‘We can’t just keep cutting’ - Hartlepool councillors vow to push for more funding from Government

Councillors vowed to continue to lobby government for more funding after taking the next steps towards a new risk management strategy.

Saturday, 8th June 2019, 8:59 am

Council officers put forward plans to Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee to adopt a new risk management framework, highlighting government budget cuts as a contributing factor.

They said the new strategy was about ‘good services at good value for money’ and comes after the sector was identified as one to improve by the council.

The internal audit review of risk management in June 2018 was assessed as ‘limited assurance’, one ranking below the top ‘satisfactory’ rating.

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The new proposed framework states the council needs to take risks to move forward, especially given government budget cuts, but they must be managed appropriately.

Coun Marjorie James said it was important the new strategy was supported by the council continuing to lobby government for funds.

She said: “You can’t just keep cutting neighbourhood services budget to prop up other budgets, we have to lobby government, we need more money.

“It’s not just Hartlepool that’s in that position, all authorities are in that position. We carry all the responsibilities huge metropolitan boroughs do.”

Coun Ged Hall said: “I think everybody in the room knows that councils are under pressure with finances at the moment.

“I think the residents of Hartlepool and the staff on the council are very aware of the financial services. We’ve had massive, horrendous cuts, it’s really an opportune time to look at risk management.”

Council officers added the new strategy is an example of the importance of the committee in holding the council to account.

Claire McLaren, assistant director for corporate services, said the existing risk management work was picked up as needing streamlining and simplifying.

She said: “This committee was integral and pivotal in trying to achieve change around risk management framework.

“It’s really a demonstration of the ability of this committee to make change happen.

“The importance of effective risk management within the council is paramount it, helps us to achieve our aims within efficiency and also within the law.

“It’s about delivering good services at good value for money in a safe environment.”

Officers also said they would feedback to committee any issues arising from the new risk management regulations with quarterly updates.

The new framework was approved by the councillors and will now go to the finance and policy committee for final approval.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service