Magazine article Public Finance

Roots Calls for Special Inspection Regime for 'Unique' Council

Magazine article Public Finance

Roots Calls for Special Inspection Regime for 'Unique' Council

Article excerpt

An 'almost unique' council with serious money problems should ask the Audit Commission to devise a less onerous inspection regime for it, according to a local government finance expert.

in February, West Somerset District Council asked former Westminster City Council chief executive Bill Roots to review its finances after incurring heavy borrowings and running out of capital receipts.

The Audit Commission rated the council 'weak' in 2008 and an improvement board was installed to oversee progress.

Roots said West Somerset could not develop the capacity to meet normal inspection demands. This was because the council was 'almost unique'. It served only 35,000 people in a large geographical area, had just 100 staff, suffered from a low tax base and did badly under the grant system.

He questioned whether the council had the means to improve on its low scores for use of resources and organisational assessment, 'as expected by Inspection regimes'. …

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