Scotland’s councils will see a one third cut in the amount of audit and inspection work this year, against 2010-11.
The local government national scrutiny plan for 2011-12 covers the work of six inspection bodies, which have coordinated their work based on risk assessments of each council rather than routine visits.
Those involved are: the Accounts Commission, HM Inspectorate of Education, Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland, Scottish Housing Regulator, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland and Health Care Improvement Scotland.
Accounts Commission chair John Baillie said “The time spent on this work is reducing due to improved coordination and sharing of information across the scrutiny bodies, providing a clearer picture of risks. Councils are also doing more to assess their performance and we welcome this.
“Activity within each council is more proportionate and risk-based. Over the past few years visits and inspections have generally become quicker, more focussed, and involve fewer inspector days on-site in councils.”
One quarter of the planned inspection work will be at the request of councils.
The only exceptions to this approach are child protection and fostering and adoption services, chosen as priorities by the Scottish Government, where “many councils will experience fieldwork in these areas”.