External audit highlights a forward looking Council
“The forward look of the Council is one of ambition, improving outcomes and working across Communities”. This is the view of the external audit report on The Highland Council.
The external audit also highlights the significant financial challenges that are likely over the next 5 years with the Council looking to achieve substantial financial savings, which need to be on a recurring basis. The Council continues to have lower available reserves. This reflects strategic directions taken by the Council, including the substantial programme of redesign.
The work of the redesign board during 2016/17 gives the Council a good platform to go forward and external auditors comment that it is encouraging to see consideration of future income streams, as well as expenditure savings and the formation of a Commercialisation Board.
The audit report provides an independent and positive view of the Council’s approach to financial strategy. It notes: “The way forward builds on the successes in prior years as well as lessons learned and is centred around the refreshed Council vision and priorities.”
Convener of the Council Bill Lobban welcomed the positive report saying: “It is very encouraging to receive external recognition of the innovative financial approach the Council has taken through its programme of redesign. This is a very positive report which recognises the enormous financial challenges and highlights the importance of a fresh and ambitious approach which embraces income generation and commercialisation as fundamental to our future viability.”
The full report will be discussed by members at Highland Council on 26 October.