The main purpose is to guarantee that local authorities will seek to deliver continuous improvement in all its services while taking care to consider economy, efficiency, effectiveness, equity and the environment. Best value also requires councils to:
The Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 established Best Value and Community Planning as statutory duties for local authorities. To check that local authorities are meeting the requirements of the Act, the Accounts Commission initiated a national programme of BV audits in 2004. The audits were based around a self-assessment exercise, backed up by an audit undertaken by Audit Scotland. Our first self-assessment report was completed in August 2005 and the Audit Scotland Report was published in January 2006.
In response to the audit report, we developed a plan of improvement actions and Audit Scotland was requested to prepare a report on the progress that we had made by 31st December 2008. This progress report was published on 15th April 2009 and again provides a positive picture of the development that we are making.
In the autumn of 2008, we undertook a further self-assessment audit using a method designed for the public sector, based on the internationally accredited assessment model, EFQM. This self-assessment exercise helped refresh our improvement plans and looked towards the next round of local authority Best Value Audits in Scotland.
The initial national programme of audits was complete in 2009 and a second best value 2 audit programme started in 2010.
Best Value 2 audits aims to be proportionate and minimise duplication and overlap. To achieve this, the accounts commission works in conjunction with other scrutiny bodies.
As part of the rolling Best Value 2 audit process all local authorities are subject to an annual Shared Risk Assessment. This assessment is undertaken by the local area network consisting of external scrutiny bodies. For Glasgow, this includes the following bodies; Education Scotland; the Care Inspectorate, the Scottish Housing Regulator and is chaired by Audit Scotland.
We have undergone an annual shared risk assessment since November 2009 and each year an assurance and improvement plan is produced by Audit Scotland for each council which sets out risks and the planned scrutiny activity over that period.
We produce a response to the shared risk assessment on an annual basis and any improvement action identify is incorporated in the Best Value improvement plan.