New commission will review how Newham Council manages its finances

Newham Town Hall. Picture: Andrew Baker/Newham Council

Newham Town Hall. Picture: Andrew Baker/Newham Council - Credit: Andrew Baker

Newham Council has established an Internal Control Commission to review its financial management.

The commission has been charged with assessing how the authority failed to prevent the £8.7million overspend by the repairs and maintenance service (RMS) in 2017/18.

Much of the overspend was linked to alleged financial malpractice, according to a council report.

Established at a cabinet meeting last week, the commission will also evaluate the authority’s current internal control measures and produce an ‘action plan’ to implement changes.

A loss of £52.2m during the London Stadium decision making process was one of the incidents cited when the council described the need for the commission.

The new body was unanimously endorsed by the full council at an extraordinary meeting on the RMS scandal last month.

Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “The Internal Control Commission is the latest step in my promise to make Newham Council more open and transparent than ever before.

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“Their investigation will allow us to put right the mistakes made in financial control within RMS.

“In addition, the action plan produced by the Commission will allow us to become a beacon of best practice with regard to financial control, to ensure that every penny of our resources is spent to benefit the people of Newham.”

An independent chair will lead the commission and up to four more members will be appointed.

The process to appoint members is to begin immediately, with the commission beginning work as soon as this is complete.

While there the council did not say how long filling the posts would take, the commission is required to complete its review within six months.

A report by the commission, the action plan and a response by the chief executive and mayor will go to the cabinet for approval and then to the full council for endorsement.

The commission comes as part of Mayor Fiaz’s effort to deliver on her 2018 election pledge to make Newham Council more transparent.

As part of the effort, experts have been called in from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) to carry out a financial health check.

The council says improvements to the procurement process have been made following the CIPFA’s initial finding that financial planning could be improved.