Draft Statement of Accounts 2019/20 (subject to audit)
The report is to inform the Committee on the production of the Annual Accounts and their External Audit and deal with issues arising from this work.
(1) To note the Council’s Draft Statement of Accounts for 2019/20 in Appendix A.
(2) To note the failure to submit the draft Statement of Accounts by the statutory deadline of the 31 August 2020.
(3) To approve the Slippage on the Capital Programme as shown at Appendix B.
Members considered a report of David Donlan, Head of Accountancy, on the Draft Statement of Accounts 2019/20, which were subject to external audit. Mr Donlan was present at the meeting and highlighted key information within the report.
The Committee was invited to approve the submission of the un-audited accounts for 2019/20. A copy had been placed on the Council’s website with effect from 19th November 2020.
The substantive report included details on the following:-
- Narrative Report;
- Annual Governance Statement;
- Independent Auditor’s report (see below);
- Statement of Responsibilities;
- Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement;
- Movement in Reserves Statement;
- Balance Sheet;
- Cash Flow Statement;
- Notes; and
- Collection Fund and Notes.
Grant Thornton, the Council’s external auditors, were yet to undertake their audit of the accounts, as at the time of writing the report.
The initial deadline for production of the draft accounts had been 31st May 2020, but it had subsequently been moved back to 31st August 2020, as a result of pressures on Local Government in producing the accounts due to the potential impact of Covid-19. The deadline for the audit of those accounts had also been moved back, to the 30th November 2020.
The report asked the Committee to note the late completion of the draft accounts, beyond the deadline, and the Council’s failure to comply with its statutory duty to submit the un-audited accounts for 2019/20 by the date above. There were a number of reasons for this including the unforeseen impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s working arrangements, the initial teething problems encountered with remote working, and issues relating to staff resources such as difficulties in filling crucial vacant posts.
The formal audit findings would be reported at a future Audit Committee meeting.
The period for the public inspection of the accounts began on the 23rd November 2020 and was due to end prior to the completion of the audit.
Once confirmation had been received from Grant Thornton that the audit was complete, a ‘Notice of Conclusion of Audit’ would be published. It would explain that the audit of the Council’s accounts had finished and state where the accounts and auditor’s report could be inspected.
The Audit Committee had responsibility under the Council’s management arrangements for approving the roll forward of Slippage on the Capital Programme from one year to the next. Cabinet had previously received the report included as Appendix B on the Capital Programme for 2019/20 and had asked Audit Committee to consider approving the list as shown.
Councillor Michael Miller enquired about any developments in relation to the temporary re-designation of a post as Executive Director Environment, which had taken place around one year ago. Mr Donlan advised that the Statement of Accounts for 2019/20 would record the financial implications of that change of role. Julian Joinson, Member Services Manager reported that it was understood that the staffing arrangements had been made permanent at a recent meeting of the Council’s Management Review Committee. Further details would be provided to Members in writing outside of the meeting.
The Chair enquired about the amount of Unusable Reserves (£6.6M) identified on page 165 of the Agenda. Mr Donlan commented that the largest single item was the Pensions Reserve. None of the unusable reserves would impact on the level of Council Tax required because they were accounting entries that did not affect taxation.
Councillor Tim O’Kane noted that the cost for Accumulated Absences Account in Unusable Reserves (£129k) had increased from the previous year’s figure of (£99k). Mr Donlan reported that the figures had to take account of unused leave at year end, when staff carried forward leave. The amount carried forward in 2019/20 might have increased due to staff being unable to take leave at the height of the pandemic. However, staff had been encouraged to take leave in so far as this was possible. The Chair noted that a similar situation might arise at the end of March 2021.
Councillor Chris Knight acknowledged the hard work of the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and the wider Finance Team for their work during the pandemic, particularly to support residents and businesses through the financial effects of Covid-19.
Resolved (1) That the Committee notes the Council’s Draft Statement of Accounts for 2019/20 in Appendix A.
(2) That the Committee notes the failure to submit the draft Statement of Accounts by the statutory deadline of 31st August 2020 and the reasons why.
(3) That the Committee approves the Slippage on the Capital Programme as shown at Appendix B.
- Draft Statement of Accounts to Audit Committee 30-11-20, item 72. PDF 92 KB
- Pre-Audit Draft Statement of Accounts 2019-20 as at 19-11-20 to Audit Committee, item 72. PDF 2 MB
- Copy of Appendix B - Capital Slippage to 2020-21, item 72. PDF 106 KB