Audit, Inspection and Safety

11.01.18

Northamptonshire council finances to be investigated by DCLG

Communities and housing secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed he will be appointing an inspector to carry out an investigation into Northamptonshire CC because of fears it is not meeting its “best value duty.”

The council has been shrouded in controversy recently after one of its affiliated authorities, Daventry District Council, suggested the government should intervene in the county to ensure it can deliver savings and avoid insolvency.

In a statement this week, Javid announced that he had asked former Hackney LBC CEO Max Caller to carry out an inspection of Northamptonshire’s compliance with its best value duty.

The secretary said he had become concerned after reports from the LGA and private auditor KPMG suggested the council may be “failing to comply” with its responsibilities.

Javid went on to say: “This decision is not taken lightly. I hope it sends a strong signal that robust processes are in place to investigate allegations of failures in financial management and governance in local government.”

In particular, he said the initial investigations would revolve around Northamptonshire’s corporate governance and financial management systems, with findings expected to be reported by 16 March this year unless other circumstances are agreed.

Leader of the council, Cllr Heather Smith, said she welcomed the announcement of review.

“We have been very clear with senior government ministers and civil servants about the issues facing the county and the growing financial pressures we are facing,” she said. “This announcement means they will be coming to the county to assess the situation for themselves and be able to see how we have continued to deliver public services in an ever-challenging financial context.

“We have been fully open and transparent with the government about our situation and have been direct in our request for assistance.

“We have also been clear that our proposed funding settlement from them includes no recognition of the pressures we face with the escalating cost of, and demand for, adult social care and children’s services respectively.”

Javid added, that if the council is in breach of its duty then the government will exercise its powers to intervene in the county.

Top image: yevtony

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Dee   13/01/2018 at 10:56

So Sajid Javid is going to send in the heavy mob to look at "Best Value". This investigation may rather find that Northamptonshire is not going to be able to set a balanced budget and meet its statutory responsibilities with or without "Best Value". If you don't have enough money you don't have enough money and since it is not possible to raise sufficient funding to cover the shortfall locally, then all that this expensive exercise will prove is that Central Government is simply not interested in local services and providing sufficient funding for democratically elected councils to provide them. RIP Localism.

H   13/01/2018 at 22:15

Northamptonshire County Council has been headed this way for a long time. Former staff will bear this out. Mismanagement on a vast scale, and now coupled with budget cuts which are not sustainable. And where is the ability to retain business rates? These were the hook upon which the cuts were hung. Government needs to look at itself as much as LAs.

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

 County council director and CCG CEO to lead STP in joint-role

22/05/2019 County council director and CCG CEO to lead STP in joint-role

Hertfordshire and West Essex STP has announced a job-share partnership between the local county council and CCG to lead the STP. Iain MacBea... more >
Even ‘draconian cuts won’t be enough’ as councils face £50bn funding blackhole

22/05/2019Even ‘draconian cuts won’t be enough’ as councils face £50bn funding blackhole

Councils in England face a funding black hole of over £50bn across the next six years, according to a new report warning that local authori... more >
Government backs Northamptonshire unitary authorities with one-year delay

15/05/2019Government backs Northamptonshire unitary authorities with one-year delay

The government has formally approved the formation of two new unitary councils in Northamptonshire in 2021, a year later than first planned, also... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Government backs Northamptonshire unitary authorities with one-year delay

15/05/2019Government backs Northamptonshire unitary authorities with one-year delay

The government has formally approved the formation of two new unitary councils in Northamptonshire in 2021, a year later than first planned, also confirming the abolishment of the county council ... more >
Government agrees to £30m a year South Yorkshire devolution deal

09/05/2019Government agrees to £30m a year South Yorkshire devolution deal

The government has given the go-ahead for the South Yorkshire devolution deal following a “breakthrough” in March in the stalled £30m a year deal for the Sheffield City Region. ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Empower your reader, choose print

07/05/2019Empower your reader, choose print

We are on a digital rollercoaster, swirling and twirling through a variety of different online advertising platforms – have we forgotten about traditional marketing platforms such as print? The UK is currently the global leader in advertising, generating £6 for every £1 spent on advertising to the economy. This year, UK ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Cities as places of opportunity

29/04/2019Cities as places of opportunity

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, asks: if cities are places of opportunity for the low skilled, why are so many struggling? ... more >
Shaping healthy places with district councils

29/04/2019Shaping healthy places with district councils

District councils are achieving excellent outcomes by shifting health solutions from clinical settings to community ones. They have a significant... more >
The road more taken: delivering future connectivity and mobility

29/04/2019The road more taken: delivering future connectivity and mobility

Localis chief executive Jonathan Werran outlines the challenges to delivering future connectivity and mobility, and asks what policy shifts to ho... more >
The state of the Spring Statement

29/04/2019The state of the Spring Statement

Ben Zaranko, research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), analyses this year’s Spring Statement and looks ahead to the Spe... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News