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