Council approves new independent panel to report on city’s financial performance

Aberdeen City Council today (Wednesday 14 December) approved a proposal to develop an independent panel of experts to comment on the city’s economy and the sustainability of the Council’s finances.

The move was approved in a full Council meeting as part of a discussion of a report on the city’s successful pricing of a £370 million bond issue in November. The issue will help secure investment to deliver Aberdeen’s transformational and infrastructure programme.

Council Leader Jenny Laing said: “This is another important milestone in ensuring we meet our ambition of delivering a stable and fiscally prudent financial strategy that will help us deliver world class facilities in the city.

“An independent fiscal panel will provide a commentary and additional assurance on the performance and outlook for the Aberdeen economy in relation to global economies and financial markets as well as the sustainability of our finances. 

"The panel could also support the annual credit rating process and provide independent commentary on some of the policy effects around securing new fiscal powers to the Council."

Other benefits of the panel could include the independent scrutiny and added value to the overall governance process and decision-making. The panel could provide advice on how public funds are utilised to drive economic growth and the use of strategic reserves.

A model for the independent panel has yet to be decided but could be similar to Jersey’s, which was appointed prior to a bond issue in 2014. The panel in Jersey produces an annual ‘state of the economy’ report and provides an independent assessment to the state’s credit ratings agency six-monthly report.