One of the last pieces of business agreed by elected members before council went into recess for the summer was the sign-off of the 2013-14 financial year accounts by our Audit and Risk Committee.
It’s always a good feeling to finally close the annual accounts, particularly for an organisation as large as ours and with such complex financial reporting. Great credit and many thanks are due to all our finance colleagues for their hard work in achieving this.
What is remarkable about our financial reporting is the story it tells about Aberdeen City Council.
Whilst many councils across the UK are seeking annual budget cuts that run into the tens of million pounds, Aberdeen City Council is in a strong financial place and I’m delighted to be able to say that, for the third year running, no further cuts have been required to balance the budget.
This outcome was projected twelve months ago and throughout the last year we did not stray from these projections. These final figures also include maintaining £5.5 million in our risk fund to ensure we build additional layers of resilience around our spending. This impressive position is testament to the commitment of many colleagues across the council, as well as across our arms length organisations, for their focus on delivering results for those we serve while ensuring value for money is achieved in everything we do.
However like all other local authorities we will continue to face financial pressures. These challenges are the result of the on-going austerity measures introduced to ease pressure on and encourage growth in the UK economy. It’s vital is that we continue our work to mitigate the impact of these pressures in the 2016-17 financial year. Where we may differ from other councils is in the comprehensive control and monitoring of our financial spend and our careful preparation and planning to future-proof the council as much as possible.
It is the responsibility of all of us to maintain this strong control of our finances and it is only by continuing to apply robust controls that we will continue to meet these challenges successfully. Our recent track record suggests to me that we can face these challenges with justified confidence.