Audit letter highlights council progress

By on 19/12/2011 in News

Value for money is being achieved by Birmingham City Council according to the authority's annual audit letter, due for discussion by councillors tomorrow (December 20).

The letter, which covers the 2010/11 financial year, also concludes that the council manages its finances well and continues to drive service improvement despite receiving less money from the Government as part of the national deficit reduction plan.

Other notable conclusions contained within the letter, written by District Auditor Mark Stocks, include:

-    Arrangements in place for key regeneration projects such as the Library of Birmingham, Longbridge and Eastside are rated as “sound and efficient”
-    The council achieved an underspend of £16million on its 2010/11 budget despite needing to make almost £75million of savings
-    “Significant progress” has already been made against the council's 2011/12 savings plan of £213million
-    The council's business and financial planning complies with good practice
-    A 73 per cent citizen satisfaction rate for the delivery of services

Cllr Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I am encouraged by the findings contained within this year's annual audit letter - it is an important, independent document which accurately summarises the council's progress over the last year.

“It is particularly encouraging to hear that our focus on fiscal discipline is achieving positive results. As the guardian of the public purse it is vital that we spend every penny we receive - especially in tough times - as effectively as possible.

“We are fully committed to ensuring we continue to improve all aspects of our performance, and the audit letter is part of our roadmap which will help us to ensure this happens.”

Mr Stocks expressed concern over the impact of equal pay claims upon the council on its wider delivery of value for money.

The audit letter also notes the council, like all local authorities, faced a significant challenge in producing its year-end financial statement as this was the first year for which new “International Financial Reporting Standards” applied, adding strengthened arrangements will be needed in future.

In total, a series of 14 recommendations to ensure continued improvement have been made in the letter by District Auditor Mark Stocks, and the council is already working towards the goals set.


For more information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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