To receive a report from the Deputy Chief Executive (S151) presenting the final version of the annual Statement of Accounts to Members, highlighting any areas which have been amended since the draft accounts were published on the website and presented for external audit in May.
The Committee had before it a report * from the Deputy Chief Executive (S151) presenting the final version of the annual Statement of Accounts to Members.
The Group Manager for Financial Services explained that the accounts were structured around the following primary statements:
· Income and Expenditure Statement
· Movement in Reserves
· Balance Sheet
· Collection Fund
· Group Accounts
Further explanation was provided as follows:
· The Income and Expenditure Statement was essentially a ‘profit and loss’ statement illustrating the net cost of services. There had been little change to the value of the council owned housing stock. There had been a reduction in rental income in Property Services and an increase in repairs and maintenance costs.
· Liabilities in relation to the Pension Fund had reduced by £630k. This was due to a number of assumptions one of which was that mortality rates had been reduced by a year. This had a knock on effect as to what the Council’s liability was.
· Useable reserves had increased by £3.9m.
· Total reserves on the balance sheet had increased from £124m to £131m.
· There had been an increase in the long term debtor position as a result of providing five loans to 3 Rivers Development Ltd.
· The cash flow position was only ever a ‘snap shot’ in time.
· Most investments had been made on a short term basis rather than holding excess cash.
A positive and robust audit had taken place with no significant adjustments having to be made. The Council had been asked to expand upon some of its notes and had taken on some suggestions from the external auditors for the following year.
Discussion took place with regard to:
· What would lead the Council to use its reserves and what protections were in place to ensure they were not used in an unwarranted manner? It was explained that a lot of the Council’s reserves were ring fenced and restricted in terms of what could be done with them, for example, S106 monies. It was an integral part of the Council’s ethos to look for ‘savings’ rather than use reserves. A cautious approach was always employed, however, the Council had to operate in an environment where it did not yet know the outcome of the Fair Funding Review from central government. However, sound investments had been made and the General Fund remained at the right level.
· Reference was made to Council’s recent decision to aim to be carbon neutral by 2030. The question was asked as to how the Council would manage the risks in relation to this and the potential impact on its finances. It was explained that the Council had already introduced a number of energy saving schemes such as solar panels on its housing stock and property, renewable technology and biomass boilers. Consideration of the climate change declaration had been delegated to the Environment Policy Development Group and they would need to consider the impact on the Council’s overall budget. Not everything would cost money, some schemes might actually save money.
· The need for a review of the glossary of terms and for this to be placed at the front of the report.
· There had been an increase in the income levels of the leisure centres, although, they were still making an operational loss. However, this needed to be viewed in the context of community health benefits.
· The remuneration of senior members of staff increasing with inflation and being part of a national framework.
· Long and short term investments and the returns in relation to both. Investments were made within the confines of the Treasury Management Strategy which was approved by the Cabinet on an annual basis.
RESOLVED that the Statement of Accounts for 2018/19 be approved (subject to the recommendations made by the external auditor) and that the letter of representation also be approved and signed.
(Proposed by the Chairman)
Note: * Report previously circulated; copy attached to the signed minutes.