David Austin, the Director of Finance and deputy section 151 officer gives an introduction to the finance team within Lewisham council.
Hello and welcome to the London Borough of Lewisham.
Thank you for showing an interest in the finance opportunities we have as we reshape our service following the turbulence of recent times.
I’m David Austin, the Director of Finance and deputy section 151 officer. I report to Kathy Freeman, our Executive Director for Corporate Resources.
Lewisham Council represents and supports one of the fastest growing and diverse communities in the country. As one of the 32 London Boroughs we share the challenges facing the Capital - for example the supply of sufficient housing, good transport links, providing economic opportunities for all, and tackling homelessness. However, we are also our own Place. As an inner London Borough we have fantastic green spaces, a thriving micro business and creative business base, and - most importantly - very strong partner and community working relationships built on shared trust and respect over many years.
The Mayor in his annual general meeting in May set out the four themes for the Future of Lewisham. These build on our achievements to date and set the direction for the Borough to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. They are:
Living a greener future
Sharing a healthy and well future
Building a more economically secure future
Creating a future we all have a part in.
We share the values of - and commitment to - fairness, generosity, and openness. If you want a feel for the passion and community connections in the Borough you will enjoy and be inspired by the video our Mayoresses filmed for the AGM, available on our website. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmx0unbKSh4
Turning to the role of finance. We too are focusing our attention on the future and how to reshape our contribution as ‘one Council’ to best support our local residents, businesses and communities. We will do this by having a clear understanding of the opportunities to unlock, risks to be managed, and value delivered.
We are seeking to work differently. Ensuring finance is an integral part of effective service delivery with a strong culture of financial management, ownership and accountability throughout the organisation. As we work differently, with more flexible working, the finance culture must be inclusive, open, and collaborative with a workforce where everyone is valued, respected, and able to lead. As a senior member of the finance team this is the future you will be helping to instil.
In terms of the work to do – we have a lot going on. The Council has an annual general fund budget of £240m with over 3,000 staff and 5,000 teachers on the payroll. We run a number of insourced services - including our waste services - and contract for over £300m a year. We have a Housing Revenue Account with over 17,000 tenants and a strong family of schools with over 60 of the 90 in the Borough local authority schools. We are delivering an ambitious place making programme – Building for Lewisham – for over 1,000 homes by 2022 and a master plan for the regeneration of Catford town centre.
In return there will be the satisfaction of a job well done, a contribution truly valued, opportunities to develop new skills, and career progression for you and the team.
We very much hope your interest converts to an application and look forward to hearing from you.