The best we can do in the circumstances

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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.

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A national comparison of Reading Borough Council’s audit performance

Pacioli, who published a book a double-entry bookkeeping

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.

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Auditors now have their two pennyworth on Council finances

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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.

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Is east Reading’s MP voting for his constituency?

Cemetery Junction

The MP for Reading East, Rob Wilson, voted in parliament in February to give the prime minister power to trigger ‘article 50’ that begins the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. There was the briefest of Twitter storms at about the same time whether the Reading East constituency had voted to leave or to remain in the EU, and whether Rob Wilson was representing his constituents.

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The year on Katesgrove Hill

Some years are defined by great songs, some by great personalities, some by great tragedies. This year has been alarming both nationally and internationally, but on the oft-ignored local level, the year was defined by the sound of the tide going out on civic society. The world clearly has bigger problems than the damage wrought by the tortured thrashing of Reading Borough Council as it gets strangled by central government, but one can only be dismayed at the prospect of more of the same next year, exacerbated by the council’s difficulty in controlling its finances.

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