NAO hits out at late accounts
A rise in late auditing of local government accounts has come under fire from the National Audit Office which it says is affecting the quality of Treasury public sector accounting.
Ministers deny Town's fund cronyism
Ministers have denied allegations that they favoured Conservative areas when they distributed money under the Town's Fund.
Let's think carefully about the best scale for delivering public services
We have seen a lack of sophisticated thinking by Government about the level at which COVID-19 initiatives were delivered, says Abdool Kara - and it looks like this may be a key theme in the NAO's ongoing coronavirus-related work programme.
Let’s not paper over the cracks
Nathan Elvery examines the impact of spending cuts on councils and communities over a decade and highlights that they are dealing with COVID-19 while balanced on a precarious cliff edge.
Cost of Universal Credit set to soar, says watchdog
The cost of running Universal Credit is likely to be more expensive than the systems it replaces, is placing a huge burden on staff administering it and has the highest rate of overpayments for any benefit other than tax credits according to a National Audit Office report.
The care home sector 'entered the pandemic on the back foot'
The suggestion that a 'protective ring' was cast around care homes is difficult to swallow, writes Rob Whiteman. The sector was 'certainly not given the tools to cope with any kind of financial shock ahead of time', he adds.
Making a bigger impact on value for money
COVID-19 may have had an impact on the work programme, but boss of the National Audit Office Gareth Davies says he is ‘determined’ the scrutiny body will have more of an influence on value for money. Dan Peters reports.
Fresh reorganisation offensive leaves districts quaking
The County Councils’ Network (CCN) has launched a fresh offensive to rip up the local government map as the country emerges from the shadow of coronavirus.
Government's national approach criticised by top auditor
A top auditor has heavily criticised the Government’s ‘national approach’ to the coronavirus response.
Health chiefs deny care home 'recklessness'
Health chiefs have rejected allegations that discharging elderly NHS patients into care homes at the height of the pandemic in April was ‘reckless.’
Building on the vital relationship between health and care
The annual ADASS budget survey show the serious impact coronavirus has had, says Cllr James Jamieson. The Local Government Association is 'continuing to call for a long-term, sustainable funding solution beyond the pandemic', he adds.
Managing the smooth expiry of PFI contracts
Rosie Pearson says the end of a PFI contract may seem a long way off, but contract expiry should be considered at an early stage to ensure that it can be a success.
Infrastructure could be left in a worse condition when PFI ends, watchdog warns
Many local authorities have underestimated the time, resources and complexity involved in managing the end of PFI (Private Finance Initiative) contracts, the public spending watchdog has warned today.
It makes good sense to diversify income
Some of the commentary on commerciality implies councils are going into these investments recklessly, and that is simply not the case, says Simone Hines. Continuing to be creative and innovative with council finances is going to be vital, she adds.
Is commercial property one risk too far?
Councils with commercial property portfolios financed by borrowing could face additional challenges in the coming months, says Aileen Murphie – and these will test the quality of their risk mitigation and management.
The COVID review is yet to come
The NAO is being careful not to compromise the emergency response to COVID-19, but there will be a review to come, says Abdool Kara
The property problem
Lucy Woods advises a ‘pragmatic and sensible’ approach to managing the recommendations due to emerge from the public accounts committee inquiry into councils’ investments in commercial property.
Interactive map to be created for council audits
The National Audit Office (NAO) is working on creating an interactive map helping members of the public find out the outcome of their council’s audit.
MHCLG spent £85m preparing for EU Exit
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spent a total of £85m preparing for EU Exit up to the end of January this year, says a new report today from the National Audit Office (NAO).
McManus to speak on coronavirus planning
The vice president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, Jim McManus, is to address chief executive delegates about planning for coronavirus at The MJ Future Forum later this month.