FENLANDER: PricewaterhouseCoopers audit says council is in good position to meet financial challenges

FENLAND District Council is managing all its resources well and is in a good position to meet the significant financial challenges it will face next year and beyond.

That is the verdict of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the council’s external auditors, delivered in its annual audit letter for 2009/10.

The details of the letter were revealed at the council’s Corporate Governance Committee meeting on Tuesday.

The auditors said that overall the council’s use of resources was good in comparison with other authorities that they assessed and that it continued to make good progress in implementing recommendations made the previous year.

They said the way the council managed its finances “remained an area of strength”. They were also satisfied with all the arrangements for producing accurate data on how the business was governed and said the arrangements for managing its natural resources were good.

The letter praised the council’s “high quality working papers” and said officers had been extremely helpful in answering any queries. “This helped to contribute to a very smoothly running audit,” it said.

It concluded: “Given the current economic climate, the council is likely to face significant spending pressures in 2010/11 and beyond.

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“The Council must continue its close scrutiny of all categories of expenditure over the remainder of the current financial year and make certain that all cost-saving initiatives are delivered.”

Meeting these challenges would place considerable extra pressures on the council’s management capacity, it said.

“In these circumstances strong leadership and management skills will be needed to mitigate the financial and operational risks that may emerge. Our work during 2009/10 has highlighted that the council has already begun considering and monitoring such risks.”

Councillor Alan Melton, Leader of Fenland District Council and the finance portfolio holder, said: “I am very pleased to receive this latest Audit Letter. Once again, external inspectors have recognised that the council’s finances are on a firm footing and are managed extremely well.”

Councillor Pam Potts, chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee, said: “We’re delighted that once again our external auditors have found that we are managing our whole operation efficiently and effectively.

“This is an excellent report for us. It shows that we are performing very well - and indeed going from strength to strength.”

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