Northamptonshire to review budget following audit warning

23 Feb 18

Northamptonshire County Council has agreed to revise its budget after auditors warned it may be illegal.

In a full council meeting on yesterday, members agreed to accept the section 114 notice, which was issued on February 2, effectively stopping all non-statutory spending.

The meeting also considered an advisory notice issued by the council’s auditors KPMG earlier this week and councillors recognised the need to adjust their budget.

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesperson said: “Cabinet, councillors and the management team are now working on refreshed budget proposals which will now be discussed at a [cabinet] council meeting on Tuesday, February 27.”

If the refreshed budget is approved at this meeting, it will be discussed and voted on by a further meeting of full council on Wednesday February 28.

“The purpose of these proposals will be to address the auditor’s concerns that there is an over dependence on capital receipts in the current proposals,” the spokesperson.

“The new proposals will therefore look at what other reductions can be made to reduce the requirement to use such capital.”

KPMG’s advisory notice warned that the initial budget did not balance and was therefore in violation of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

In particular, KPMG feared that the budget depended largely on one-off measures such as the successful sale and leaseback of the council’s new headquarters at One Angel Square.

The council only moved into the Angel Square offices in October 2017, in order to bring departments together under one roof and save on day-to-day running costs.

In January 2018, an inspector was sent to Northamptonshire by communities secretary Sajid Javid to investigate financial management and governance at the county and consider whether it was complying with its best value duty.

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