Curtain up at Reading borough’s council meeting and the cast, chorus and audience stood for the entry of the mayor. As the mace-bearer struggled to balance his apparently weighty (4.5kg) ceremonial insignia, stagehands scurried hither and thither to find the right props to support it before the performance could start. This council meeting was a dress rehearsal for the opening of Reading Borough Council’s (RBC’s) 2017/18 season and ‘the best we can do in the circumstances’ had not started well.
Reading Borough Council (RBC) was one of 16 local authorities where auditors were unable to give an opinion on accounts by the statutory deadline of 30 September 2016. This information is given in a report issued by Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA), the body responsible for appointing auditors to local authorities (LAs) and other public bodies.
Last week, Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) interim finance director Rachel Musson warned of the inadequacy of the council’s reserves and the need to take urgent action to reduce spending in 2018/19 and 2019/20. If steps were not taken by the deadline set, she would be required to issue an ‘s114’ report; a serious process which prevents all but RBC’s finance director from authorising new council commitments. A ‘written recommendation’ from the auditors to the council has been published this week.
Thames Water are repairing a water main outside Evans Cycles and the Premier Inn at the foot of Southampton Street.