Adele Taylor is interim executive director of finance and Governance at Cherwell and South Northamptonshire
Finance is not the be-all and end-all of tackling some 'wicked' issues
Adele Taylor travelled to Sierra Leone to run her first marathon, and in visiting projects there she discovered how similar the approaches are to those taken by local government in this country.
Let's use conversations to tackle misunderstandings about councils
If we are to change people’s views about what local government achieves with the resources it has, then we must be prepared to engage with others, says Adele Taylor.
Where are the chief finance officers of the future going to come from?
Unless we find a way to turn the tide of the recruitment crisis soon, finding staff at all levels of the finance team, including the chief finance officers of the future, is going to become even harder, says Adele Taylor.
Tax rebates - a never-ending task for finance teams?
Issuing council tax rebates to alleviate soaring energy costs sounds simple enough until you start to unravel what it really means to deliver, says Adele Taylor
Presenting simple and clear messages on our finances is crucial
Describing the impact of actions on our finances in an intelligible and engaging way should be built into our training and development for all of our staff, says Adele Taylor.
There are more questions now than before the Budget
The more challenging aspect of the Budget's announcements is the vacuum of definitive information, according to Adele Taylor.
Understanding the impact of funding care
Finance directors now need a good grounding in adult social care if they are going to understand the implications on the budget, says Adele Taylor
Reflecting on our financial sustainability story
Adele Taylor says that in a year when income, expenditure and support from central Government 'has never been more unpredictable and volatile, we ended up in a better position than we may have imagined'.
Dealing with uncertainty's twists and turns
The role of Section 151 officers 'is ensuring we are laying the groundwork for being able to foresee the traps ahead, analysing, planning and navigating the uncertainty', says Adele Taylor.
Finance teams must stay in the loop
Local government finance teams must be constantly inquisitive about Government policy changes that may impact on them, and the new Environmental Bill is one example, says Adele Taylor.
Now's not the time to be shy
With a Spending Review later this year, local government finance leads should be 'making our case and evidencing what our resources deliver', says Adele Taylor.
Working together in perfect harmony
Teams are a blend of personalities and attributes that work together in harmony, 'so don’t assume you won’t fit if you have slightly different skills and experience', says Adele Taylor.
We can ensure that finance is a true enabler for our organisations
Adele Taylor says 'local government can have a reputation for glacial change (unfairly I think), but over this last year we’ve found ways to walk the tightrope to enable things to happen'.
Striking a balance
There have been press mentions of possible eye-watering levels of potential fraud from COVID support schemes, says Adele Taylor. 'Sometimes good enough has to be balanced with recognising the value of getting that public pound to those most in need', she adds
Things will be moving quicker than ever on budgets
'Our medium-term financial planning is just that, a plan with many moving parts', says Adele Taylor. 'All of us are having to revise, review and renew assumptions that we previously made in a world that looked very different from now', she adds.
Green shoots that may buy a little more time
While they might not be enough to bridge the significant gaps in medium-term financial strategies, it's crucial that we don’t forget to listen and look out for green shoots of ideas that should be considered, writes Adele Taylor.
Judging the financial consequences of change
During the pandemic, a more flexible approach to assessing the financial benefits of a change will be crucial in ensuring we make sound decisions for longer-term sustainability, writes Adele Taylor.
We are going to need the right resources
Adele Taylor is proud of local government's response to coronavirus - but the financial plans will now need a serious review
Hoping for more certainty in the new funding world
In budget-setting and medium-term financial planning you can continue to see local government doing its best to respond, says Adele Taylor - but she hopes more certainty 'will allow us to create an even more sustainable environment for communities'.
Supporting rising stars pays dividends
Adele Taylor says she has been fortunate in her career to be advised and mentored by senior officers who encouraged her to get out and network. She has continued that tradition now that she is able to support the rising stars of the future.