Will Forster

Former Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Surrey County Council calls in financial troubleshooters, again!

by willforster on 27 July, 2018

During my meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee yesterday at County Hall, it emerged that Surrey County Council has commissioned a second report from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) to review its financial resilience.  This follows a report commissioned in December 2016, costing nearly £25,000, which warned that the financial position of the County Council was “extremely worrying” and that “it is risk of becoming financially unsustainable”.

I think it is really concerning that Surrey County Council is, for the second time, having to rely on an external body to provide it with financial reassurance.  It also emphasises that the lessons and warnings from the first CIPFA report have not been learnt or heeded, and that the Council’s financial position is still poor.

Moreover, the timing of the second CIPFA report has overlapped with the annual auditing of the County Council’s financial statements by Grant Thornton.  As there was an assumption that their work would overlap with this second CIPFA review, Grant Thornton did not complete a review of the Council’s financial position and so cannot give a “Value for Money” conclusion as part of their audit.

With the County Council looking at saving £250 million over the next two years, local people will be concerned that County Hall’s finances are still so fragile – Surrey could sadly be the next Northamptonshire and be the next local authority to go effectively bankrupt.

   1 Comment

One Response

  1. Sheila Dorkings says:

    Having worked at Surrey County Council, it doesn’t surprise me that they are still in financial trouble. I worked all the way through the last program of cuts and redundancies just before I retired. I was astounded by the size of some of the redundancy packages given to high up managers, the rate of pay for our CEO at that time. Most of those getting these huge send offs did almost nothing most of the time anyway. It was a really frustrating time. It’s time someone took a really serious look at staff and only employ people who actually do a job that is worth paying for! I also argued that the stationery contract we had with a large supplier was a complete rip off. Every order I had to place was half price with an online well known supplier who supplied exactly the same quality items. When I questioned why we wasted money this, I was told SCC POLICY!!! Local authority needs to be answerable to the people who fund them, us, the taxpayers!!!!

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