|Council commended for sound bookkeeping
Residents’ money for local services is well managed – that’s the official finding following the visit of the district auditor.
The government’s inspection of how Wigan Council deals with its accounts, as well as those for the Fire and Rescue Service and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, has been described as impressive and a credit to the work of town hall officers.
Cllr Joel Haddley chairs the council’s Audit Governance and Improvement Review Committee which monitors the council’s financial management process.
He says: “Councils are often the butt of unsubstantiated criticism of how they manage public money – so to hear a senior government inspector say that Wigan Council delivers a high quality and efficient service is really good news. Our finance team works really hard in what I think everyone would acknowledge as a really challenging environment.
Committee member Councillor Michael McLoughlin adds: “In my opinion the report of the district auditor was as good as it could be; simply, reports don't get any better than his.”
The auditor’s report states that the council has “put in place proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources.”
The committee voted to approve the report at their most recent meeting at Wigan town hall.
Council finance officers had completed their submission ahead of the government deadline with the second lowest cost team of any Metropolitan Authority.
Cllr Haddley adds “The council’s finance team also produces the accounts for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and AGMA at the same time. Only Manchester, who are far bigger, have other responsibilities out of the AGMA family. The quality of our work means that the council's audit costs remain low. If we started making mistakes the costs would go up.”
The Audit Committee were so impressed with the work of the team and the Auditors report that they voted to ask the council’s ruling Cabinet to thank the Finance team for their work.
Over the last decade, government auditors have consistently awarded the council a four star or “excellent” status for how it manages public money.