Magazine article Public Finance

Scottish Council Buildings in 'Bad State'

Magazine article Public Finance

Scottish Council Buildings in 'Bad State'

Article excerpt

More than a quarter of local authority buildings in Scotland are in poor or bad condition, a watchdog survey has shown.

According to the Accounts Commission, which oversees local government spending, there is a property maintenance backlog of at least £1.4bn and councils need to develop better strategies and systems for managing their assets.

In a report published on May 7, the commission said 27% of the 12,400 councilowned property assets included in the survey were in poor or bad condition. It added that 23% were unsuitable for the services being provided for them. More than 1,550 buildings - 14% -failed in both respects.

The commission stressed that the buildings consumed a great deal of resources, including energy and maintenance costs, cleaning and security. They also needed to offer good access for people using them so that services could be provided effectively.

However, just 40% of councils had strategies for managing and maintaining property and only a third thought further ahead than the next five years about what services they will need.

'There is little evidence that building use is being effectively challenged or scrutinised by councillors,' the report added. …

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