Purpose of Report
To present the Statement of Accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2020, together with a short summary of the key issues reflected in the statutory financial statements.
That the Statement of Accounts be recommended to Council for approval.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Reason for Decision
The Statement of Accounts for 2019/20 provided a comprehensive picture of the Council’s financial circumstances and were compiled to demonstrate probity and stewardship of public funds.
The Council was statutorily required to publish its Statement of Accounts for 2019/20 with an audit opinion and certificate by no later than 31 July 2020. Further to the Covid-19 pandemic, the statutory dates were amended with publication of the accounts required by 31 August 2020 and an audit opinion and certificate required by 30 November 2020. It was noted, due to unforeseen staffing circumstances, some required follow up work had just been completed meaning that presentation of the accounts may be a couple of days beyond the deadline. This follow up work did not incur any material changes to the accounts.
The Council was required to make the Statement of Accounts available for public inspection for 30 working days. Following notification from the Council’s external auditors, this ran from 1 September 2020 until 15 September 2020 and the external auditor was available to answer questions during this period. It was reported that no questions had been asked.
The Council was also required to provide a documented annual review of the effectiveness of its governance arrangements which sat alongside the Statement of Accounts, known as the Annual Governance Statement. The overall level of assurance provided in 2018/19 was substantial and was in line with the Council’s Code of Corporate Governance. However, there were currently three defined significant issues, noted as follows:
· IT Disaster Recovery – there was one outstanding action from 2018/19;
· Review of the impact of the Coronavirus on the Council’s service delivery and embedding new ways of working;
· Vision 2025 and its re-profiling and communication to a wider audience in light of Covid-19.
The Statement of Accounts 2019/20 had been presented to the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 17 November 2020.