Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Statement of Accounts 2017/18

Minutes:

The Mayor advised Council that the Royal Borough’s statement of accounts 2018/19 had been considered by the Pensions Fund Investment & Administrative Panel, which had no comments for the Councils consideration.  The accounts were also considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel which requested that the Council considered to continue to focus on council tax collection rates and identify comparative Borough practices.

 

The Mayor invited Mr Paul Dossett, Engagement Lead from Grant Thornton (Independent Auditors), to introduce the auditors' findings Report

 

Mr Dossett, summarised the report advising that the statutory deadline for submission of Statement of Accounts was the end of May, for all councils and, as had been the case for many years the Royal Borough of Greenwich had produced its in a timely fashion.   

 

Mr Dossett advised that he intended to give an unqualified opinion on the financial statements and an unqualified value for money.  He summarised the detail of the report advising that no issues had arisen, And whilst the Council was financially stable it must continue to be aware of the pressure on authorities finances, maintain rigorous monetary saving plans and reserves and urged the continuation of Greenwich’s prudent approach to maintaining a reasonable level of reserves.  He confirmed that he would be signing off the audit tomorrow and extended his appreciation of the  hard work of the Councils Officers for their support.   

 

The Mayor invited questions to the auditor.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Conservative Group, requested that the Conservative Groups thanks to the auditors and also to the Finance Team for meetings and very quick turnaround deadlines be recorded. 

 

In moving the recommendations, Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, thanked Paul Dossett and his team for their report and the interim Director of Finance and his team in preparing the accounts and the  audit team for their work.  He was pleased that the auditor had confirmed the Council had proper arrangements in place to deliver value for money in our services and how those resources were used whilst recognizing the budget pressures the Council faced, particularly in the area of social care.  He noted that the Auditor felt that Greenwich had fared better than some Local Authorities, thanks to strong leadership and a dedicated team of Officers.  Councillor Thorpe cautioned that the Council needed to be aware of the areas the auditor’s report highlighted in terms of sustained pressure on the delivery of statutory services.  

 

Councillor Thorpe noted two areas the auditor had mentioned;  that the collection of Council Tax was still lower than the London average and he would be asking the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources to oversee improvement in this area; that the auditor noted no concerns in respect of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the project management and monitoring arrangements of the Council’s capital projects.  The auditor had noted some concern amongst Members at the additional requests for capital funding for the Eltham cinema. 

 

Councillor Chris Lloyd, Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Panel, thanked Mr Dossett,  Grant Thornton Auditors and the Director of Finance for their work on the accounts.  He noted that the Audit and Risk Management Panel had noted that the collection of council tax receipts rates needed improvement but felt that the proposals to address this situation should see an improvement year on year as the Council had seen with the business rate collection rates, where Greenwich was  above the Inner London average. 

 

The Leader of the Council formally closed the debate and the Mayor called Members to vote and it was;

 

Resolved unanimously –

 

1.     That the Audit Findings Report (AFR) in respect of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Pension Fund be noted

 

2.     That the comments of the Audit and Risk Management Panel and Pension Fund Investment and Administration Panel be noted.

 

3.     The the Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018, at Appendix 1d of the report, incorporating agreed amendments be approved.

 

4.     That it be agreed that the Mayor signs and dates the revised Statement of Accounts.

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