Islington cuts costs through finance system

A London council says a new financial management ICT system has saved it 40% and given it better control over its budgets.

London Borough of Islington implemented the Collaborative Planning system from supplier Advanced Business Solutions in 2010.

The system devolves greater responsibility for budgeting to individual department heads, resulting in a saving of £3m, according to the council.

Alan Layton, director of financial management at Islington Council, said: “The budgeting and forecasting solution has eliminated various labour intensive processes. It has also been instrumental in keeping tight financial control of our budgets.”

Islington is the eighth most deprived borough in England and a large part of the council’s finances are spent on children and adult social care services.

Government funding restrictions have required it to reduce controllable spend by 35 per cent since 2010. 

But manual spreadsheet processes had restricted its ability to interpret its financial data effectively.

Layton said: “Previously it was almost impossible to gather accurate forecasting information within a reasonable timescale, plus there was a high risk of error due to our protracted consolidation process involving numerous complicated spreadsheets.

“We can now quickly produce reliable monthly forecasting information, with minimal effort, and better understand our data.”

The system has allows budget holders to submit, approve and compare budgets with forecasts to monitor performance against target.

Data is automatically extracted and displayed across related plans, budgets and forecasts so that remedial action can be prepared for in advance, the council said.

Colin Marrs

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