CIPFA ‘blown away’ by resilience index response

4 Sep 18

CIPFA’s chief executive has said the organisation is “blown away” by the scale and quality of responses to its financial resilience index proposal. 

The institute will now analyse the responses it has received from the sector and make clear the next steps for the index by early October.

CIPFA chief executive Rob Whiteman said: “We are positively blown away by the scale and quality of the responses we have receive, which shows the importance of the subject and that debate is much needed.

“The many thoughtful and insightful comments will help us create a tool that works for individual local authorities and strengthens the sector.”

Some of the responses CIPFA has received have been critical of the proposals and Whiteman acknowledged this and said accountants “play a unique role at times to provide uncomfortable challenge”.

In August, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace) raised concerns that the index would be too simplistic to give a meaningful assessment of such a complex issue.

In July, the Association of County Chief Executives warned that the index would be a “blunt instrument” that will fail to alleviate financial pressure on councils.

Whiteman added the “welcome and quite widespread feedback” was important for CIPFA “as a body representing professionals who owe a direct duty to the public to act in their interests”. 

CIPFA was “right to prompt much needed debate where we believe it is needed,” he added. 

The consultation, which closed on 24 August, looked at ways that councils’ finances should be measured and presented as part of the new index. 

CIPFA said that over the seven week consultation period it received a wide range of views on the methodology, design and presentation of the index.

As it analyses the responses, CIPFA has said it will continue to engage with sector representatives and finance leaders.

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