Slide background

Auditors identify weaknesses in services at city council

Auditors from Grant Thornton have highlighted a range of significant weaknesses at Birmingham City Council in their annual audit report.

They said these affected financial sustainability, governance arrangements and improving economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

Auditors though praised Birmingham for improved financial management with a three-star rating gained on the five-star system run by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy.

Concerns for financial sustainability centred on “a potential lack of stable leadership due to a significant level of turnover of key staff and officers".

Article continues below...

There were also worries about the potential impact on finances of the 2022 Commonwealth Games - due to be hosted by the city in July - and over the potential impact of equal pay claims.

“Otherwise we are satisfied the council has appropriate arrangements in place to ensure it manages risks to its financial sustainability,” Grant Thornton said.

Its fears over governance concerned the council’s home-to-school transport service, a requirement for improvements in special educational needs services, planned changes to the general ledger and contracts for highways schemes under the private finance initiative.

These same issues also featured in concerns about improving economy, efficiency and effectiveness, though with the addition there of waste service continuity.

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “Our auditor’s annual report is by definition a wide-ranging document, which examines all aspects of council activity.

“It highlights many areas of strong performance and of course also indicates where there are areas for improvement.”

The council said it was notable that no statutory recommendations had been made, although there were some recommendations for improvement.

“It is only right that we endeavour to provide the best standard of service possible, so we acknowledge and accept the findings where other levels of recommendations have been made – and we have a clear plan for strengthening what we do in those areas, with some actions already complete,” the spokesperson said.

Sponsored Editorial

Slide background