Easy to understand plain English accounts produced by South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) have been hailed by auditors as the standard for other council to follow.
The recommendation from external auditors, Ernst and Young, follows SCDC’s accounts being signed off for 2011/12 – which included the new plain and simple summary to show residents exactly where their money is being spent.
The 18 page document breaks down what services SCDC delivers compared to county and parish councils, and shows how many people work in each department within a £27 million budget.
Finance chiefs have said they will be sharing their approach with colleagues across the country to help make local government even more transparent.
They recognise in times of national austerity when budgets are being squeezed, it is more important than ever to manage budgets well, but equally to make sure taxpayers know where every penny is being spent.
Cllr Simon Edwards, SCDC deputy leader and cabinet member for finance said: “Our auditors have recently reaffirmed the opinion we have strong financial management and this document aims to make it easier than ever for armchair auditors to check we are delivering good value and high quality services.
“Council budgets can be very complex because of the way our funding is made up, but we want to make sure we are as transparent as possible so residents can see exactly what we are doing, how we are doing it, and what it is costing taxpayers.”
A copy of the plain English accounts can be found by visiting www.scambs.gov.uk/CouncilTaxAndBenefits/Finance/StatementOfAccounts/default.htm