• Hopes for regen scheme revived after Home Office scales back asylum plan

    20 March 2024

    A £300m council-led regeneration scheme threatened when Whitehall commandeered the site for asylum accommodation could now go ahead after the plan was scaled down.

  • Homelessness inquiry launched by NAO

    13 March 2024

    The National Audit Office (NAO) has launched an inquiry into homelessness as the issue piles pressure on squeezed council budgets.

  • Time for change: An early review for the Code of Audit Practice

    13 February 2024

    Change is needed now to resolve the broader problems in the local audit market, and together with other organisations, the NAO has produced new proposals for a reset, says Mike Newbury.

  • Tackling homelessness

    05 February 2024

    Homelessness is piling pressure on squeezed council budgets. The MJ and the National Audit Office teamed up to bring council chief executives and senior managers together in Manchester to get under the skin of the issue. Paul Marinko reports.

  • NAO issues wake-up call

    17 January 2024

    The National Audit Office (NAO) chief’s warnings to Whitehall over governance are a wake-up call for councils too, the watchdog’s executive director Abdool Kara has said.

  • Radical overhaul required to drag us into the 21st century

    17 January 2024

    From central government and the NHS, to police, prisons and local government: the ‘state of the state’ is dire, says Heather Jameson. 'There are few quick fixes, but propping up the status quo is not an option.'

  • Audit reset to trigger slew of qualified and disclaimed opinions

    10 January 2024

    The auditor general has warned of qualified and disclaimed audits being issued ahead of a reset to take place later this year.

  • Don't hold your breath for immediate funding salvation

    08 January 2024

    Like Liam Byrne’s 2010 note to his successor suggesting there was no money left, an incoming government will have little room for budgetary manoeuvre if it sticks to its declared fiscal rules, says Abdool Kara.

  • Fewer than 100 homes for refugees are occupied

    23 November 2023

    Fewer than 100 homes acquired using a fund to support English councils obtain housing for those fleeing conflicts have been occupied, according to the latest figures.

  • A call for clarity on Oflog

    20 November 2023

    The Office for Local Government has sparked a flurry of passionate views within the sector. Stuart Hoddinott calls for clarity over how it will balance a more interventionist approach alongside a role as a ‘good faith convenor’ of councils.

  • Levelling up ambitions blighted by delays, says NAO

    16 November 2023

    Ministers’ levelling up ambitions have been blighted by delays to key construction projects, with many deadlines unlikely to be met, the UK’s spending watchdog has warned.

  • Too many cuts could drain councils of their services

    15 November 2023

    Heather Jameson says: ‘The question for ministers is not just ‘which councils face financial collapse’? It is also ‘which councils have cut so much that local services will suffer?’

  • Department's financial views questioned

    14 November 2023

    Levelling up civil servants have told council chiefs financial pressures have eased but watchdogs have warned other Whitehall departments may be driving local government’s costs.

  • How about an updated version of Total Place

    23 October 2023

    Abdool Kara says Total Place 'remains to many an idea that has the potential to square the circle of improved outcomes at less cost at a time where there are few other solutions presenting themselves'.

  • NAO calls for Homes for Ukraine clarity

    16 October 2023

    Ministers must prioritise ‘important decisions’ over Homes for Ukraine – including continued funding for councils, spending watchdogs have urged.

  • Watchdog warns councils still in dark on waste reforms

    28 June 2023

    The Government ‘still lacks effective long-term plans to reduce waste,’ according to the National Audit Office's new report.

  • Close to breaking – the dire state of local audit

    27 June 2023

    The effects of the local audit backlog are no longer containable, writes Mike Newbury.

  • Beware the snake oil salesmen of the future

    27 June 2023

    The increase in risky business models in local government has led to the litany of high-profile failures and s114s, says Abdool Kara. If it sounds too good to be true it almost certainly is, he warns.

  • Discharge delays overwhelming hospitals, NAO finds

    22 June 2023

    Delays to patient discharges have played a key role in overwhelming hospitals, according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

  • Asylum issues damaging Home Office relations with councils

    16 June 2023

    The Home Office is ‘failing to work effectively with local authorities’ in clearing its asylum backlog, the National Audit Office (NAO) has concluded.