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Newham Council publish CIPFA report revealing weaknesses in financial control

27 November 2018 in Finance
Newham Council have this week (Monday 26 November) published the report commissioned into the authority’s finances, where public finance experts CIPFA have revealed weaknesses in financial control.​​
​The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) undertook a  review of Newham Council’s finances, as part of the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz’s pledge to clean up the council’s budget.

In the report, CIPFA detailed concerns about weak financial controls, particularly a lack of control in Capital expenditure. They also pointed to the lack of transparency in financial matters between members and officers, expressed alarm at the absence of corporate plans and felt that the construction of budgets lacked oversight by the council’s corporate leadership in the past.

The findings of the report have enabled CIPFA to produce a five-stage action plan for Newham Council to follow. The recommendations issued by CIPFA will now inform future budget planning.

At a meeting of Full Council, the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “My election pledge was to clean up the council’s budget so that it is open and transparent.

“I want to be assured that we have a sound financial footing, and my intended detailed and costed plan to deliver my manifesto commitments for our residents takes into account the resources we have available.

“The review sets out clearly how the council needs to improve its financial management and control. It also highlights the need to address weaknesses in our governance and financial control, look at how we manage our assets, and review our Capital programme. 

“This report will be taken to the Council Audit Board for consideration as well as to Scrutiny. I have asked officers to come back to Cabinet with a report on how the recommendations will be implemented.”

As part of the recommendations to the council, CIPFA have advised that consideration is given to an increase in Council Tax and to implement the Adult Social Care precept as part of the 2019/2020 budget. The report also recommends that the council puts in place an improved financial strategy and planning framework in future.

The review took into account all areas of the councils spend.

CIPFA have also given advice on how Newham Council can incorporate best practice from other public sector bodies. 

Mayor Fiaz added: “Without sound financial management and control we will not be able to take forward our bold agenda, and this is why the report I commissioned earlier this year was so critical.

“I am committed to being truly transparent and this is just one part of my pledge to open the Council up to proper scrutiny in a way that hasn’t been done for many years.”
Download the CIPFA report​​ (PDF)