View of Liverpool Town Hall of a day from Castle Street

Spending watchdog praises Liverpool

The Government’s spending watchdog has given a clean bill of health to the way in which Liverpool City Council uses its money.

In his Annual Audit Letter for 2011/12, District Auditor Michael Thomas has concluded that the local authority has “made proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness” in the use of its resources.

The council’s approach to financial risk is described as “robust”, and the Medium Term Financial Plan – which looks at current and future spending – is “effective”.

There is also praise for:

  • “Strong leadership” in considering budget options and prioritising resources
  • The strengthening of corporate management arrangements, including procurement and risk management
  • The Partnership Framework for Liverpool Direct Limited (the council’s ICT joint venture with BT) – which is described as “working well” with a “good working relationship” between the client and the contractor

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Finance, Councillor Paul Brant, said: “It is pleasing to note that we have been given a clean bill of health by the District Auditor.

“Over the last two years we have had £141 million of cuts imposed on us by central Government. It has been a particularly challenging time as we get 80 percent of our funding from Whitehall, with only a relatively small proportion of our income generated through council tax.

“It is reassuring to be told by the Audit Commission that we are making spending decisions in a way which delivers value for money and is aligned to our priorities. However no community or household is likely to remain unaffected in the following years. There are further tough decisions ahead, but we have pledged to make the cuts as fairly as fairly as we possibly can and shield services for the most vulnerable from the worst of the spending reductions.”

The letter also states that arrangements for monitoring key service contracts are “generally satisfactory”, but that there is scope for greater consistency. It notes that the Mayoral Select Committee plans to review Performance Management Arrangements for key service partnerships over the coming months.

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