Published: Monday, 27th February 2017
A national report on local authority performance indicators has shown high levels of satisfaction with social care services in the Scottish Borders.
Our performance has been presented in the annual report on all local authorities throughout Scotland, and compared to other councils.
What is benchmarking?
The Local Government Benchmarking Framework measures the performances of all 32 councils and evaluates the delivery and cost of services as well as satisfaction with them.
Home support service satisfaction improves
In a new measure introduced this year, over 87 per cent of adults supported at home felt the service and support received had an impact in improving or maintaining their quality of life - the Scottish average is 81%.
In addition, over 84 per cent of local social care service users rated the care and support received as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
Performance in line with other councils
Overall, the Framework report found that our performance was largely in line with national trends, with good performance noted in the cost of Council Tax collection and waste collection and disposal.
Much of the data used in the report has already been put before elected members through our own performance reporting arrangements and additional reports, for example recycling rates and road condition.
Tracey Logan, Chief Executive
“We monitor our performance closely through our own quarterly reports and the Benchmarking Framework is another tool that the Council’s management team and service directors can use to track performance.
“Whilst this particular report allows us to compare performance against other local authorities, our main focus is on trends and seeking improvements in our services and high satisfaction among service users.
“The data shows that in many areas we are performing in line with national trends, and we are determined to improve our performance where the direction of travel is less positive. In many cases we have already taken action, including through our latest budget, where we committed significant funds to our road network and to improve our commercial premises.
“In some instances the data used within the report does not reflect what we know to be the case locally. For example, our own data in relation to procurement spend locally shows that almost a quarter of this goes to local firms - we include the £188,000 of invoices under £1,000 and spend with companies with local offices and employees, but with the main office registered outwith our region. The national measure does not take account of these things, which we believe is misleading.
“In respect of teacher absences, the number includes a small number of unavoidable, long term absences. To minimise other absences, we are working with managers in schools to encourage early intervention and referral to the Council’s occupational health service.”
Different Education information makes benchmarking difficult
A number of new measures have been introduced in the Benchmarking Framework around education. Some of these new measures have limitations. For example, some authorities across Scotland have presented a range of core subjects such as Religious and Moral Education for accreditation whilst others have not, and the information includes the attainment of the pupils who left after S4, which can be quite different across authorities in Scotland.
“While we recognise the value of statistics, it is important that there is consistency with the widely recognised and understood education performance measures, used by teachers, employers and parents,” said Ms Logan.
“Closing the gap in attainment is a key priority for all our schools, but we must recognise that achievement for some of our pupils is about more than just exam results, and that a positive destination on leaving school, whether that is a full time job, apprenticeship or further education is to be celebrated.
“Wider achievement during school life is also important, and that is why we will continue to build accreditation in areas such as leadership, employability and personal development whilst continuing in every school with a focus on raising the attainment of all learners.”
All local authorities participate in the Local Government Benchmarking Framework. Data in the framework is presented through the ‘My Local Council’ website where we are compared to the Scottish local authority average
See our website for context about our services and what we are doing to improve.