News and Views‎ > ‎

More about Surrey councillor allowances, Surrey CC Annual Report 2013-14, Correspondence with Eric Pickles, Waverley Borough Annual Report, dialogue with C&AG (NAO), GDP and associated matters

posted 17 Sept 2014, 06:43 by Peter Webb

Surrey councillor allowances – quotes have been provided and letters published in the Surrey Advertiser - see What the Press Says.

 Two critical messages were sent to all councillors. This prompted non-conservatives to disassociate themselves from the allowances decision which supports the claim of Party people preferment.

 On 2nd September this went to David Hodge, Majority Leader: “ …….. when in front of the Select Committee in Westminster on the subject of councillor allowances you said that ultimately you will be judged in the ballot box. That requires facts to inform voters. Many such facts  have long been required to be disclosed in financial statements. That disclosure conventionally rides in the Annual Report vehicle directly or through the gateway it provides. Now that you have produced such a commendably presented Annual Report 2013-14 it makes no sense if it is not delivered to its entitled addressees. Disclosure doesn’t really happen until seen.”  Which leads naturally to………

 Surrey CC Annual Report 2013-14 – Questions and comments occurring were addressed to my county councillor. They covered:

·        It’s exemplary character.

·        It’s continuing need to be individually addressed and delivered.

·        Council insolvency and the pension deficit

·        Service information not previously known about, but access not clear.

·        Use of ‘other income’ to relieve taxpayers

·        Surplus cash now employed in assets rather than deposited with Icelandic Banks.

 Correspondence with Rt Hon Eric Pickles – this is attached. The first was obtained by my MP Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt some 14 months after the original request for principle support.

 Waverley Borough Annual Report – there has been no sign of this which is in effect saying to resident  taxpayers ‘stuff you, we are the governors and ruling  political party  even if you have the voting rights as owners as well as clients. If you want to know our justification for continuing to run the borough we are not telling. What you might need to know is filed away somewhere for you to find if you know where to look.’

 Dialogue with Comptroller & Auditor General (National Audit Office) – The masthead vision statement helping the nation spend wisely had been questioned as reported here as too limited and impertinent to private individuals. It is no longer there leaving a short About Us statement. This draws the distinction between the audit of departmental spending without questioning policy, and Parliamentary select committee review. But it still has no authority to audit  the efficacy of the overall management feedback and control system itself, as distinct from component transactions, and the whole financial dynamic in decision-making and looking forward. The Public Accounts Committee also seems not yet to have fully grown into that posture. To repeat from the previous STAG update:

     It is truly astonishing  that ‘proper accounts’ are still only four years old and the C&AG should in the 21st century have to “call on the government to help fully realize the potential benefits of WGA in the running of government and use them to inform policy making and assist in medium term financial management.” The same applies to the CIPFA hope that “the treasury will start to  lead the way in this by using WGA in the presentation of fiscal events such as the budget and the autumn statement, including by reporting outturn against budget for the whole public sector, and publishing forward balance sheet forecasts.”

 GDP and associated matters – In the last STAG update ended with “the final example of bonkers government: It is rumoured that to ‘massage’ the GDP/ debt ratio as a management tool the former is to be adjusted upwards to include illegal drug turnover and that from the sex industry.”  That was prescient.

 Thinking about that and  overall government style and practice provides yet more clear evidence of damage done and continuing because of the technical divergance towards economics and away from accountancy. The former is theoretical and statistics based and the latter factual and operationally orientated. This will shortly be amplified in a blog and posted on The STAG says.

Peter Webb,
17 Sept 2014, 06:43
Peter Webb,
17 Sept 2014, 06:43