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Bespoke support – Peterborough City Council

Peterborough City Council is a small unitary authority, which, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, was facing significant financial challenges.

The council forecast an overspend of £9.6 million in 2020/21 and was planning to use almost three-quarters of its £34 million of reserves by the end of the year. This would have left the council with just £8.7 million in reserves going into 2021/22, equivalent to just under 5 per cent of its budget for 2020/21.

We provided a significant package of wrap-around support including:

  • providing an independent challenge to the strategic finance team and the people’s directorate to identify further savings
  • supporting the recruitment of a finance and property director
  • facilitating cross-party member peer mentoring
  • supporting councillors to absorb and act on the findings of a recent financial review
  • targeted officer mentoring
  • peer support to senior officers in adults and children’s services
  • a dedicated financial adviser to drive the assurance work for the capitalisation direction allowing the council officers to focus on finding and achieving the savings required as set out in the budget.

Our adviser also mentored senior finance officers and acted as a critical friend.

Considerable achievements were made, including finding £4.8 million of in-year savings, which was aided by the capitalisation direction of £5.6 million.