An eye-watering sum of almost £127 million was secured by North Ayrshire Council in Covid-related financial support over 2020-21 to 2021-22. 

On March 31, North Ayrshire Council retained £23.767m across a number of reserves to support services and communities recovering from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

The Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) received Covid-related financial support of £35.255m over the same period., Tuesday’s Audit and Scrutiny Committee heard.

On March 31, the HSCP reported a Covid-19 reserve of £13.321m to support ongoing covid related expenditure.

A total of £126.943m was awarded to the local authority over the two-year period.

The Scottish Government worked collaboratively and at pace with local and UK Government to direct significant public spending in difficult circumstances.

Mark Boyd Head of Service (Finance), said in the report: “ It is critical that lessons are learned about what worked well, and what did not to improve the public sector response to any future crises.

“The Scottish Government streamlined governance arrangements to direct funds quickly, but it is hard to see how some financial decisions were reached.

 “The Scottish Government directed a large proportion of funding to councils and other public bodies who had existing systems and local knowledge to enable them to spend quickly. 

"The Scottish Government has managed its overall budget effectively but some Covid‑19 funding remains unspent." 

In response to the specific recommendations contained within the report, it is noted that within North Ayrshire:

* The level of Covid-19 funding and expenditure has been regularly reported to elected members throughout 2020-21 and 2021-22 as part of the periodic financial reports of both North Ayrshire Council and the Health and Social Care Partnership; 

* The economic, service delivery and funding impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic across North Ayrshire were considered as part of the Medium Term Financial Outlook reported to Council in February 2022;

* The levels and applications of Covid related reserves have been reported to elected members throughout the period;

* Additional control mechanisms to mitigate, detect and prevent fraud in relation to grant awards to businesses were put in place, including a pan-Ayrshire data matching exercise.