Magazine article Public Finance

Fiscal Flaws

Magazine article Public Finance

Fiscal Flaws

Article excerpt

Tory MP Derek Conway isn't the only public figure facing scrutiny over the management of their finances. Finance directors will have been waiting nervously this week to hear the Audit Commissions verdict on their stewardship of council coffers.

And the news was pretty good. In fact, according to the Local Government Association, it was a 'ringing endorsement' of authorities' efforts to get a better deal for the taxpayer.

The annual 'use of resources' analysis showed that more than nine out of ten councils were meeting the minimum requirements, while the number of top-performing authorities had almost doubled in a year.

Commission chief executive Steve Bundred declared himself pleased that more councils were performing at the highest level for each of the use of resources themes - financial reporting, financial management, financial standing, internal control and value for money.

However, he did admit to one area of concern. Thirteen per cent of councils were below basic requirements in the financial reporting theme, compared with only 6% a year earlier.

This is clearly a worrying trend and might be a result of the many changes that council FDs have had to accommodate over the past few years. …

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