A summary of the council’s performance against the four main objectives of the East Lothian Council Plan 2017-2022

East Lothian Council’s Annual Performance and ‘State of the Council’ Report for 2021 was approved at today’s full Council meeting (Tuesday 14 December 2021).

The Annual Report provides a summary of the council’s performance against the four main objectives of the East Lothian Council Plan 2017-2022 and highlights some of the council’s key achievements during the year.

The Council Plan included a commitment that an Annual Public Performance Report would be published each year with the first Annual Performance and ‘State of the Council’ report approved by Council in October 2019. There was no report produced in 2020 due to the Council operating under Business Continuity which prioritised business critical activity. With the easing of lockdown in 2021 and the return of some non-business critical activity it has been possible to produce a 2021 report.

The last two years, 2020 and 2021 have been dominated by the Coronavirus/ COVID-19 global pandemic which has had a significant impact on all council services.

The Council Plan committed the council to four objectives to make East Lothian a better place:

  • Growing our Economy
  • Growing our People
  • Growing our Communities
  • Growing the Capacity of the council to deliver

Council Leader Norman Hampshire said: “The Annual Report outlines the progress the council has made towards achieving its objectives and commitments but it is very clear how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected this progress.

“East Lothian Council, following the declaration of the pandemic in March 2020, invoked its Business Continuity Plans which prioritised our front-line services such as protective services, education, waste services, and social services. We also activated our Resilient Communities groups whose collective efforts helped us to protect vulnerable children, older people and those most at risk from the virus.

“As the past year has been so dominated by the pandemic it is difficult to fully assess how the council has performed against its set objectives but the council also monitors how well it delivers its services using a range of performance indicators which helps to set targets and to measure the local authority against similar sized councils.  Of the comparable data that has been available East Lothian Council has either maintained or improved in performance in 68% of these indicators with 32% showing a decline in performance

“Again, the impact of the pandemic has very much influenced some of the reduced performances such as an increase in anti-social behaviour and COVID related calls, particularly during lockdown periods. The council is now focussing on post-pandemic recovery and there are already signs of some improvements. Although unemployment in East Lothian increased from 2.6% in March 2020 as the pandemic started to 5.4% in March 2021, more recent figures show an improvement reducing to around 4% in July and then to 3.5% by October 2021.

“In common with other local authorities, East Lothian Council has continued to deliver services during a sustained period of tight financial challenges. Additional funding received to support pandemic measures has been welcomed but it’s clear that to maintain our services at current levels we face having to make some very difficult choices if financial plans and budgets are to be balanced.”

The 2021 Annual Performance and ‘State of the Council’ report can be viewed online: Agendas, reports and minutes | East Lothian Council

Published: Tuesday, 14th December 2021