Accounts Commission - reporting on West Lothian Council

Accounts Commission -

reporting on West Lothian Council  


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Council maintains strong performance but councillors need to play a more prominent role

A new report on West Lothian Council has been published by the Accounts Commission. This report provides an independent view across your local council and we will continue to follow up this work in the next four years.

Read the report to find out how well your council is performing, the challenges facing councillors and the impact of changes in budget and population. 

West Lothian Council continues to perform strongly, but the Accounts Commission state that councillors need to be more hands on in finding solutions to achieve estimated savings of £73.5m by 2022/23.

Strengths and challenges

1. There have been noticeable improvements in some services, especially in education.

2. The council continues to manage its money well, but needs to make estimated savings of over £73.5m by 2022/23.

3. The council continues to get local people involved, both in inspecting and helping design council services and sharing their views.

4. By 2039, there will be a projected 131% increase in the number of people aged 75 in West Lothian. The area will also see Scotland’s largest increase in the number of people of pensionable age and over.

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Key services

Some services in West Lothian are improving, particularly in education. In terms of educational attainment, West Lothian Council is performing better than the Scottish average. Some social work services are also improving. There has been an increase in the number of adults accessing Self-Directed Support funding and in the number of adults rating the care they receive at home as good or excellent. But the number of people experiencing delays in being discharged from hospital has increased.

BVAR West Lothian strengths

Getting local people involved

It is positive that the council is further developing the ways in which local people get involved - both in inspecting and helping design council services. But the council needs to ensure information available to the public about council services is balanced. 

BVAR West Lothian people

Managing its money

The council knows that significant changes to how services are delivered will be needed in the next five years. This is necessary as there is less money to deliver services – the council estimates that it needs to save £73.5m by 2022/23.

BVAR West Lothian money

Local councillors

The Accounts Commission say there is a need for councillors to take a much earlier role in identifying budget priorities. This will be needed to help them deliver savings by 2022/23. All councillors should play a more active and prominent role developing and scrutinising policy. Both these improvements will be vital to ensure local people get the best value from their council.

BVAR West Lothian Councillors
BVAR Westl Lothian Acc Comm

About the Accounts Commission

The Accounts Commission is the independent public spending watchdog for local government. It holds councils in Scotland to account and helps them improve by reporting to the public on their performance. Find out more on our website.

Key facts


About our Best Value Assurance Reports

Best Value is about ensuring public organisations are well managed, focus on improvement and deliver the best possible services for the public. Find out more.


Accounts Commission findings (page 5)


Press release and podcast

What happens next?


West Lothian Council will now formally consider the report at a full meeting of the Council. The independent external auditor for the council – Ernst & Young LLP (EY) – and Audit Scotland will monitor and report on progress every year. This will be done through the annual audit report on the council, which will be published every autumn by EY.