Decision Maker: Cabinet Executive
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The report sets out details of the
Council’s financial performance against the General Fund
revenue budget, Business Rates Retention, and the Capital Programme
in respect of the financial year ended 31st March 2021.
1. That the financial performance for 2020/21 be accepted.
2. That £1,140,000 from General Fund balances to earmarked reserves be approved.
1. Following the Redmond Review, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has put in place revised regulations that came into force on 31st March 2021. The Accounts and Audit (Amendment) Regulations 2021 extend the statutory audit deadlines for 2020/21 and 2021/22 for all local authorities. As a result, the publication date for audited accounts has moved from 31st July to 30th September for the two financial years in question. The public inspection period must now commence on or before the first working day of August, effectively requiring the unaudited accounts to be signed off and published by 31st July.
2. Members will be aware that the audit of the 2019/20 accounts has still not been finalised, some 9 months after it commenced. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the audit process but our auditors have also experienced resourcing issues, as have others in the public sector audit market, and this has also played a part in the delay in sign-off. Ultimately this means that there will be a corresponding impact on the timing of the 2020/21 audit. EY have already indicated that some of their audit work in respect of 2020/21 will not be scheduled until after 30th September, the statutory deadline. Clearly this is disappointing but is outside of the Council’s control. Naturally, if there is any change to the financial performance, due to amendments arising from the audit, this will be reported to Cabinet as soon as practically possible following completion of the audit.
3. In the interests of transparency the surplus for 2020/21 has been transferred to General Fund balances in its entirety. However, it is recognised that Cabinet Executive might wish to set aside some of that surplus in earmarked reserves, in order to prepare for and mitigate against future spending and funding pressures.
Report author: Nick Brown
Publication date: 06/07/2021
Date of decision: 05/07/2021
Decided at meeting: 05/07/2021 - Cabinet Executive