Martin Ford 07 February 2019

Northamptonshire budget process a ‘rollercoaster’

The chief executive of Northamptonshire CC said the council’s budget was prepared with the speed of a rollercoaster.

Drafted in just six months ago to turn the council around following the issuing of its second Section 114 notice, Theresa Grant told The MJ of the scale of the challenge she faced.

‘It hasn’t been easy picking up someone else’s budget. It was not what I would consider to be robust,’ she said.

‘We were not clear on the scale of the challenge – it only became clear as we did work on the budget.’

The council didn’t even have a figure for the size of any in-year deficit that might have to be taken forward into 2019/20.

Ms Grant said: ‘Normally, you would be working from April the previous year – that’s what I did in my previous authority. It’s tricky when you don’t know what the impact of this year was, as was the case.’

However, the deficit for 2018/19 has been brought down to £1.4m, and Ms Grant expects it to be eliminated by April.

Northamptonshire CC chief executive Theresa Grant spoke to The MJ (£) about how one goes about tackling the most challenging budget in local government.

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