Two detailed reports on the audit of the council’s accounts for 2018/19 and 2019/20 are set to be considered by the council’s audit committee on Thursday evening (January, 27).
Councillors will consider the auditors’ reports which present their findings for each year – and detail the necessary improvements for the council’s production of accounts, which resulted in the launch of the council’s Finance Improvement Programme in January 2021.
Since the launch of the programme, new processes and procedures in areas such as how the council values properties, how developer contributions are accounted for, how accounts are reconciled and other areas have been introduced to improve reporting, prevent errors and avoid delays with the completion of the audit of accounts process.
While the accounting issues have had no impact on council budgets and frontline services, time spent on resolving the issues and rolling out the improvement programme - combined with the impact of Covid-19 - has resulted in a knock-on delay for presenting the 2020/21 accounts.
Kevin Bartle, Corporate Director Resources, said:
“While the services our residents rely on were unaffected, any accounting issue will always be a concern and we’ve been open about the issues we encountered and learned lessons quickly.
“We’ve already introduced improvements to better our practices and ensure there is no repeat of the issues which have caused the delays.
“There is still some work to be completed through our Finance Improvement Programme, but the presentation of these reports to the committee is a stage of the accounting process which shows the great progress made and how we are in a much better position now than we were back in 2019.”
The reports to committee advise that the accounts for both 2018/19 and 2019/20, and the value for money conclusions, will be formally qualified.
Deloitte were appointed as the council’s auditor in 2019 and are responsible for the audit of accounts from 2018/19 onwards.
The council continues to work with its previous auditor, KPMG, to obtain final audit certificates for 2016/17 and 2017/18, which will allow for the formal closing of accounts for those years too.
As a result of the council’s Finance Improvement Programme addressing issues which caused delays in reporting, the accounts process for 2021/22 and each year thereafter are expected to be completed on time.
Posted on Tuesday 25th January 2022