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Cheshire East VFM Audit

Cheshire East criticised regarding value for money

 

 

The Audit Commission qualified its report on Cheshire East Council on the basis of obtaining value for money. The independent Audit Commission said that Cheshire East Council lacked strategic direction and political leadership.

 

The Auditor also criticised the council for concentrating on saving money rather than obtaining value for money. Rather than looking for cuts and savings I would like to see the Council looking at how to deliver its core services as efficiently as possible.

 

 

The Cheshire East Council response to the recommendations made was debated at the full council meeting on 13 December 2012. The Labour group is concerned that an opportunity is being missed in not responding in a more positive way to the criticisms made. The general tenor of the Council's response appears complacent. What we should be striving for is to identify the budget pressures as part of the budget setting process, so that we have a budget that is achievable and is achieved. We should not be seeing repeated high levels of projected overspend year on year.

 

 

Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said,

“For the last few years Cheshire East Council has set unrealistic budgets, then faced a large Budget overspend during the year. That is a failure of the Budget setting process and should be addressed.

 

The 3 Year Plan is rightly mentioned several times. A good 3 Year Plan and Budget will help solve many of the problems. However, we have had 3 Year Plans before. Why will this one be any different?

The plan presented at a recent Cabinet meeting suggested that there was a funding gap of £24m for next year.

I would like to see a balanced 3 Year Plan setting out the Council’s objectives and how it is going to achieve those objectives.

 

The recent Audit Commission letter does NOT say (as was claimed at the Cabinet meeting) that the council has addressed the problems. What it says is that the changes (and I quote) “should, if successfully implemented, place the Council in a stronger position to achieve its vision”.

 

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