The report highlights serious issues with how the council has managed its finances in recent years.
These problems have deep roots, but I am sorry we got things wrong and I want to reassure our residents, staff and partners that my absolute priority as the council’s newly elected leader is to put this right. While a decade of austerity and the Covid-19 crisis has had a major impact on our finances they do not excuse the issues this report has laid bare.
We fully accept the findings and recommendations of this report and will take swift and decisive action to stabilise the council’s finances and governance. My new administration is committed to a new culture which puts transparency, accountability and value for money at its heart.
We have already taken significant steps to bring the council’s budget under control, and more will be required in the coming months. We must all now come together to address the criticisms in the auditor’s report.
There are painful decisions that lie on the road ahead – decisions that we did not want to take, because we know the impact they will have on the most vulnerable people in our communities, who rely on the council and its services. But if we don’t make these decisions now, then we, as a town, will no longer be in control of our own destiny.
The alternative is that the keys are taken away and that we, as local people, are shut out. It’s clear that is not what most local people want, nor is it in their interests.
I will set out proposals in the Croydon Renewal Plan to show how we will transform Croydon Council into an organisation that is financially sustainable and rebuild the outstanding public services Croydon’s residents expect and deserve.