Video: FENLAND: Internet link brings finance chief into Fenland Hall to deliver £16m budget

PUBLISHED: 16:05 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 02 June 2010

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THERE has been a huge international response to our exclusive story which revealed the chief financial officer at Fenland District Council had presented its £16m budget via an internet link from his home in South Australia.

EXCLUSIVE

By JOHN ELWORTHY

THERE has been a huge international response to our exclusive story which revealed the chief financial officer at Fenland District Council had presented its £16m budget via an internet link from his home in South Australia.

The Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard broke the story earlier in the week and since then newspapers and websites from as far away as Australia have been re-telling the unique story.

The story has once again caused quite a stir, as people debate whether it is right for Fenland Council to still employ their finance director even though he is 10,000 miles away.

Startled councillors arrived for last Thursday's meeting to discover officials had arranged for their finance chief mat Taylor to introduce the coming year's £16m budget from the living room of his home in Adelaide.

A giant screen enabled councillors to see Mr Taylor who had stayed up late (it was 1.30am local time when the meeting got underway) to deliver the budget and answer questions.

Under a unique arrangement - which made international news when it was revealed exclusively by this paper - Mr Taylor remains part time finance chief, even though he's emigrated with his wife and family to the other side of the world.

Mr Taylor, with a colourful backdrop of draped curtains, was in robust form, declaring Fenland Council's finances to be in great shape and resilient to the raging economic downturn.

Accepting Britain faced "the worst economic situation for decades" he declared that Fenland Council was in surprisingly good health.

"We are in a stronger position than most around us," he told councillors.

His budget report, which showed council reserves at their highest level ever, reflected difficulties over predicting investment income in coming months but promised no redundancies and a commitment to be ready to bounce back as conditions eased.

Mr Taylor pledged the "sustainability of efficiency savings although this is more difficult as time goes on. However we are confident for the next couple of years".


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