Facing down the pandemic
A line-up of 13 top speakers delivered The MJ’s first virtual Future Forum on lessons learned from the pandemic and the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. Michael Burton and Heather Jameson report on the conclusions.
Whiteman: Audit appointment system not independent enough
The system of appointing auditors needs to be independent and not driven by a politically-led organisation, finance expert Rob Whiteman has argued.
Trust in the public realm really matters
Trust in public institutions cannot be rebuilt if different levels of government are seeking to divert blame on to each other, says Dr Jonathan Carr-West.
Fresh league table fears
The prospect of council performance being ranked in a league table has been raised again this week.
Make councils account for extreme investments
Local government needs a new way to hold councils to account when they are making ‘extreme’ investments, finance expert Rob Whiteman has claimed.
IfG: Extend outsourcing reforms to councils
Government reforms of outsourcing to avoid another Carillion collapse must be extended to local government where commercial skills lag behind Whitehall, a report from the Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank has said.
CIPFA proposals to 'revolutionise financial reporting'
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has floated the idea of scaling council financial reporting requirements depending on factors such as the size of the authority.
Making digital partnerships work
Melvyn Ingleson says that while the expertise of technology companies is genuine, there is an opportunity for councils to re-balance relationships, drive a harder bargain and ensure robust engagement from those you hold accountable for outcomes.
Scottish councils need more power - think-tank
Scottish local government needs a ‘renewal,’ a think tank has urged, with directly elected mayors and complete control over council tax and business rates.
NAO: Government must do more to ensure LEP value for money
The Government has been reprimanded for not doing enough to ensure billions of pounds given to local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) are delivering value for money.
Local authority business provision ‘lacks transparency’ - MSPs
Scottish MSPs have criticised a local authority scheme that aims to help businesses grow for lacking ‘transparency, accountability and alignment’.
Keeping up standards
As councils become increasingly commercial, auditors are asking how high standards of governance and accountability can be maintained in a more risky financial climate. Michael Burton reports on a National Audit Office/The MJ round table debate
FoI should be extended to providers
The Information Commissioner believes contractors providing services to the public sector should be subject to the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. Michael Burton also comes down on the side of us being able to monitor how they spend our money.
More scrutiny in local government?
Benoit Guerin explains why Government should review the case for setting up local Public Accounts Committees (PACs) to scrutinise performance across the breadth of services locally - and the links between them.
EXCLUSIVE: Brokenshire in shared prosperity fund threat
Communities secretary James Brokenshire has threatened to withhold the shared prosperity fund (SPF) from areas that fail to remove local enterprise partnership (LEP) overlaps.
A fork in the road to austerity
Could CIPFA’s plans to create a financial resilience index for councils help rescue local government from further catastrophe? Nathan Elvery explains why he thinks a ‘traffic light’ rating could be heading down the wrong road.
Caught in the traffic lights
As CIPFA members gather in Bournemouth for its annual conference, much attention will be paid to its proposals for a ‘resilience index’. Rob Whiteman explains to Heather Jameson why the system of self-regulation needs to change.
Reshuffle the pack and let’s start again
We are back to square one when it comes to political certainties and at the same time we are seeing a spate of chief executive resignations. Heather Jameson comments.
The truth about accountability, transparency and f iscal health
Heather Jameson says that just because there is local democracy, it doesn’t mean councils don’t have to be transparent and accountable.
Donna Hall: Let’s bring back the Audit Commission
Donna Hall believes Northamptonshire CC’s situation and the changing nature of chief executives’ roles means the sector needs a modern national body to support whole-place transformation.