As part of Best Value 2 (BV2) the Accounts Commission, Audit Scotland, audits each local authority to ensure they are managing their finances to the highest standards and are achieving the best possible value for public money.
Initially individual Assurance and Improvement Plans (AIPs) are undertaken which gives a description of the council’s context, including the challenges it faces and what it's trying to achieve. The AIP also sets out any areas of concern about the way the council is run.
Using this information a scrutiny response tailored to suit the identified risks is undertaken. This may be a full scale inspection of a service area, a best value audit, limited audit or inspection activity, or no scrutiny activity for a given period.
The Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 introduced new statutory duties relating to Best Value and Community Planning. The scope of Best Value and Community Planning is very broad but in general terms a successful council will:
- Work with its partners to identify a clear set of priorities that respond to the needs of the community in both the short and the longer term
- Be organised to deliver those priorities
- Meet and clearly demonstrate that it is meeting the community's needs
- Operate in a way that drives continuous improvement in all its activities