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SOLACE benchmarking

The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) has worked with the Improvement Service and all 32 Scottish local authorities to develop a new benchmarking framework for Scottish Local Government. This project was launched on 7 March 2013.

The purpose of the benchmarking project is to help councils understand their performance and how other comparable authorities achieve their results.

The new project is based on 55 indicators across major service areas.  These indicators have been selected because they are relevant to services and councils; they are unambiguous and can be clearly understood; they can be consistent applied across councils and services; they are statistically robust and they are cost effective to collect.

Benchmarking is an integral part of performance management within East Ayrshire Council. We recognise the value of this approach in terms of sharing best practice and learning from other authorities, to ensure that we continue to deliver the best possible services and outcomes for our local communities. 

In 2010 we contacted seven other councils toestablish a Cross Council Budget and Performance Working Group to help identify a consistent basis for calculating the cost of service and comparing these to service performance. The Audit Commission for Scotland commended this approach in its 2012 report: Using cost information to measure performance, and the working group continues to examine significant cost and performance issues.

Our own rigorous and robust internal performance systems are used routinely to identify areas for improvement and regular reports are presented to our Governance and Scrutiny Committee showing how we compare with other Scottish Councils.

In June 2012 we launched our Transformation Strategy which sets out the way ahead for the Council over the next four years and the areas where we will focus our resources and our participation in the SOLACE Benchmarking Project has helped to reinforce what we already knew. 

East Ayrshire Council compares favourably in the majority of indicators featured, but in particular:

  • cost of central support services
  • cost per attendance at sports centres
  • cost of parks and open spaces
  • gross cost of waste collection per household
  • percentage of council dwellings meeting the Scottish Housing Quality Standard
  • percentage of council dwellings that are energy efficient
  • percentage of tenant rent arrears cost of pre-school education

The data also highlights five key areas that we will want to examine with other councils:

  • cost per primary school pupil
  • attainment levels for S6 pupils
  • cost of library visits
  • roads maintenance
  • lost rental income due to void housing properties

We welcome this renewed opportunity not only to learn from other authorities, but to share our own skills and expertise, as we embark on a journey to establish new and innovative ways of working, whilst striving to deliver better services for less money and to improve outcomes for communities and individuals

A full list of the indicators and East Ayrshire Council’s data can be viewed on the Improvement Service website.


Contact Information

Community Planning
Telephone: 01563 576037
Page last updated on25 April 2013
  • benchmarking
  • performance
  • improvement service