Agenda item

Draft Statement of Accounts 2019-20

Presented By:


At the Chair’s invitation, the Corporate Accountant introduced and presented the draft Statement of Accounts for 2019-20. She explained that the accounts as presented to the committee fully reflect the transactions recorded in the financial books of the Borough for the 2019-20 year and as such can be formally released allowing the period of public inspection to commence.


The Narrative Report placed at the front of the Statement of Accounts document to provide the key information for those that wish to understand how the council tax and housing rents have been spent in the year.


The Corporate Accountant stated that the core statements had been prepared in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance’s Code of Practice for Local Authority Accounting for 2019-20, and highlighted the salient points:


·       The Net Assets of the Council increased by just under £29m during the year to £460m

·       The usable reserves of the Council reduced by over £8m in that period, as a result of investment in the Borough’s assets

·       The Income and Expenditure Statement demonstrates a deficit of £15m, with £29m of property valuation increases and a £15m actuarial gain on pension assets and liabilities

·       There was no change to the main General Fund and Housing Revenue Account balances

·       The Cash Flow Statement explains how the net cost of services figure of a £15m deficit is related to the increase in cash balances

·       The final statement, the Expenditure and Funding Analysis, starts from the net movement in earmarked and general reserves held for general fund and HRA purposes and maps through to the provision of services figure in the Comprehensive.


The Corporate Accountant summarised that the accounts contained three specialist sets of statements: The Housing Revenue Account, the Collection Fund and the Group Accounts. She concluded that the accounts statement was over 140 pages and had been compiled by a number of colleagues. The Corporate Accountant expressed her thanks to everyone who had worked on the draft Statement of Accounts for 2019-20 and invited the Audit Committee to ask any questions.


Members discussed the report and asked if there was an expectation of when the sign off of the accounts would be completed. The Chief Finance Officer explained that it would depend on the external auditors EY as they would have the final sign off, as it could continue to the migration into Unitary. Steve Clark from EY summarised that the 18/19 accounts were still being worked on and they hoped these would be signed off before Christmas, which would lead them onto the 19/20 accounts which they would endeavour to sign off before the end of March 2021.


Members asked questions surrounding the use of section 106 money, governance policies for the Unitary council and the Mayor’s allowances. The Chief Finance Officer clarified that the section 151 officer had been appointed for the West Northants Unitary and they would be working on the new council’s financial matters. At NBC the Director of Planning was responsible for monitoring the use of section 106 monies and he will continue to ensure this is compliant and put to good use. In terms of governance, the shadow authority is currently working on policies and promoting good governance in their workstreams. As for the Mayor’s allowance, the allowance is at the Mayor’s discretion.


The Chair asked a question regarding the non-financial performance indicators on page 17 and the process for monitoring these indicators. The Chief Finance Officer confirmed that a report is produced quarterly and brought to Cabinet for the Leader and Councillors to review and question.


The Chair put forward two additional questions to the Corporate Accountant requesting an explanation for the significant reduction of income charges and the use of short-term investments as demonstrated in the core financial statements. The Corporate Accountant agreed to produce detailed answers outside of the meeting which would be circulated to the Audit Committee.


RESOLVED: That the Committee:

·       Noted and provided comments on the Statement of Accounts
for 2019-20.

·       Noted that the delay in delivering the draft accounts statement related both to work on concluding the 2018-19 accounts and the impact of Covid-19.





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