. That is not going to be easy, and tough decisions will need to be made. It is clear, however, that the collaborative efforts of our elected members and officers have been fundamental in driving positive change over the past two years. As we move forward, maintaining and strengthening that collaborative spirit will be more vital than ever. It will be key in navigating the difficult choices that lie ahead and in ensuring the successful delivery of our strategic priorities."

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council added:

“The findings act as a guide for the council, highlighting areas of success to build upon and pinpointing areas needing more attention. We will use the commission’s findings to help deliver further change, including prioritising the development of our community engagement strategy. Our goal is to ensure local people not only feel heard and valued but also part of the decision-making process. By strengthening community engagement, we aim to build deeper trust and more effectively address the needs of residents. This will be crucial as we work together to navigate current and future challenges and improve services.”

To read the findings and Best Value report visit the Accounts Commission’s website.