I have been very busy over this past few weeks working on the limited information I have had as a councillor to create an alternative budget to the ones in Service Choices.
During this period, Audit Scotland produced its best value report on Argyll & Bute Council. I may produce a detailed critique of this report at a later date but meantime the section on Service Choices in the report is worth a read. Look at paragraphs 81 onwards in the report but I reproduce some of paragraph 82 on its own below. This confirms much of what I’ve been saying about the way they went about this.
The full report is at : Argyll_and_Bute_BV_CoA_report_Dec_2015
81 It is not clear how most of the Service Choices options will help to deliver the council’s strategic aims and priorities. The majority of the proposed savings options put to public consultation are based on low-level cuts to individual service budgets. 109 of the 150 savings proposals are based on reducing or stopping services, or doing both. 43 represent service cuts of £20,000 or less. Given the nature of many of the proposals, it is difficult to see how the public would be able to offer an informed opinion on them. Many relate to management actions that the public might consider are simply efficiency measures that should be pursued as a matter of course.
Will this report from Audit Scotland have any weight when push inevitably comes to shove?