At the sharp end of Scottish scrutiny
The chair of Scotland’s public spending watchdog for councils steps down this month. Graham Sharp talks to Ann McGauran about his legacy and says the challenges have never been greater.
A review to learn lessons not lay blame
Swift and focused reviews of local decision-making in response to the pandemic should be democratically-led by the overview and scrutiny function, says Sir Bob Kerslake.
Moving to warp speed on transformation in Walsall
Walsall MBC’s chief executive and leader talk to Heather Jameson about how the borough’s transformation programme is ‘moving on faster than ever’ due to the pandemic.
Don't kick more fiscal devo for London into the long grass, says Assembly chair
The post COVID world shows that further fiscal devolution for the capital is vital and ‘mustn’t be kicked in the long grass’, according to chair of the London Assembly Navin Shah.
The London Assembly: 20 years of a unique scrutiny model
Twenty years old, and in the depths of a pandemic, the London Assembly is now facing exceptional circumstances. Chair Navin Shah considers what the future holds.
Concerns raised over scrutiny vacuum
A charity has expressed worries about councils that are in danger of effectively having no scrutiny function for six months.
Manchester at risk of failing to fulfil statutory duties
Manchester City Council’s leader has expressed fears that the council will be unable to fulfil its statutory duties.
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.
Councils call for clarity on local lockdowns
Councils this week called for clarity on the legal powers they will have if they are forced to implement local coronavirus lockdowns.
Council leadership needs to have oversight of the entire AI system
Council leaders need to provide ‘proper accountability’ for AI technology and staff cannot take a ‘computer says no’ approach, according to the chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
Acting now on standards will enable public sector to reap the benefits of AI
Local authorities using AI will need to establish suitable governance mechanisms, and to be able to publicly demonstrate that the benefits outweigh the risks, says Jonathan Evans.
Lancashire first to borrow using municipal bonds agency
Local government’s dormant vehicle for lending councils cash was boosted today after announcing details of its first municipal bond with Lancashire CC.
Time for a ‘grown-up’ chat about audit
Serious questions have been raised about the level of failure to complete council audits just one year into the new procurement regime, says Chris Buss. What is going wrong?
‘It’s a near perfect storm’
Tony Crawley of Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) addresses the key issues raised in Chris Buss’s critique and agrees; there are no easy solutions and a need for collaboration from all parties.
Kirklees favours bringing thousands of council properties back in-house
Kirklees MBC is favouring the option of returning thousands of council homes to the management of the local authority.
Scrutiny is still the 'poor relation' in councils
A survey has revealed scrutiny remains a poor relation to the executive function in local government.
What is the future for audit?
Paul Dossett puts the case for a new type of oversight body for local audit that would take a strategic approach to addressing the sector’s sustainability challenges.
Council to change finance approach after review
Warrington BC has ‘consistently overspent’ against parts of its budget and needs to change its approach to deliver services ‘from a more sustainable financial footing’.
As communities secretary James Brokenshire launched a review of the local government audit regime, he spoke to Heather Jameson about his plans to drive governance and performance
Bringing new members up to speed on funding
England’s new cadre of councillors need to navigate a perfect storm of financial challenges. How can finance directors help them cope successfully with the complexities they face? Ann McGauran reports