Members of Dudley Council to consider auditor recommendations

Members of Dudley Council will be asked to consider recommendations made by external auditors when they meet later this month.

A report outlining statutory recommendations by Grant Thornton, the external auditor, will go to full council on Monday February 26.

The recommendations follow a report issued by the auditors at the end of last year (December 2023), which said the council’s finances needed attention, like other local authorities across the country.

In October last year (2023), the council had already announced a range of precautionary measures amid growing pressures on spending. It included introducing a recruitment freeze, stopping any new contracts, terminating agency and interim contracts and more.

This work is being led by an independent Improvement and Assurance Board, which is made up of members from the main political parties in Dudley along with senior officers and supported by the Local Government Association. The board was established following a peer review by the Local Government Association last year.

While the auditors acknowledge the progress being made to improve the council’s financial position, they have now made a number of statutory recommendations under section 24 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

These include introducing contingency fund, which can be used to ‘manage any in-year pressures and fund the cost of change’. Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

"I am confident that the work we are doing goes a long way towards meeting the statutory requirements of the auditors.

"We have worked hard to identify further savings of £4.2m next year from spending controls and use of grants, as well as reviewing our capital programme and cost of borrowing.

"We are taking a firmer grip on our own finances and working hard to set a sustainable budget whilst protecting essential services."

Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of the opposition, added: "The recommendations made by the external auditors will be considered at full council later this month by all members who collectively want the best for this council and the residents it serves."


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