I'm really keen to make sure that our financial processes are transparent going forward, and in some cases that means fixing what we had before.
I'm pleased to say that I'm pushing an open door on tha. The finance team led by Lydia and Brian are already making big improvements in process. Last weekend officers started to load a lot of information that should have been added, but hadn't, to the Council website https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/council-payments-procurements
The team got live the Procurement Card expenditure data for the year to Feb 2023 over the weekend, have since added March 2023 data too, and as of this afternoon have now added the back data back to October 2014 for the Procurement Cards. That's a lot of weeding through old accounts and spreadsheets. To Jamie, Michelle, Tracie, Brian and Zoe: thank you, and I salute you.
Also, congratulations to the eagle eyed resident that noted that in February 2023 the Council's Governance Law & Reg Services depertment apparently spent £2,265 on "Clearing Blocked Drains". Obviously: they hadn't. That data has been fixed: the description should have been (and is now) "Election Expenses Recoverable". The codes are 2917 and 2914 respectively in the system they come from for those that care about that sort of thing!
Wednesday we had our first "normal" full Council meeting following the AGM. I had the pleasure of moving the motion to move our Council to a Committee system. I fully hoped we would win that vote this time, and we did. However, I didn't expect to get support from all parties, which we got when the majority of the Conservative Group voted against their leader and backed the motion. Kudos to them for listening to the debate, and responding accordingly.
We'll get to work defining a dynamic, streamlined, inclusive committee system, with a limited number of committees and retain a scrutiny structure. There are a million variants: let's get the right one for us. We don't have to have the old, slow variants used in Councils in the 1990's - and won't!