Reporting on West Dunbartonshire Council

Accounts Commission

Reporting on West Dunbartonshire Council


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West Dunbartonshire Council makes significant progress 

A new report on West Dunbartonshire Council has been published by the Accounts Commission. This is the only report that provides an independent view across all aspects of your local council.

West Dunbartonshire Council has made significant progress since the Accounts Commission’s reports in 2007 and 2010. There has been effective and improved leadership of councillors and officers, with councillors working well with council staff. And there have been improvements in services, particularly in the council’s priority areas of housing and educational attainment.

The Commission reports that the council and its partners are well placed to tackle some significant challenges, for example the impact of poverty on life expectancy and health. It will need to continue to change its services to respond to these challenges.

Major challenges for West Dunbartonshire Council  


1. Tackling the impact of poverty on reduced life expectancy in the most deprived areas.

2. The local population is both reducing, as well as ageing. The population is set to decrease by nearly 7% by 2039, with a projected increase of 71% in residents aged 75+. This will impact on council services. 

3. Savings of nearly £14 million need to be made by 2020/21, while providing services to an increasingly ageing population.


West Duns key facts

Our findings

Making real progress

Over the last 10 years, there has been significant progress made by the Council, in particular the effective and improved leadership of councillors and officers, and constructive working between councillors. This needs to continue to ensure the council is in the best possible place to tackle ongoing inequalities and continue to deliver services whilst managing a budget shortfall.

Working together

Services continue to improve

There has been steady improvement in services, particularly in the priority areas of housing and educational attainment. There is good evidence that many residents who have provided feedback are increasingly satisfied with the services they receive. There will have to be more service reform to address the budget gap of around £14 million over the next three years. The Council needs to make further improvements to capital project planning and management.

Service improvements

Improving lives

The council continues to face long-standing and long-term inequalities. Life expectancy is significantly lower than the Scottish average. This, together with economic deprivation and a reducing, as well as ageing population, will present significant challenges. The council is well placed to face and deal with these challenges. The Council's economic strategy will be significant in helping them achieve this.

Local communities

Working with local people

The council continues to engage and work well with local communities in making decisions, for example, in reviewing library opening times, strategic plan priorities and budget. The Community Alliance has the potential to further develop how the council and its partners involve communities to address the challenges set out above.

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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

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About Best Value

Our Best Value reports look at how councils are carrying out their legal duty to demonstrate best value and continuous improvement in what they do. We want our audit to give local people an independent and broad view on how their council is doing, so they can be better informed about the key services they rely on. Find out more.

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Accounts Commission findings (page 5)

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Press release and podcast

What happens next?

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West Dunbartonshire Council will now formally consider the report at a full meeting of the Council. The independent external auditor for the council – Audit Scotland – will monitor and report on progress every year. This will be done through an annual audit report on the council, which is published every autumn.

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Follow the Accounts Commission on Twitter

The Accounts Commission is now on Twitter. We'll be sharing all the Commission's latest news and findings. Just search for @AccCommScot to follow and share our posts