LONDON: Secretary of State Sajid Javid has ordered a review into “allegations of failures in financial management and governance” at Northamptonshire County Council. On his first full day as the newly re-titled Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, he commissioned an independent inspection to better understand whether the authority is complying with its legal requirements over value for money. Mr Javid said: “My decision to appoint an inspector is not taken lightly. I hope itsends a strong signal that robust processes are in place to investigate allegations of failures in financial management and governance in local government.”
Service users are not expected to experience any disruption during the investigation. Council leader Heather Smith said: “We welcome the announcement that the Government will be conducting a best value inspection in Northamptonshire. We have been very clear with senior Government ministers and civil servants about the issues facing the county and the growing financial pressures we are facing”. In a written ministerial statement issued on Tuesday, MrJavid said publicly available budget documents were among those under the spotlight. He said: “For some time there have been concerns about financial management and governance at Northamptonshire County Council, and in recent months a number of reports have been published, which have led me to question whether the authority is failing to comply with its best value duty.
I have asked the inspector to report findings to me by 16 March 2018, or such later date as the inspector agrees with me.” Mr Javid said he could not provide further detail while investigations were ongoing.