Finance audit says Daventry District Council provides value for money but surplus leads campaigner to suggest a decrease in council tax

Daventry District Council
Daventry District Council

Daventry District Council is providing taxpayers with value for money, according to its latest finance audit by government-appointed expert.

In the annual inspection of the local authority’s accounts for 2016/17, external auditors KPMG issued an "unqualified audit opinion" - meaning the accounts are fairly and appropriately presented and comply with accounting principals - concluding the council had "in all significant respects…proper arrangements to ensure it took properly informed decisions and deployed resources to achieve planned and sustainable outcomes for taxpayers and local people".

The report also noted DDC’s "strong record of meeting efficiency savings against a worsening national picture" and that the local authority had been planning ahead its finances by "modelling for significant reductions in government funding in its budget forecasts".

Councillor John Shephard, resources portfolio holder at Daventry District Council, said: “We are pleased that the auditors have concluded that the council is achieving value for money for residents.

“Like all other local authorities we are continuing to face financial pressures and uncertainties but we are planning ahead and pursuing a strategy that aims to reduce our reliance on the grant funding we receive from the Government.”

Councillor Wendy Randall (Drayton, Lab) said: "If you ask the majority of people in Daventry they will say how much money the council waste. It's not good value for money."

The audit, which cost £59,606 to undertake, found that for the 2016/17 financial year DDC had money left over from its general fund.

It reported a surplus on the provision of services of £5.8m, which is lower than in 2015/16 when the total stood at £6.3m.

The council's general fund balance increased by £0.4m to £20.7m in 2016/17.

Chloe Westley, campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "At a time when most councils are not running a surplus it is encouraging to see that Daventry District Council has bucked this trend.

"That said, Daventry taxpayers were subject to an increase in council tax this year in a period where the cost of living is high. Perhaps the council could pass on this surplus to residents by reversing the increase to their tax."

The auditors’ findings were presented to the council’s Corporate Governance Committee on September 28 and can be viewed on Item 4 of the meeting agenda.