To review and consider the draft Statement of Accounts 2016/17 in advance of the final (audit) statement being submitted for consideration and approval at the next meeting on 28 September 2017.
A copy of the Draft Statement of Accounts is attached. Members are asked to focus their consideration around i) the Explanatory Foreword, ii) Core Financial Statements iii) Notes to the Core Financial Statements iv) Housing Revenue Account v) Group Accounts. Where possible, Members are asked to provide advanced notice of any queries or comments they may have on the Draft accounts to ensure a response can be provided at the meeting.
These should be forwarded to Jayne Fitzgerald (Head of Corporate Finance) at Jayne.email@example.com”
RECEIVED the draft 2016/17 Statement of Accounts in advance of the final statement being submitted for consideration and approval at the next Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting on 28 September 2017.
1. Councillors’ questions had been received regarding the draft statement of accounts 2016/17, since the last meeting (5 July 2017), with the finance team providing responses for these. The questions and responses have been attached to these minutes for reference purposes.
2. It was noted that the annual accounts were a complete record covering everything Enfield Council had done in the last year, and councillors had the opportunity to scrutinise them for accuracy and value for money.
3. Finance officers went through each question and response. Further queries and comments arising were discussed, including:
a. In respect of Question 1, the dates related to different elements in the calculations. In response to Councillor Savva’s further queries regarding unsupported borrowing, officers agreed to provide a follow-up note.
ACTION: Jayne Fitzgerald / Roy Baker
b. In respect of Question 2, the safeguards built into the contracts were confirmed. It was also confirmed that any penalty clauses applied were recorded.
c. In respect of Question 3, it was advised that there was a choice of the way to apply accounting policies in certain areas, and if appropriate these may be amended.
d. In respect of Question 4, it was confirmed that the correct figure was £18.1m, and that the annual increase was therefore very small.
e. Question 5 referred to events after the reporting period. An update had been provided by Housing officers. Potential extra government funding to cover remedial works post Grenfell Tower had not been confirmed. Works programmed in Enfield were already scheduled before the Grenfell fire occurred. There had been detailed fire and risk assessments, and all appropriate actions had been put in place on a case by case basis, and all fire assessments were up to date. There had been re-prioritisation in the overall HRA business plan.
f. In respect of Question 7, it was confirmed that the bulk of LB Enfield’s borrowing was from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB). It was advised that LEEF referred to London Energy Efficiency Fund.
g. In respect of Question 8, it was confirmed that LB Enfield was very proactive in collection of council tax and other debt arrears. In-year collections rates were average, but the actual collection rate was good. Details were provided of the intensive and cost-effective processes gone through before debt was written off.
h. In respect of Questions 9 and 10, it was confirmed that the fluctuations could vary significantly from year to year.
i. In respect of Question 11, it was confirmed that the discrepancy was as a result of a rounding difference. The figures would be matched in the published statement of accounts.
4. In response to the Chair’s request for any additional questions or comments, the following were discussed:
a. In response to Councillor Hayward’s queries relating to section 2 of the narrative report with regard to Government’s projections of the funding that will be available to local government, James Rolfe confirmed that there had been a fair funding campaign and that lobbying of the Government had taken place and would continue. The next round of consultation for funding for local government was about to begin, and LB Enfield would contribute to that consultation. Questions were also permitted, within defined parameters, in response to the Government’s Autumn Statement which covered all government expenditure. It was also noted that that a London Councils Leaders’ debate would take place the following day in relation to business rates devolution for London. Enfield had a growing population and an ageing population, which were big drivers in costs, but were not reflected in the way that funding was allocated. Within the Council, work was well on track to put together a budget for February 2018. Members asked that a letter be drafted for the signature of both party leaders to lobby Government to increase funding to local government.
ACTION: James Rolfe
b. In response to Councillor Hayward’s queries relating to ‘Investment Strategy’ within the narrative report, James Rolfe advised that this investment was in deposits with major banks and building societies. Through the financial year, those figures were likely to change. Reduction in investments was part of the financial management steps the Council had to take. If the Council had surplus cash, money would be put into investments short term.
c. In response to Councillor Hayward’s queries relating to net borrowing figures quoted, James Rolfe clarified the Council’s Capital Financing Requirement (CFR) and that during the course of the year the capital expenditure requirements would be fulfilled through borrowing. A more detailed breakdown could be provided for information.
ACTION: James Rolfe
d. The representatives of External Audit had no comments on the issues under discussion, noting that this was a complex piece of work and credit was due to the officers.