Agenda item

Draft statement of accounts 2016-17 and Annual Governance Statement

(Copy herewith)


The Head of Integrated Financial Services (LGSS) submitted a report on behalf of the Chief Finance Officer and elaborated thereon. He explained that the Statement of Accounts (SoA) had been signed off by the Section 151 Officer and had been released to the External Auditors – KPMG by the required deadline of 30th June. It was noted that there were some issues that had impacted on the timeline of production of the SoA which included a staff key member of staff having left and additional work needed around housing valuations. It was noted that at a previous meeting of the Audit Committee on the 6th March 2017 a report had been submitted which approved the Accounting Policies and Statement of Accounts changes and noted that there had been a number of changes to the format of the accounts. It was further explained that next year’s deadline would be more challenging as it had been set as the 31st May and explained that work was already being undertaken to ensure that capital entries are fed into the account statements sooner as these were a key element. It was noted that the public inspection period had commenced and would be available for inspection for 30 working days.



In response to questions asked by the Committee, it was explained that the consequences of not adhering to the deadlines would be reputational damage. It was noted that the Chief Finance Officer’s opinion was that the SoA was a true and fair opinion and on that basis was referring them to the External Auditors. In comparison to other Councils he noted that the Borough Council were financially ahead of similar sized Councils as there had been a contribution to reserves which had been relatively high although it was explained that the Council would face increased financial challenges over the next 2 – 4 years. In response to concerns about staffing, it was explained that the Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Planning would be undertaking a restructure specifically in relation to Assets, and the lack of valuers. In reference to the New Homes Bonus (NHB) it was reported that significant changes had occurred in April 2017 as the Government had changed the amount of NHB the Council would get. Previously, the Council had received £5 million but that this was expected to decrease from a 6 year to a 4 year scheme which had been accounted for in the Medium Term Financial Plan.


The Interim Strategic Finance Manager referred to the Annual Governance Statement and noted that a significant change in 2016/17 was the development of a Governance action Plan to address recommendations from the Internal Auditors, the progress of which would be noted at future Audit Committees. It was noted that the new governance guidelines had been issued by CIFA SOLACE and the Council had started a self-evaluation of its compliance within the framework and any gaps in governance would be identified through this.  It was reported that the Annual Governance Statement was a review of the Council effectives and had referred to the work and opinions of External and Internal auditors. The work undertaken through the Governance Action plan was recognised and significant improvements had been made; there were still some outstanding improvements which Management Board were committed to progressing.


In response to questions asked, it was noted that with regards to Northampton Partnership homes (NPH) that it was a subsidiary of the Council for accounting purposes and their accounts had been consolidated into the Council’s Group Accounts.


The Chair commented that she would request further training on the statements of accounts for Audit Committee members.




That the Audit Committee noted the draft Statement of Accounts 2016/17 and the draft Annual Governance Statement.


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