At the beginning of November the government said only seven councils' bids were of a sufficient quality to exempt them from the resumption of the CCT regime in July 1998.
The then local government minister, Malcolm Chisholm, told LGC the applications had been 'disappointing'.
But his successor, Calum MacDonald, announced just before Christmas that another nine councils had now been able to demonstrate 'the appropriate degree of commitment to and compliance with our new policy of best value'. These were Angus, Dundee, Highland, Midlothian, Moray, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders and South Lanarkshire.
But he said: 'We are not complacent, and are continuing our efforts to look at ways in which we can become more efficient and effective.'