Appeal to audit committee chair to demand missing reports

CROYDON IN CRISIS: ‘Is this acceptable?’ Labour leader lists the 9 pieces of detailed financial reporting that were absent from this week’s cabinet papers. EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

Early alarm: Labour’s Stuart King

The Labour group at Croydon Town Hall has lodged a formal complaint about the reduced level of financial accountability and transparency since Tory Jason Perry took on the job as the borough’s Mayor.

Labour leader Stuart King has written to Dr Olu Olasode, the accountancy consultant who was last year appointed as the independent chair of Croydon Council’s GPAC – the General Purposes and Audit Committee.

Referring to this week’s council cabinet meeting, where part-time Perry failed to bring forward any of the monthly budget reports that have been presented at Town Hall public meetings for the past 18 months, King wrote, “I am concerned that this weakening of financial reporting is a step back, not forward, and will be detrimental to the council’s ability to continue to make improvements in the way it takes, reports and monitors financial decisions.”

It was King who, as the then deputy leader of the Labour group following Croydon’s financial collapse in November 2020, carried much of the responsibility for re-balancing the finances of the cash-strapped council.

Early warning: Dr Olu Olasode has been asked to look into the financial reporting at this week’s cabinet

The installing of Olasode as an independent chair of GPAC was another part of the response to the council’s financial difficulties, intended to provide better, and politically impartial, scrutiny of the way in which the authority’s business is being handled. His appointment was welcomed and endorsed at the time by Perry and Croydon’s Tories.

Olasode was approved by Whitehall for the role, given his four decades of accountancy experience with health, social care, housing and community organisations, including the Care Quality Commission and the Audit Commission.

In the letter to Olasode, which has been seen by Inside Croydon, Councillor King wrote, “Since the start of the 2021-2022 financial year, the cabinet has received monthly reports on the General Fund, Housing Revenue Account and Capital Programme, providing what has been acknowledged as a “step change improvement in relation to the council’s finances”.

“The publication of detailed forecasts on a monthly basis was widely welcomed, including by the government’s improvement panel.

“I am concerned that the paper received at [Wednesday’s] cabinet provided significantly less information on Period 1 than has previously been the case.”

Helpfully, King then provided the GPAC chair with a list of nine pieces of detailed financial information which Perry, the £81,000 per year part-time Mayor, and his cabinet member for finance, Jason Cummings, have withheld from public view. Each of these pieces of information had been included in every previous monthly report to the council cabinet since early 2021.

But missing from Mayor Perry’s cabinet papers were…

  • A detailed table with the General Fund forecast for each Directorate, including variances against budget;
  • A detailed table of medium-term financial strategy savings that are at risk, by Directorate;
  • A detailed table setting out quantifiable and unquantifiable risks, by Directorate;
  • A detailed table of quantifiable and unquantifiable opportunities, by Directorate;
  • A detailed Housing Revenue Account position including significant variances in the forecast;
  • A detailed HRA Capital Programme report detailing variances against budget;
  • A detailed General Fund Capital programme report detailing variances against budget;
  • A detailed Service budget forecast;
  • A detailed Capital programme forecast.

King wrote, “In the case of the HRA, all that was provided was a 17-word update.

Budget-buster: Mayor Jason Perry

“In the case of the capital programme, no update of any type was provided.”

Sources at Katharine Street say that the new Mayor is trying to hide the seriousness of the council’s financial plight, suggesting that there has already been a £20million council overspend in the two months since part-time Perry took charge of the Town Hall –  turning a £2million underspend into £18million-worth of unbudgeted spending.

Just 65 days into Perry’s Mayoralty, King has effectively called for the independent chair of GPAC to step in over the Tory administration’s financial management.

“Could I ask you to consider whether… this is acceptable?” King has asked Olasode.

“I hope you will agree with me that the council needs to return to providing financial information to the same degree of detail and level of frequency as was established in 2021-2022.”

Read more: Tory Mayor wants to keep finances under wraps for 9 months
Read more: Part-time Mayor Perry is only ‘listening’ four hours a day
Read more: Officials to investigate possible wrong-doing at council

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Dr Ola Olasode, General Purposes and Audit Committee, Improvement Board, Jason Cummings, Mayor Jason Perry, Section 114 notice, Stuart King and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Appeal to audit committee chair to demand missing reports

  1. moyagordon says:

    Hilarious. Labour councillors having a go at someone for poor financial reporting. If only they’d been more on it when they were in control.

    • Moya, last time the Conservatives were in charge of Croydon, they ran up a billion quid debt, built an office block that effectively cost more than The Shard and their boss tried to give himself a pay rise. And you only have to look at the various financial scandals that Boris and his mates inflicted on us to realise that you can’t trust the Tories (any more than you can trust Labour). It’s our money these dirty rotten scoundrels are playing with

  2. peterhoward1 says:

    I thought we got rid of one lot of Cavalier cowboys with Newman and Hall, only apparently to be followed by another lot wearing Blue, I’m sorry to say as a Conservative voter!!!!!!

  3. Martin Rosen says:

    I’m really confused 🫤

    The ‘missing’ reports would have been created by Council civil servants. Did they PRODUCE those reports (as normal and as they had been doing for several recent months) and did they present those to the Mayor?

    The accusation being made here is either that the Mayor has NOT received the reports, or else that he HAS received the reports and has not presented them to Council. Which is it?

  4. derekthrower says:

    It is always wise to have a brass neck in politics, but here a pair of brass testicles have been acquired too. Lets spin it another way, after the magnificent balls up they made of council finances they probably have a huge knowledge of all the mistakes they made in power and so some inkling of the mistakes regarding financial information during the black hole of Newman/Negrini era. Doubt Perry has much clue about what is going and on his days off is delegating more to the financial professionals who are trying to hide the dire straits Croydon are in.

  5. Croydon Labour hid £193 million of council losses. Credit where credit’s due – they are best placed to advise on items missing in the new council’s report to a committee about the council’s finances.

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