Bare minimum for council standards

PUBLISHED: 11:59 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

STANDARDS of financial management at St Albans District Council only meet minimum requirements, according to a financial watchdog. An Audit Commission annual inspection, assessing the financial management of 386 local authorities during 2007, gave St Alba

STANDARDS of financial management at St Albans District Council only meet minimum requirements, according to a financial watchdog.

An Audit Commission annual inspection, assessing the financial management of 386 local authorities during 2007, gave St Albans District Council an average score of two out of a possible four. Two is the minimum acceptable standard.

Seventy per cent of the councils assessed were rated either four or three and the remaining 30 per cent of local authorities were given a rating of either two or one.

The district council has received the same score for the last three years.

Harder

Herts County Council was given an average score of three which is rated as consistently above minimum standards. It has also received the same score for three years in succession.

Local authorities were assessed in five areas - financial reporting, financial management, financial standing, internal controls and value for money.

A spokesperson for St Albans council said the tests were harder each year so a council had to improve in order to achieve the same score, which they had done.

She maintained that many new measures had been recently introduced for the council to reach level three but they took time to have an effect so their benefits had not been seen in the assessment.

The areas with room for improvement were the quality of final accounts, anti-fraud measures and improving value for money, she added.

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