GBC’s Liberal Democrat administration makes major improvements in management and transparency of council finances

17 Jun 2024

The Liberal Democrat administration at Guildford Borough Council has made huge strides in improving the financial infrastructure at the council since winning the borough elections in May last year and are delighted to report that the council has reported its unaudited 2023/24 accounts on time for the first time in several years.  These are available on the authority’s website.

After taking control of the finance portfolio in May 2023 for the first time in decades, the Lib Dems were determined to work to deliver a balanced budget, rectify a significant deficit in the Medium Term Financial Plan and tackle previous accounting errors which all risked putting the council at the risk of bankruptcy (known as Section 114).  Since then the Liberal Democrat administration has supported the development of new financial structures and processes and the recruitment of skilled, qualified staff on a permanent basis to remove the chaotic reporting structures which were in place.  The introduction of monthly departmental budget reports has greatly helped in bringing strong financial controls back into place. 

Cllr Richard Lucas, Finance Portfolio Holder for the administration said

“Just over one year after taking control of Guildford Borough Council, the council has a balanced budget, and monthly expenditure reports are now available publicly online to comply with the administration’s drive for greater transparency and scrutiny.  I am very proud of the finance team who have reported the unaudited 2023/24 accounts on time for the first time in years, a challenge many councils struggle with, including reporting a £2 million underspend.  What they have achieved in a few months is little short of a miracle and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them publicly for their diligent work over many long hours.”

Leader of the council, Julia McShane added

“Our administration will always do the right thing, not the easy thing.  The council we lead continues to focus on building strong financial management and is investing in building a permanent finance team with the necessary skills to sustain the progress made on our financial position.   We will continue to support the officer team and work with them to put things right in the appropriate manner and using best practice.  This work is part of the Improvement Plan we authorised following recent investigations into longstanding and deep rooted issues at the council.  Transparency in how the public’s money is spent is a very high priority for us.”

Notes for Editors:

Recently published unaudited 23/24 GBC accounts posted 31/5/24 found here: Budget books - Guildford Borough Council


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