Bob Chilton, who is heading the transition for the Government Office for London on secondment, said the GLA would deal with budgets in a different way to traditional local authority finance departments. Accordingly, it will not require complicated accounting arrangements. Chilton said his team was currently designing the finance system. Although it involves large sums of money, it will be more straightforward than existing models. For example, it will not include a housing revenue account or trading account. 'Conventional ideas must be disregarded. London boroughs' budgets are complicated, but if you look at the (GLA) Bill the word budget includes just five numbers - the net total for each of its four functions and the budget of the Greater London Authority,' Chilton said. The transitional team will only be in place until May or June when the mayor and assembly are elected. Then it will be up to those in power to make their own appointments. Chilton said there was a tremendous sense of enthusiasm within the team despite having a limited lifespan. 'It is the chance of creating a flagship authority,' he explained. Accounts will be prepared for the authority in the same format as those of local councils. The GLA will be audited by staff appointed by the Audit Commission. The Bill also states a transitional period may be required for appropriate changes to accounting practices to be made for the new body.
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