Cheshire East Council’s draft Annual Governance Statement and Statement of Accounts for 2013/14 have just been published, revealing the authority’s best performance since the Council was created in 2009.
Significantly, the council’s headline outturn position shows an under-spend of £0.9m against last year’s approved revenue budget of £260m. In addition, the Council’s Cabinet has recommended the creation of new reserves of £12.4m to Council.
Meanwhile, the governance statement outlines how Cheshire East makes decisions, manages its resources and promotes high standards of conduct and behaviour. This year’s report highlights strong service performance across the board, including:
· Success in attracting new businesses, placing Cheshire East as only one of three hot spots outside London;
· Cheshire East is now the best performing council in the North West, (and one of the best overall), in decreasing the number of young people classed as not being in education, employment or training (NEET);
· Highest ever number of good and outstanding schools - 87.3%;
· Successful adult social care project launched to redesign assessment and care management responsibilities;
· The Council has developed a compelling business case for Crewe as an HS2 hub station with the potential to drive major growth and regeneration benefits for Crewe and the wider region; and
· A roll-out of superfast broadband across the sub-region through the £28.5 million ‘Connecting Cheshire’ project.
Cheshire East’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Peter Raynes, welcomed the reports: “This is the best financial and operational performance in the Council’s history and underlines our clear determination to put residents first in everything that we do.
“These reports highlight that we are in a robust position, both in terms of our financial and operational management, ensuring that we are able to deliver both efficient and effective services,” he said.
“We know there is a strong connection between how we make decisions and how accountable we are and the overall effectiveness of the services we deliver for people on the frontline.”
He added: “This success is the result of a lot of hard work at all levels of the organisation. It reflects our strong focus on governance and accountability, our innovative delivery arrangements and our careful stewardship of public money. The message is clear: Cheshire East is in safe hands.”