Plans to deal with a “very challenging” financial position will see councillors given more regular updates on spending plans.A shift to ‘live budgeting’ means key decisions about Haringey Council’s finances will be made during the year instead of only once a year.It is hoped the new approach will allow councillors to react more quickly to anything that could stop the local authority from balancing its books.
Councillors will also be given more frequent briefings on finances as part of monthly meetings with officers in charge of different service areas.The measures come in response to a report by a ‘peer review’ team of councillors and officials from the Local Government Association (LGA).
After a visit in February, the team praised the council for its “tremendous ambition” but warned failure to tighten up financial monitoring could lead to a “precarious future for the council and its services”.The LGA report says the council needs to find an extra £20 million of savings over the next five years as it faces a “growing gap between income and expenditure”.
It adds that around £13 million of the savings need to be found by October this year to avoid the council having to continue raiding its reserves to plug the budget gap.Haringey Council faces rising demand for services such as adults’ and children’s social care as it continues to have its funding cut by central Government.
It has launched an “invest to save” scheme in children’s services in a bid to relieve some of the budget pressure in that area.This means the council will recruit more ‘in-house’ foster carers directly rather than using expensive agencies to find placements for children.
It will also help existing foster carers to extend their homes so they can take on more children.The council hopes investing £5.8 million in children’s services over the next three years will lead to savings of £11.5 million.Cabinet members agreed the response to the LGA peer review and an update on the council’s budget and financial strategy at a meeting on Tuesday (July 9).
Thanks to Enfield Independent for the post: https://www.enfieldindependent.co.uk/news/17761199.haringey-council-provide-financial-oversight/