Wednesday, 29 January 2014

In praise of Cornwall Council finance team

For a council, having high quality officers can make a huge difference. Here is one example from Cornwall.

Back in the summer, we started planning the coming year's budget and the services that we would be able to afford. Our finance team gave us a working estimate for the amount of money we would have and we began planning accordingly. Bear in mind that this amount was around £42 million less than the year before and you begin the realise the scale of the change involved.

We could have waited until the government announced the draft settlement amount in December to take the key decisions. But having an early estimate meant being able to plan in a lot more detail, to consult the public on a scale never seen before and to take measured and considered decisions, not rushed and hasty ones.

So when the government made their announcement, how far out were Cornwall Council's finance team?

Just £12,000.

Considering we have a total budget of £1.2 billion, that means that their error was the equivalent of just 0.001% - a phenomenally close estimate. Many thanks and congratulations to them.

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