Agenda item

Draft Statement of Accounts


Carolyn Haynes (Lead Accountancy Manager) presented the Draft Statement of Accounts and highlighted the following key points:



the deadline for producing the draft statement of accounts moved back to 31 May in 2023; in the first year of Covid it was produced at the end of August and then the following two years it was produced at the end of July. The Council was unable to produce the draft accounts by the 31 May 2023 deadline and instead published by 20 June 2023 alongside a lot of other local authorities. It was estimated that approximately only 30% of local authorities produced their draft statement of accounts by the deadline;



the reasons for the delay in publishing the draft statement of accounts were set out in the report; officers had to rely more on real-time data rather than estimates that would have been used when officers previously published the draft statement of accounts for the May deadline, as auditors were unhappy with estimation techniques and wanted the Council to rely more on actuals. In addition to that, a late issue arose in relation to a valuation that was undertaken in October 2022 – this resulted in changes having to be made to the 2021/22 accounts to be flowed through to the 2022/23 accounts;



the Council now had 4 financial years of accounts that were not audited; any agreed amendments couldn’t yet be brought to Committee. As each year progressed those amendments, if any, would be progressed;



the report referred to the Council’s balance sheet and information upon assets and liabilities. There was currently a positive balance sheet and the majority of that was down to the revaluation of the pension fund which had a positive impact upon the Council’s balance sheet.


In response to questions raised it was reported that –



the report was a retrospective look back to 2022/2023; the impact on the Council’s accounts as a result of recent fuel costs would be reported in the 2023/2024 budget report that was likely to be submitted to Council in the first quarter of the financial year;



a ‘material impact’ was specified as being £7m or over;



the statement of accounts was open for public inspection; as of yet it was considered that no-one has requested to view the accounts;



un-useable reserves could not be used for revenue spending; they reflected things such as movement in property values so there was a revaluation reserve, a capital adjustment account which reflected movements in depreciation. There was also a collection fund adjustment account – they were all used to reflect the international financial reporting standards on outturn position and were not useable for the council’s business. An adjustment had to be put through the accounts so that the Council could be compared to other organisations;



the working fund balance was not earmarked but useable reserves could be earmarked for a purpose. They could be put aside for voids; previously £20m had to be moved from the collection fund useable reserve to be able to fund the deficit for the following year – they could be used for budget smoothing.


The External Auditor’s offer to provide training was acknowledged and accepted.


The Committee agreed:



to approve the Statement of Accounts for 2022/23 attached as Appendix B with the understanding that they will be audited by GTUK. Should any issues be identified during the GTUK audit Members are asked to delegate the approval of the Statement of Accounts to the Service Director for Finance in consultation with the Chairperson of the Audit and Governance Committee.


Reason: Statutory Requirement, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 require the accounts to be: 


i. Considered by committee; 

ii. Approved by committee resolution; 

iii. Signed and dated by the person presiding at the committee. 



to note the audit status of the Statement of Accounts for 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 and the delay to the publication of the Statement of Accounts for 2022/23.


Under this item Councillor Lowry, as a Member of the Audit and Governance Committee, queried if he was able to vote in support of items on the agenda as they were signed off by him as the Cabinet Member for Finance. He was under the understanding that he was able to continue to vote as the constitution didn’t specify that he could not, however raised that he potentially had an interest.


Ross Jago (Head of Governance, Performance and Risk) noted Councillor Lowry’s interest and confirmed that he would check as to what the interest was, however agreed that the constitution was quiet on this specific issue.


(Councillor Lowry raised an interest under this item)


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