Public Health England Grant Compliance Audit – lessons learnt
PHE ePoster Library. Wightman L. 09/12/19; 274334; 142
Lucy Wightman
Lucy Wightman
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Abstract IntroductionIn the summer of 2017, Public Health England (PHE) sought to undertake an audit of elements of public health grant spend by Northamptonshire County Council as concerns had been raised on its historic use.At the time there was no Director of Public Health in place and the department (and council as a whole) was under significant financial and operational strain.
A five stage process was agreed by the lead Public Health Consultant and PHE Director, involving an independent panel of reviewers.Furthermore, in order to guide the compliance assessments, grant conditions were applied alongside five jointly agreed principles.
A total of 37 services lines/contracts were audited and 20 were found to be non-compliant, totalling £7,947,965. Northamptonshire County Council therefore agreed to create an equivalent reserve for public health use.Lessons LearnedIt is recognised that ensuring grant compliance in financially organisations/systems can be challengingConsultants/Directors of Public Health in financially challenged Local Authorities are in a difficult positon when agreeing where corporate savings can be found /when agreeing audit outcomesPHE should be seen as a key partner in budget setting as well as in grant compliancePublic health grant can be used to support wider council and system challenges in compliant ways with appropriate assessment of need, service planning and governance in placeInvestment in prevention is often cheaper than the cost of the cure and the case for investment in preventative services must be reinforced in times of financial challenge External funding details
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