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The council has today confirmed that it will be beginning talks with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

This follows positive discussions about the council’s approach with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) over the last 12 months.

The basis of discussions with CIPFA will be on the council’s capital strategy and the level of risk to the council in future. Discussions will also focus on the council’s level of borrowing and its existing, detailed governance procedures and effective performance monitoring.

The council’s capital strategy explains how it determines what its capital investment decisions and priorities are, and how they contribute to the council’s ability to run services effectively.

The council’s borrowing relates to investments in property and infrastructure to support economic growth, as well as supporting the council’s efforts to combat the climate emergency.

Deputy Leader Cllr Cathy Mitchell, who is also cabinet member for finance, said: “For the past year, alongside other councils, we have had cordial discussions with government officials about our capital strategy and level of borrowing.

“As part of discussions so far, we have shared detailed financial information and data about our approach. All of our investments are always supported by rigorous risk assessments and prudent business cases, with strong and detailed governance.

“Our investments support our net zero ambitions and our wider vision to make Warrington a great place to work, live and visit.

“During the last few years, for example, we have invested in Time Square, affordable housing, highways, Warrington Youth Zone and the refurbishment of Walton Hall, with Warrington also set to soon welcome the arrival of the all-electric ‘ZEBRA’ bus fleet.

“We borrow to be able to invest in projects that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do due to government cuts. Many of our investments also directly generate income that we can use to fund vital services. It’s absolutely vital that we do everything we can to protect those services, which some of our most vulnerable people rely on.

“We therefore look forward to working with CIPFA and continuing discussions with government and showing how our approach is working for Warrington.”