Agenda item

Update on Statement of Accounts 2016-17

Presented By:C Dickens, Internal Auditor (PWC)


The Chief Finance Officer elaborated on a report which provide the Committee on the Statement of Accounts for 2016/17. It was explained that there had been a number of issues arising from the draft set of accounts previously submitted to the Committee that had prevented the production and sign off of the accounts by the Audit Committee and External Auditor


In response to a question asked by the Chair, the S151 officer explained that without the 2016/17 accounts being signed off, many aspects of 2017/18 could not proceed.


The External Auditor explained that they had received a number of working papers for the SoA including the asset valuation report but that this could not be fully assessed until the relevant information had been inputted for2016/17 accounts on the system.


A member of the Committee questioned whether there would be a significant risk to the 2017/18 accounts not being closed down. He was assured that the accounts would be closed down and it was anticipated that the fixed assets would soon be signed off. 


The External Auditor commented that they were optimistic that the 2017/18 accounts would be completed and signed off smoothly as the asset value issues would have been resolved since the 20161/ accounts. 


The Chief Finance Officer, in response to questions asked, confirmed that it was possible for both the 2016/17 and 2018/18 accounts to be formerly signed off together. 


It was noted that LGSS Finance, who delivered the full range of financial services to NBC had produced a summary explanation of the issues that they had faced and the subsequent actions taken, which was appended to the report. In response to questions asked, it was explained that the Borough Council bought in the service from LGSS Finance whose systems were out of synchronisation with each other. In response to additional questions asked, it was noted that LGSS would be undertaking a capacity review of staff and reported that there had been some unique issues with a number of agency workers who had left a knowledge gap when they had ceased their employment. It was noted that this was a high risk audit and as such, it was necessary for a more in-depth approach to be taken that had utilised a lot of additional resources.


Members asked for reassurances that LGSS Finance could provide the Council with a service that was fully resourced and it was explained that LGSS Finance believed that it had the expertise and could source further resources as required The Chief Finance Officer explained that once the Statement of Accounts for both 2016/17 and 2017/18 had been signed off, options would be considered for alternative service providers, should assurances from LGSS Finance not be provided.


In response to questions asked by the Committee, it was explained that the Borough Council assets were valued individually by internal valuers and external commercial valuers, if there were to be a disposal, as it was essential that the Council could protect its assets and achieve value for money.


The Chief Finance Officer explained that it was anticipated that the 2018/19 accounts would be closed down rapidly and resource’s would be focused and noted that it was not expected that the Statement of Accounts would not be fit for purpose by the time the Council moved to Unitary status.


The Chair requested an update of ongoing work being undertaken by LGSS Finance and the following update was given:


·         The significant audit issues that had been faced had been cleared and close to being closed,


·         RAM(assets system) consultants had trained staff on the new system


·         Revenue aspects of the Audit had progressed well and once the 2016/17 accounts had been closed, the 2017/18 would progress with speed.


The Chair requested that once the Statement of Accounts were ready to be signed off, the Audit Committee hold an Extraordinary meeting to ensure that they be signed off as soon as possible.




1.    That the Committee noted the issues that gave rise to the delay in the production of the Statement of Accounts for 2016-17.


2.    That the Committee noted that lessons had been learned and improvements made to the processes and data that would improve the production of the 2017-18 Statement of Accounts and subsequent years.


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