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Council 'gives good value for money'

Fenland District Council provides good value for money and has a "robust plan" in place for managing its finances over the next four years.

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That is the positive verdict delivered by the council's independent external auditors, Ernst & Young LLP.

It is contained in their Annual Audit Letter for 2015/16, which was presented to the council's Corporate Governance Committee on Tuesday (December 6).

They said: "We concluded that you have put in place proper arrangements to secure value for money in your use of resources."

Those "proper arrangements" are the measures the council has in place to take informed decisions, deploy resources in a sustainable manner and work with partners and other third parties.

The auditors highlighted the savings and extra revenue income projects that had been identified in the council's comprehensive spending review (CSR) this year.

They said: "With a number of these projects being implemented in 2016/17 and 2017/8 we have been able to conclude that the Council has a robust plan to address their medium term financial strategy. This is added to by the good track record on financial standing at the Council. This puts the Council in a good position going forward."

It was Ernst & Young's first year as external auditors and Neil Harris, its executive director, praised the council's staff and thanked them for their assistance.

"The quality of the financial statements and the working papers provided for audit was of a very high standard," he said. "Officers were prompt and helpful in resolving our audit queries, which resulted in a smooth transition."

Councillor Mark Buckton, chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee, said: "We couldn't have had a better report. It shows that we have all the right measures in place to ensure that we continue to make the best possible use of public money.

"Committee members would like to echo the report in thanking everyone in our finance team for all their hard work."

Councillor Chris Seaton, the Cabinet member responsible for finance, said: "The continuing squeeze on our resources makes it even more important that we use them in the most efficient and effective way possible. This independent report confirms that we are doing that."

Article added December 8, 2016