Monday, September 27, 2010

Can we believe what the Auditor informs us?

The external Auditor looking at each Councils accounts should give us, the residents, an assurance as to the state of  how our Council is running in financial terms. New Labour expanded this role to take in many bureaucratic and wasteful tasks when what the residents want to know is whether the council is good or not. When I saw the Auditor's Opinion, for the Corporate Governance Panel, I had to take another look and analyse the warning Auditor is giving. In the 2008/09 report there was little, if anything, about the £6.1 million of unspecified cuts to be made back then.

Now the Coalition has announced cuts, which HDC has assessed as an extra £1.5 million of unspecified cuts making a new total of £7.6 million Grant Thornton jumps into action with:
Looking at this statement in its parts:
But uncommon to most of these Councils HDC has an underlying problem of a massive deficit budget. This already required cuts.
The plan the Auditor alludes too is set out in the MTP. This identifies £6.1 million of UNSPECIFIED cuts. HDC still hasn't specified where these cuts were going to fall.
An extra £1.5 million of cuts and this all becomes "imperative". £7.6 million of unspecified cuts is imperative. £6.1 million of unspecified cuts isn't mentioned in the previous year's report. I find this strange and inconsistent. How can HDC have its finances under control when £6.1 million of cuts are unspecified. Surely adding an extra £1.5 million of unspecified cuts only means the Council has to cut more. Having identified the unspecified amount this is all it has to do. As this is all it had to do in previous years! Where is the imperative?

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