All councils are held accountable, whether it’s by the public at the ballot box or by scrutiny of how they spend public money.

Last week the Accounts Commission published its report card on the council’s performance.

It was a very positive report which recognises Renfrewshire’s continuous improvement in how we deliver services to the public. We welcome its recommendations and have already implemented many of these, putting in place the structures to ensure transparency and improve how we work across the political parties.

All local authorities face significant challenges ahead and it is important we work together with fellow councillors, with partners, businesses and communities to shape and secure the important public services so many of us rely on now and for the future.

The report praised the clear vision and ambition we share with our partners across a wide range of areas, revitalising the Renfrewshire economy, addressing the issues which cause inequality, improvements in health by promoting behaviours we know can make a difference, having a clear focus on working with children and families.

We are working hard to close the poverty-related attainment gap, supporting children and their families through a range of innovative projects including a cost of the school day fund and breakfast clubs.

Our schools are already benefitting from attainment funding and projects like the literary programme which has provided more than 800 teachers with the additional skills to encourage a love of reading from an early age.

Our employability programmes support 1,200 people each year and achieved the biggest jobs growth in Scotland for young people four years in a row.

We continue to invest in affordable housing, delivering 200 new affordable homes each year.

Regeneration projects are taking place across Renfrewshire, like the category A-listed Russell Institute in Paisley, the former health centre officially re-opening as a skills and employ ability hub following a £5 million investment.

This is a fantastic time for Renfrewshire, with Paisley’s shortlisting for UK City of Culture 2021, the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal and the ongoing regeneration of Renfrewshire providing a great opportunity to develop the area as an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest in.

Made in Renfrewshire

I regularly go out visiting businesses and community projects. This week, along with local councillor Natalie Don, we visited the Bridge of Weir Leather works. A company that employs almost 900 people and has a very long history in Renfrewshire.

It was a fascinating insight into how their high quality products carry the ‘Made in Renfrewshire’ brand around the world. Their energy from waste plant reduces their footprint and impact on the environment. These visits provide a valuable insight into how businesses operate and it’s important to hear first-hand how we can work together to ensure Renfrewshire continues to be a great place to live and work.

Team Up to Clean Up

I’m sure you would all agree that one important part of making the place attractive is ensuring the Renfrewshire streets are clean. Our Rapid Response Teams are working across the area to remove unsightly rubbish and there is a major focus on street sweeping and gully cleaning thanks to our additional £250,000 investment.

As part of this, we have launched a Team Up to Clean Up initiative to support community members keen to carry out clean ups. We want to promote collective pride in Renfrewshire’s appearance so look out for the campaign as it develops and get involved.