Improving financial, commercial and budgetary capability within the House of Commons
The House receives public funding but is subject to a different set of rules for the approval of their expenditure than for all other parts of the Public Sector who must go through HM Treasury. The House employs finance staff to support their various teams (e.g. Facilities Management, Committees, Estates, IT, HR) and undertake typical public sector budgeting, forecasting and investment appraisal processes. The House is under ever increasing scrutiny and therefore decided to implement a broad financial training programme for their Managers and their Finance teams, to try to achieve best practice in their financial, commercial and budgetary processes.
Prederi worked with the Chief Accountant to determine a variety of training needs to transform the attitude to finance across the organisation, and improve some of the ways finance processes are undertaken.
We designed and rolled out a Finance for Managers course which focuses on getting Managers (not finance staff) to be accountable for their budgets and to have an improved understanding of their responsibilities in relation to ‘Regularity, Propriety, Accountability and Managing Public Money’. It also focuses their minds on what drives their costs and how to plan the cost of their activities, whilst improving their understanding of the process for managing their costs in year, given performance and time constraints.
Prederi has also designed a more detailed forecasting course including the effective use of the Management Information template for Finance staff which is being rolled out from Summer 2017. We are also working with finance staff to design an output planning course which includes the areas of zero based budgeting and an understanding of costs drivers. This will be piloted in June 2017.
Further training in the areas of investment appraisal and producing business cases based on the 5 case model, plus using statements of assurance effectively are planned for the future.
We have successfully delivered the Finance for Managers programme to 14 different cohorts. Changed attitudes to Finance and an improved understanding of accountability is spreading through the organisation. There is also a far greater understanding of how some basic finance processes should be undertaken which will lead to more accurate forecasting of full year costs and a better ability to predict the extent and nature of over/underspent budgets.
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