Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
In accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2003, the Council’s accounts were required to be approved by the Council, or its delegated Committee, each year. The report of the Executive Directors discussed the main issues affecting the Council’s Statement of Accounts and provided a full commentary on the core financial statements. A draft copy of the full Statement of Accounts had been circulated to Members by email on 29 July 2019 and made available in hard copy format at the meeting. A final Statement of Accounts was to be circulated to all Committee Members once the audit had been completed.
At the time of writing the report, the Council’s external auditors, Grant Thornton, had largely completed their work on the accounts for 2018/19. Grant Thornton’s report was discussed earlier in the meeting. The published accounts included a Narrative Report and the Annual Governance Statement approved by the Committee at its meeting on 25 March (Minute AS18/38 refers). The Code of Practice had required no major changes in the presentation of the accounts; however, the Council restructured its departments in 2018/19 so the presentation of the accounts for 2017/18 has been re-stated for comparative purposes.
The Corporate Transformation Finance Manager led Members through the Statement of Accounts and drew out the salient points.
Rother District Council published the accounts on time to a high standard and the pension adjustment made was a recommendation of management not external audit.
It was noted that overall, the balance sheet showed that the financial position of the Authority remained sound with an adequate amount of reserves in place to meet short term needs. The Pensions Fund liability of £25m was a long term financial assessment of a possible shortfall based on its current performance and therefore no immediate action was required. The net worth of the Council had increased by £2.4m and the useable cash resources of the Council had increased by £1.620m.
The Movement in Reserves statement showed the movement in the year on the different reserves held by the authority (analysed into ‘useable’ and ‘unusable’). The surplus of £0.735m on the provision of services line showed the true economic cost of providing the authority’s services.
On behalf of the Committee, the Chairman thanked the Corporate Transformation Finance Manager and her team for their sound financial management of the Council, and Trevor Greenlee and the team of auditors from Grant Thornton for their work on the Council’s accounts.
1) the Chairman be authorised to approve the Council’s 2018/19 Statement of Accounts and sign the letter of acceptance;
2) the Chairman be granted delegated authority, in consultation with the Assistant Director Resources, to re-sign the accounts if any subsequent amendments were required, when the audit was completed; and
3) the Chairman to call an extra-ordinary meeting of the Committee if required after finalisation of the accounts.
Publication date: 13/03/2020
Date of decision: 31/07/2019
Decided at meeting: 31/07/2019 - Audit and Standards Committee