A report published today recognises that a body set up to improve services in Moray has seen significant progress over the last year – but is critical in pointing out that comes only after “many years of being ineffective”.
The report produced for the Accounts Commission and Auditor General for Scotland looks closely at the performance of the Moray Community Planning Partnership (CCP) – a joint group consisting of the council, health board, police and fire services and community representatives.
While the report praised the CPP for making “significant progress” over the last twelve months, it points out that this momentum has only been achieved recently by a body that had been set up in 2001.
The report says: “After many years of being ineffective, there are now signs that the CPP board is starting to provide leadership for partnership working within Moray and to show a willingness to make decisions on difficult issues.”
Chairman of the Accounts Commission for Scotland, Douglas Sinclair, said: “After making limited progress in recent years Moray CPP has demonstrated improvement over the last year.
“This renewed commitment is encouraging – but the partnership cannot afford to lose this momentum. If the CPP is to achieve its potential and realise the benefits it is capable of delivering for the people of Moray, it needs to sustain its leadership of community planning, target resources on its key priorities and hold partners to account for how they contribute.”
The leader of Moray Council and chair of the CPP, Councillor Allan Wright, accused the commission of issuing negative statements to the press when it “would do better to be more encouraging”.
Councillor Wright said: “I’m extremely disappointed that the Accounts Commission have chosen to issue a set of negative statements to the press.
“Although included in the report, many of the statements have been hand-picked to emphasise the negative which is a trait of the Accounts Commission when it would do better to be more encouraging.
“The press release does not reflect the tenor of the report which, in its findings and key messages, is positive and entirely fair. The ground-breaking ten year plan for Moray is the setting of five clear priorities by the CPP board – all underpinned by clear and transparent targets.”
Convenor of the Moray Greens, James MacKessack-Leitch, has welcomed the report saying it gives solid backing to what many recognise as Moray’s strengths and weaknesses.
He added: “In particular it is very welcome to see that Moray’s under pressure Schools are praised as they are significantly outperforming the national average across a range of factors from attendance to achievement – despite having resources cut, and in some cases being threatened with closure.
“The report also highlights Moray’s significantly below average weekly wages and lack of high skilled jobs, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the key message identified in the report is that economic development should be the overriding priority for the foreseeable future.
“While this may be a laudable aim given recent events, we have to remember that a progressive and sustainable economy can only be built by a healthy, happy, and well-educated society.
“This in turn can only be provided by making sure we have properly resourced schools, invest in broadband and sensible transport infrastructure, and deal with our chronic health issues – not just in the short term, but for decades into our shared future.”