The first weekend of Lockdown Two looms and for those in need of something to do the good news is that Tower Hamlets Council has launched its Budget consultation exercise.
The bad news is that Tower Hamlets Council has launched its Budget consultation exercise. And what a sorry mess it is.
Which year is this about?
First off the title is ‘Budget consultation 2020’. So as we are nearing the end of 2020 can we assume it is for next year? Let’s hope so but we can’t be too certain. Maybe ‘Budget consultation for 2021/2022 financial year’ might be more descriptive?
That’s assuming it is the consultation for the 2021/2022 financial year. Maybe it isn’t? Who knows? Will it make any difference? Probably not.
Whatever year it is for you are encouraged to download the ‘Budget booklet’ which, at eight pages with lots of pretty pictures, is more accurately described as a ‘Budget pamphlet’.
But hey, it’s the information inside not the size that matters, right?
Last year Mole’s favourite entry in the Achievements section was the number of visits to the Council website. Seriously. That’s how short LBTH was on stuff to brag about last time round.
This time round the Mayor proudly boasts that there were 1,803,344 visits to the Idea Stores. That’s amazing! OK, it’s not, but the Council have a little credit for something.
Momentous achievements such as Idea Store visits aside the most impressive part of the Budget pamphlet is the detailed breakdown of how money could be spent in the next budget and where savings could be made.
Or the complete lack of a breakdown.
Because, as with the online survey itself, there are no detailed budget figures. Or even figures. Worse there are not even any references to where residents might find such things as, well, numbers. Maybe with pound signs too?
Moley randomly searched for ‘council budget consultations’ on the Great Google in the Sky and found these resources for Brent, Kent and Liverpool City Council.
All of which are better than the inadequate offering Tower Hamlets provides.
We particularly liked the way Liverpool presented lots of relevant information on it’s page. Although this is not strictly about budget consultation it does give you lots and lots of documents with numbers in. Which is good.
Breaking – finance guy great at job!
Word is that Tower Hamlets council has got a very good person in running its finances at the moment which is a relief.
Unfortunately Moley hears that he and other senior officers are more than a little concerned about the borough’s reserves and are on the brink of writing to Mayor Biggs and CEO Tuckley giving them the formal ‘best you sort this out and fast’ letter they are required to write when finances are getting a little thin otherwise the whole of Tower Hamlets might be following Croydon down the road to financial ruin.
This, as with everything else in the borough, is the fault of central government as is the weather, that annoying person next door, the almost certain lack of snow at Christmas, the way the American Presidential election Electoral College works and the looming catastrophe that is the government’s Covid-19 Track and Trace system.