Northamptonshire County Council has balanced the books for 2017/2018 and end the financial year without using all of its reserves.
In February this year the executive director of finance took the step of issuing a Section 114 report which placed a halt on all but the most essential spending.
Since then a panel chaired by the chief executive has met three times a week with any new spending only going ahead if approved by this panel.
This drastic, but necessary brake on spending has helped to slow down the spend at the county council and the provisional outturn for the year shows an overspend of £12.7 million – a gap which can be met by reserves short term. However these will need replenishing in the very near future.
The end of year finances, known as the outturn, will now be subject to audit by the council’s external auditor, KPMG.
Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for finance said:
“Serious action had to be taken very late in the financial year to ensure that the council could deliver a balanced budget.
“The county council is committed to building on the good work which has already started with a robust approach to financial management and rigorous cost control.
“We will need to replenish our reserves and the challenges of the next few years are very clear, but the county council has shown that it does not shy away from the big decisions, such as the sale and leaseback of One Angel Square in the current financial year.
“This new determination will help deliver for the people of Northamptonshire while we develop plans with our partners for unitary local government in the county in 2020.”