Council’s leadership praised amid drug and deprivation challenges

Dundee City Council has been praised for its 'effective leadership' as it works to tackle long-standing challenges across the city.

Dundee City Council leadership praised by watchdog amid drug and deprivation challenges LDRS

A watchdog report has praised the “effective leadership” of Dundee City Council amid challenges to tackle deprivation and drug deaths.

The Accounts Commission’s best value report into the local authority, published on Thursday, praised the “good financial management and engagement with communities” as it works to tackle long-standing challenges across the city.

The commission said: “It is clear that the effective leadership provided by officers and elected members is an area of strength for the council.

“This is demonstrated in the clarity and coherence of the council’s vision and planning, its alignment of resources with its priorities, and its fair and balanced public performance reporting, which we welcome.”

However, it noted: “We recognise that there are high levels of deprivation and child poverty in Dundee, and long-standing challenges around educational attainment and drug deaths.

“The commission is assured that the council is taking action in response to these issues.”

It urged the council to update its long-term financial strategy amid a cumulative funding gap of £38m for the period 2024-27.

It said the council has “sound” financial management and planning, which should be “commended”, however challenges remain around the delivery of the capital programme despite “signs of improvement”.

Ronnie Hinds, interim chairman of the Accounts Commission, said: “Councillors and staff at Dundee City Council continue to be focused on the needs of local people.

“There is clear leadership, a commitment to improve and action in response to audit recommendations. A strong vision for the future of the city is embedded in the council’s strategies and plans. The council should look to share its approach with other councils.

“Given the significant challenges the city faces, and the ongoing need for financial savings, it’s critical that the council maintains and continues the progress it has made.”

Council leader John Alexander said: “These positive findings by the Accounts Commission are a strong validation of the excellent work that’s being carried out by the council in a number of areas.

“We know that there are some areas where more needs to be done to improve the lives of people in the city, and we are working hard with our partners to deliver that change.

“Despite the challenges of the past few years, and the difficult financial road that lies ahead, our bold ambitions for a smarter, fairer, more vibrant and attractive Dundee are undiminished.”

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