The Finance Specialist (Deputy Section 151 Officer) introduced the draft Statement of Accounts and Annual Governance Statement 2020/2021. The unaudited statements had been approved by the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) on 18 June 2021 and had been opened up to scrutiny and comment from the public on the 21 June 2021. The 2020/21 accounts must be approved by Members and published no later than 30 September 2021, or as soon as reasonably practicable after the receipt of the auditors final report (it later than 30 September).
The Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) explained that the Annual Governance Statement had been published in the same document as the Statement of Accounts, providing important context to the financial information and having been signed by the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council. She added that the Annual General Statement had been expanded for 2020/21 to include a summary of changes in governance arrangements as a result of Covid-19, the majority of which were included in the Covid-19 update to Audit Committee in September 2020.
The Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) informed Members that a robust review of the Governance Statement had taken place, which updated the action plan substantially in line with the new CIPFA Financial Management Code which needed to be implemented this year.
Members expressed their thanks to officers for the work done by officers for the crucial work done throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and raised a query related to the risks associated with the Covid-19 grants. The Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) informed Members that there had been a risk due to the nature of the grants, but that the Finance Team was happy that any risk had been mitigated as far as possible, providing a clear audit trail through the ‘My Account’ system.
RESOLVED – That:-
(1) The unaudited Statement of Accounts for 2020/21 (including the Annual Governance Statement and the Annual Governance Statement Action Plan be noted; and
(2) The management response to the auditor risk assessment set out in Appendices 3 and 4 be confirmed as a true reflection of the Council’s management processes.