To consider the report of the Chief Officer Financial Services which presents for Members’ consideration the draft Statement of Accounts.
The Chief Officer Financial Services submitted a report which presented the draft unaudited 2021/22 Statement of Accounts which would be made available on the Council’s website for public inspection for thirty working days commencing Monday, 1st August 2022. Details of the roles, responsibilities and timescales for approving the statement of accounts were set out in the submitted report.
The Head of Finance presented the report providing the following information:
· Responsibilities and timescales were noted as:
o Draft Statement of Accounts to be approved by the S151 Officer,
o Statutory deadline was set for 31st July which was met.
o Publication for public inspection to be Monday 1st August. This would run for 30 working days. During this period members of the public can ask questions of the Council in relation to the figures presented and put questions to the External Auditors Grant Thornton. It was noted that if register as a voter in the Leeds area they can put objection to the figures to Grant Thornton who look into them and respond.
o The external audit would be carried out by Grant Thornton, it is expected that the audit will start at the end of September 2022. When the audit is completed the final audited accounts will be brought back to the Committee for approval along with the report from Grant Thornton. It is expected that the final accounts will be brought back in February 2023.
o It is proposed that briefing sessions will take place with Members prior to the statement of accounts being brought to the Committee for approval. It was suggested that the sessions take place in January.
The Head of Finance ran through the main issues arising from the statement of accounts which were set out at paragraph 3 of the submitted report. The officer provided specific details in relation to the increase in net worth of the Council, with one of the biggest factors being the decrease in the net pensions liability. It was noted that the pensions liability in the accounts did not affect future pension contributions, which would be determined by the triennial actuarial review. The results of the 31st March 2022 actuarial review were expected later in the year.
The Head of Finance updated Members in relation to the 2020/21 audit. The recent consultation by CIPFA on amending the accounting Code in respect of infrastructure assets had not resulted in an agreed way forward, and further proposals were expected in September. Members were advised that this may delay the finalisation of the council’s 2020/21 audit and accounts beyond September. An additional briefing session on the 2020/21 accounts would be held before the Committee is asked to approve these accounts, for the benefit of Members new to the Committee.
Members expressed concerns in relation to the timescales for the audit of accounts to enable consideration of the audit outcome within preparation of the budget going forward.
Members were advised that the preparation of the budget took place in accordance with the recognised procedures including Executive Board, Scrutiny Boards, public consultation and approval by full council. The accounts set out the way in which spending has taken place in accordance with the budget. Members welcomed the proposed briefing sessions in relation to the accounts and acknowledged that external audit also provide progress report to each meeting of the Committee.
RESOLVED - To note the unaudited statement of accounts for 2021/22, which is to be certified by the Chief Finance Officer