|At the today’s meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council (28 June) Councillors received a report outlining the progress services had to deliver the Council’s Priorities and Commitments.
On 25 September 2014, the Council agreed four Priorities and 16 Commitments focusing on the economy, supporting children and our most vulnerable and being an inclusive council. The report presented to Councillors provided them with the annual performance report for these Priorities and Commitments.
Speaking at the meeting, Council Leader, Ronnie Nicholson, said:
“There is no doubt that the past year has been hugely challenging for our council, faced with managing the single biggest attack on local government in a generation with Government cuts the scale of which we have never seen before.
However, despite this attack, as a council we remain absolutely focused on our priorities.
Building the local economy is our number one priority and our new Regional Economic Strategy, in particular our planned investment of £3.5m a year in delivering a Youth Guarantee, is delivering that stronger local economy- one in which everyone has equality of opportunity. That strategy is being delivered in partnership with agencies and businesses through our new Economic Leadership Team- a clear endorsement from the business community of our commitment to the local economy.
As a council we are at the forefront of mitigating our region against the worst extremes of austerity, implementing Dumfries and Galloway’s first ever Anti-Poverty Strategy including being the first council in Scotland to achieve Living Wage accreditation.
The strides we are making in delivering improvements along with our partners in our Children’s Services as well as the major investment being made in projects such as Dumfries Learning Town and the Dalbeattie Learning Campus shows real progress in our priority of given our children the best start in life.
We need to build on this investment with more emphasis on closing the attainment gap in education between the most advantaged and most disadvantaged school pupils.
It cannot be acceptable that a child’s background and whether or not they live in a deprived area influences how they achieve at school. I know that is a view the Scottish Government has said they share but we now need to see that matched by a fair distribution of Government resources to our region to close that attainment gap rather than the crumbs Dumfries and Galloway has received so far from the attainment fund.
The progress we are making comes at a time we are reshaping Council services in line with our priorities. It is a process of considerable change for our council’s employees. However, the continuing commitment and contribution of all of our staff in realising the ambitions in our agreed Priorities is vital. I want to place on record my thanks on behalf of the Council for the effort our staff make each and every day to delivery for the people of Dumfries and Galloway, despite the challenging times we face. They should be proud of the difference they make to the lives of the people of our region every day.
However, it is also clear that we are asking fewer and fewer people to do more and more and that cannot continue indefinitely. That’s why the forthcoming public consultation on what services we should no longer provide, will be so important in further prioritising our council’s services.”
The report can be viewed on the Council’s website: http://egenda.dumgal.gov.uk/aksdumgal/images/att41299.pdf