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Spending restrictions save Northants £400,000

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Spending restrictions imposed on Northamptonshire CC after it issued a section 114 notice have saved about £400,000.

The estimate is included in a report due to go before the council’s audit committee on Thursday.

It is now almost eight weeks since Northamptonshire became the first council in almost two decades to issue a section 114 notice. 

Since then a chief executive approval panel (CEAP) made up of the chief executive, directors, monitoring officer, deputy section 151 officer, and internal audit, have formed a group that meets three times a week “to review and make decisions in respect of planned purchase requisitions, new staffing commitments and other requests to incur allowable expenditure”. Planned purchases of more than £1,000 are subject to a mini business cases.

The report, by executive director of finance Mark McLaughlin, said: “Quantifying savings delivered through the council’s expenditure controls is not straight forward, as although all purchase order requests that are rejected through the CEAP are logged and can be quantified, the culture change anticipated is that council employees are/will be reducing the amount of requests to spend resources.

“With that being said the latest estimate of cost savings is £0.4m, mainly through the place directorate, with savings through reduced payroll costs being recorded through specific payroll monitoring.”

Mr McLaughlin said the financial impact of the spending controls will be reported in the next finance report to cabinet in April.

LGC reported last week how interim chief executive Damon Lawrenson has left the council. He has been replaced by director of commercial, place and health Andrew Quincey while the council awaits housing and communities secretary Sajid Javid’s response to inspector Max Caller’s report.

Meanwhile, acting leader Matthew Golby (Con) has unveiled his new cabinet with lead member for finance Robin Brown being replaced by Michael Clarke, among the notable changes. Cllr Golby’s deputy leader is Cecile Irving-Swift.

Cllr Golby, who was elected as Conservative group leader on Saturday, is expected to be voted as council leader at an extraordinary full council meeting on 12 April.

Northamptonshire’s new look cabinet:

  • Deputy leader and cabinet member for public health – Cecile Irving-Swift
  • Cabinet member for finance – Michael Clarke
  • Cabinet member for children, families and education – Victoria Perry
  • Cabinet member for adult social care – Elizabeth Bowen
  • Cabinet member for performance, transformation and local government reform – Andrew Mercer
  • Cabinet member for transport, highways, environment and public protection – Ian Morris

Cllr Golby said: “As we await the decision from the secretary of state following the publication of the best value inspection report, I felt it was important to appoint a new cabinet team as we move into a new period of transformation at Northamptonshire CC.

“This is a team which combines some experienced cabinet members with some new talent from within the Conservative group and I look forward to them all starting work in their new areas with immediate effect.”

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