Annual accounts

Annual Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2020

Introduction

Our External Auditors, Ernst & Young LLP, have now signed their Audit opinions on behalf of both the council and the pension fund. This marks the final formal step in the process to finalise the 19/20 Accounts, which are therefore now completed and will be filed.

As part of the external audit for the Council’s financial statement, Ernst & Young provide two audit opinions: an opinion on the financial statements and an opinion on arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources.

The Council’s accounts

Work continued up to the date of signing the financial statements in order to give assurance that the Council is a “going concern”. This assurance covers up to 12 months from the date of signing the statements and includes the Council’s cash flow and ability to set a balanced budget for 2021/22. The auditors have reported that the use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements is appropriate.

The auditors have additionally concluded that the financial statements for 2019/20 give a true and fair view of the financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2020 and of its expenditure and income for the 2019/20 financial year. In addition, they have confirmed the Council has complied with the CIPFA Code of Practice.

The auditors are satisfied that, in all significant respects, the Council has put in place proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources for the year-end 31 March 2020. However, they had concerns over the Council’s financial resilience. This is particularly in relation to the size of the budget gap over the Medium Term Financial Strategy at the time and that the level of reserves held was insufficient to cover this. In this context, the reserves covers both the General Fund Reserve and the earmarked reserves. For this reason, the auditor issued a qualified conclusion for economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

It should be noted that as part of the Council's Medium Term Financial Strategy, reserves were never identified to cover the projected budget gap, with a combination of measures, including savings, efficiencies and transformation business cases, used to close the budget gaps and set a balanced budget for 2021/22.

The pension fund accounts

The auditors have reported that the use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements is appropriate.

The auditors have concluded that the pension fund financial statements for 2019/20 give a true and fair view of the financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2020 and of its expenditure and income for the 2019/20 financial year. In addition, they have confirmed the Council has complied with the CIPFA Code of Practice.


Statement of Accounts 2019 to 2020* (PDF)

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