Council sets record with financial clean bill of health

Gemma Adam

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has been given a clean bill of health for an ‘unprecedented’ sixth year in a row in its annual audit.

News of the positive audit was welcomed by members of the Cabinet on Thursday, with Councillor Paul Barrington-King, portfolio holder for finance and governance, claiming the council was leading its UK peers for sound finances.

He said: “I do believe this is unprecedented in the UK that for the sixth year in succession we have been given a clean bill of health.

“And for the finance team who have undertaken with rigor the handling of this council’s finances I offer my heartfelt thanks.”

Lee Colyer, director of finance and corporate services said the audit, which was for the 2014/15 financial year, confirmed the council was offering good value for money to taxpayers.

He added: “This is all extremely reassuring to local tax payers in that, despite the very challenging financial environment, the council continues to provide good financial governance and effective forward planning.

“The audit found no errors, no adjustments to be made and no areas for improvement were identified.”

In addition, Mr Colyer said the audit fee of £68,306 was around half of what it had been ‘in recent years.’

But he stressed the council would not slip into a false sense of security on the back of its long-running success.

He said: “We are not complacent, we do often review the annual letters of other organisations to be assured we are aware of the areas which are causing them difficulties so we can be alert to them ourselves.”

Dia Chakravarty, political director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This is certainly heartening news.

“Residents will hope that the council continues with this trend so that taxpayers get the services they pay for and deserve. Other local authorities could look to this council for lessons on transparency and savings.”

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