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Contact: Annette Wiles 020 872 6000 x64877 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Papers for this meeting will be published no later than 11 November 2020.
Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
There were none.
Report in the Public Interest PDF 302 KB
Concerning the Council’s financial position and related arrangements in addition to establishing an overarching improvement board.
Madam Mayor informed Council that the meeting was being held in accordance with Section 24 and Schedule 7 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 following the publication of the Report in the Public Interest by Grant Thornton on 23 October 2020.
The report included 20 recommendations, of which nine were high priority. The agenda also included the Council’s Action Plan which sought to respond to those recommendations.
Council were informed that, following the agreement of the two Group Whips, the meeting would run in the following order:
· Presentation from Grant Thornton
· Questions of a factual nature to Grant Thornton
· Statements from the Leader of the Council and Leader of the Opposition
· Question Time with the Leader, Cabinet, and Chairs of the General Purposes and Audit Committee and Scrutiny & Overview Committee
· Debate on the recommendations
· Vote on the recommendations
Presentation from Grant Thornton
Sarah Ironmonger, Director, and Paul Dossett, Partner and Head of Local Government at Grant Thornton, were welcomed to the meeting and provided Council with a presentation. A copy of the presentation can be found online (https://democracy.croydon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=134&MId=2463&Ver=4)
The Head of Local Government set out that a Report in the Public Interest (RIPI) was a statutory duty of auditors under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. Other statutory duties included making statutory recommendations, issuing advisory notices and applying for judicial reviews of decisions. These duties were used sparingly and as such, it was noted that it had been a number of years since Grant Thornton had issued such a report in the public interest, however another had been issued that year. Council were assured that the issuing of such a report was taken seriously and there was a robust process in place to establish that it was the right action; including consulting partners and the firm.
It was noted that the RIPI issued in relation to Croydon Council was more general than other RIPI’s published, which were normally in relation to specific issues or specific failures in governance. The Croydon RIPI had a cross cutting set of recommendations and assessments in respect of the financial sustainability and financial management of the council. It was stated that it was hugely important that the Council responded positively to this report and recommendations raised as it was fundamental to the future sustainability of the Council.
The Grant Thornton Director advised Members that the report was split into three areas; financial matters, other matters and governance.
It was noted that the financial position of the Council had deteriorated over a number years; particularly in respect of overspends in children’s and adults social care and support for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children (UASC). Whilst it was recognised that these overspends had been reported and that there was always context to those overspends, such as reductions in funding, increased levels of demand and responding to the inadequate Ofsted rating, other authorities had also experienced those challenges and had not reached the same financial situation. The council, it was stressed, ... view the full minutes text for item 134/20