On 19 December the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) issued a Best Value Notice to Runnymede Borough Council.
The notice outlines concerns around debt relative to size, and reliance on commercial income as a substantial revenue source. Remaining in place for 12 months the notice represents a formal request to engage with DLUHC to provide assurance.
The notice and review acknowledge that Runnymede Borough Council has engaged constructively, already taken action to mitigate risk, and has a strong grasp of its financial landscape. Since CIPFA’s review in July many of their recommendations have already been implemented.
Tom Gracey, Leader of Runnymede Borough Council said:
I am grateful to the officers who have worked with DLUHC to ensure a clear understanding of our strategy and financial planning. It is right that effective scrutiny must be in place around investment and spending decisions to ensure value for money.
I am proud of the track record we have delivered in Runnymede in not only providing investment in our social housing, regeneration across communities, and funding services valued by our residents, but also in our sound risk and financial management.
We look forward to continue working with DLUHC to ensure we can carry on delivering for residents in this way.
Andrew Pritchard, Chief Executive of Runnymede Borough Council said:
The Best Value Notice issued reflects the next step in our ongoing and positive dialogue with DLUHC.
Most of the Council’s borrowing was taken when interest rates were at a historic low, with a fixed rate for their duration. This borrowing enabled us to fund a mix of commercial investment, improvements to our social housing stock, and complete the regeneration of Addlestone and Egham - all of which now benefits residents.
We will engage with DLUHC and continue our positive and productive work together.
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