Agenda item

To consider the attached report.


Contact Officer:


The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 required Local Authorities to prepare a Statement of Accounts in accordance with proper accounting practice and these were required to be approved and signed by the Council’s Audit & Governance Committee.  Due to Covid-19, the statutory deadline for completion of draft Statement of Accounts had been postponed from 31 May 2020 to 31 August 2020.  The publication of the audited statement had been postponed from 31 July 2020 to 30 November 2020.


Closing the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts and audit had been done under the challenging circumstances of lockdown due to Covid-19.  The draft statement of accounts had been published on the Council’s website on 29 June 2020, well in advance of the revised statutory deadline.  The public inspection period for the accounts was from 29 June 2020 to 7 August 2020.


Since the draft accounts, the final National Non-Domestic Rates 3 (NNDR) had been completed and this had an impact on outturn along with other minor adjustments.  The adverse impact of £342k had an impact on the General Fund reserves.  Any further adjustment above the materiality for reporting threshold of £63k would be circulated to the Audit Committee members.


The audit of the accounts had commenced in June and at the time of writing this report, it had been planned for the audit fieldwork to be substantially complete, followed by closing procedures and final reviews with a view to signing off the audit soon after the completion of public inspection period on 7 August 2020.


In accordance with the International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 260, the External Auditor (EY LLP) had prepared a detailed record of all matters arising from the audit of the Statement of Accounts. This Report was attached as Appendix 2 to the agenda.  The Auditor’s opinion on the financial statements had not been confirmed at the time of writing the Committee report and had therefore not been included in the Statement of Accounts.


The full draft Statement of Accounts were appended to the report and the following key points were highlighted to Members:-


Revenue Outturn







Net Cost of Services




Capital Financing Costs




Contribution to Unitary Transition




Transfer to/from Earmarked Reserves




Budget Requirement





In terms of the Financial Outturn the most significant feature was the £1,995k contribution to the Unitary Transition budget.  Excluding this the revenue budget showed an underspend of £101k.  The main other points to note in the outturn were as follows:

·                    There had been significantly higher parking income than budgeted (£274k), which included Amersham Multi Storey Car Park where growth in occupancy had exceeded expectations.

·                    Waste client costs exceeded budget (£260k) due to lower green waste income and additional temporary staff costs in the Waste Admin team.

·                    Staff vacancies in Revenues & Benefits and Customer Services (£166k), which included the Head of Service and the Customer Services Manager.

·                    Savings in temporary accommodation costs (£150k).

·                    Savings from re-phasing of the project to develop the redundant Chiltern Pool site once the Lifestyle Centre opens.  These savings were partially offset by the costs of retendering the Leisure Operator contract.  Net saving were £269k.

·                    Additional costs in Human Resources, Finance and Legal teams as a result of transition work and supporting the insourcing of Bucks County Council’s legal services (£160k).

·                    Additional staffing costs in Planning Services, including agency cover for Head of Service, and reduced planning and building control income (£185k).

·                    Investment income exceeded target and interest costs were lower due to the decision to internally finance the capital expenditure on the Chiltern Lifestyle Centre U367k)


Usable Reserves: at the end of the year reserves were as follows:-



General Fund


Capital Grants







Balance b/fwd





Use of Reserves





Balance c/fwd






The movement in the General Reserve was primarily the result of the £1,995k contribution to Unitary Transition costs.  The movement in Earmarked Reserves mainly related to funding for the Local Plan Development and contributions to Capital Expenditure.


Members sought additional information and were informed that due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic there had been a slight delay in providing the statement of accounts information for Chiltern District Council and South Bucks District Council to the external auditors.  As such, there was still a couple of weeks of audit work required for these accounts, mainly for the South Bucks DC accounts, so it was possible there could still be a few adjustments might still be required.


Having reviewed the Statement of Accounts 2019/20, and considered the audit progress and findings report from the external auditors (ISA 260 report), it was,




(1)               That the audit progress and findings report from the external auditors be noted.


(2)               That the Letter of Representation (ISA 260) be approved.


(3)               That, subject to the audit progress and findings reported to the meeting, the Statement of Accounts for Chiltern District Council for 2019/20 be approved.


(4)               That the Service Director – Corporate Finance (Section 151 Officer), in consultation with the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee, be authorised to make any final amendments to the Accounts arising from outstanding audit work prior  to the approval of the accounts by the auditor.


Note: Councillor Smith abstained from voting.

Supporting documents: