LAMBETH COUNCIL FINALLY RESPOND TO PEOPLE’S AUDIT: Report “does raise issues which the council will examine” say Lambeth – after branding it a ‘pack of lies’!
Lambeth council have finally responded to sensational claims made in a Peoples Audit Lambeth report which highlighted accusations of extensive financial mismanagement within the local authority.
The response comes more than a month AFTER the report – which Lambeth immediately branded a “pack of lies” – was published, and four weeks after News From Crystal Palace sent 101 questions to EVERY Lambeth council cabinet member based on the report – and without getting even one acknowledgement.
What has caused this sudden ‘about turn’ by Lambeth remains to be seen.
Lambeth’s statement says: “While the report does raise issues which the council will examine (and in some cases has already done so) we have not seen any evidence to support the allegation of ‘extensive financial mismanagement’.
“The final document contains suggestions, assertions and straightforward errors which, taken together, give a sensational but inaccurate account of Lambeth’s finances.”
Lambeth council’s joint deputy leader Cllr Imogen Walker said: “The council’s accounts have been fully signed off by the independent auditors, who have also responded in detail to the complaints submitted by the ‘People’s Audit’.
“There is clearly no basis for the finding of “extensive financial mismanagement” in this report, and many of its complaints were addressed by the auditors and Lambeth officers several months ago” added Cllr Walker who has responsibility for finance and resources.
“But we know that the content of the report has caused concern, and so it must be looked at carefully, regardless of the questions that have been raised about the motivation behind its publication.
“Lambeth council are a large and complex organisation, with thousands of staff and overall responsibility for hundreds of millions of pounds.
“I recognise that no organisation is above making mistakes, and we will continue to be open about where there need to be improvements, as we have, for example, with housing repairs.
“Our staff and councillors work very hard to make sure our residents are looked after properly, but there will always be areas where we can do better, and we acknowledge that.
“We will take criticism on board and reflect on it, as we have done with the allegations in this report, and what has happened with this process should not discourage anyone from giving honest feedback.
“It is important to remember that this administration has overseen a dramatic improvement in the performance of this council, from one of the worst-performing local authorities to one of the best.
“Resident satisfaction has never been higher, we have protected core services despite huge government cuts, and we have kept council tax as low as possible.
“The council has invested almost £500 million in the last few years to refurbish council properties to a high standard.
“We have improved the contracting process and cracked down on poor repairs. “In terms of our contract management, Lambeth works with around 3,500 suppliers and conduct comprehensive assessments of these, with regular updates on major contracts in line with national guidance.
“In recent years, we have guaranteed that the London Living Wage is paid to staff on 97 per cent of all contracts, and delivered significant social value from major contracts, including over 100 apprenticeships for Lambeth residents from our customer services contract alone.
“We have saved the taxpayer millions of pounds by renegotiating contracts, through consolidating services or renegotiating contracts in back-office areas like insurance, payments, postal services and IT, and saved over £10 million on our customer services contract, with further millions of pounds of savings still to come.
“We have also pushed collections rates to record levels, with council tax collection rising to 95.4 per cent in 2016/17 and business rates collection increasing from 97.6pc in 2011/12 to 99pc in 2016/17…….
“We are determined to work with our communities to make sure that we keep Lambeth a great place for all of us.”
UPDATE FRIDAY: PEOPLE’S AUDIT LAMBETH RESPOND TO COUNCIL CLAIMS
People’s Audit Lambeth have been responding to Lambeth council’s comments.
On the People’s Audit Lambeth Twitter Tom Keene says: “Lambeth your response is incorrect for “Item 8″ The head of home ownership services failed to respond to me.”
While Gerlinde Gniewosz – again on People’s Audit Lambeth Twitter – says: “My formal objections still being investigated by external auditor (confirmed by email today). “Why the lazy lie?”
Further reading – Following stories may all be found on your News From Crystal Palace website: People’s Audit report on Lambeth council has “unearthed evidence of extensive financial mismanagement and failings in its financial governance that suggest millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being wasted. “Lack of governance within Lambeth council appears to be systemic.” – July 07, 2017
LAMBETH SLAMMED OVER PEOPLE’S AUDIT REPORT – July 12, 2017
LAMBETH PEOPLES AUDIT -101 QUESTIONS FOR LAMBETH COUNCIL’S CABINET – Part One – July 13, 2017
LAMBETH PEOPLES AUDIT -101 QUESTIONS FOR LAMBETH COUNCIL’S CABINET – Part Two – July 13, 2017
LAMBETH PEOPLES AUDIT -101 QUESTIONS FOR LAMBETH COUNCIL’S CABINET – Part Three – July 13, 2017
LAMBETH PEOPLES AUDIT -101 QUESTIONS FOR LAMBETH COUNCIL’S CABINET- Part Four – July 13, 2017
PEOPLES AUDIT LAMBETH ON SUNDAY POLITICS SHOW – July 14, 2017
LAMBETHWATCH THREE: PEOPLES AUDIT RESPOND TO EMAIL FROM ONE OF LAMBETH’S DEPUTY COUNCIL LEADERS – August 02, 2017