Liberal Democrat councillor Ricky Duveen used Reading Borough Council‘s (RBC) full council meeting on 25 February to say that the “never-ending issues with producing the council’s accounts are a disgrace.”
Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) statement of accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017 were signed off by the auditors Ernst & Young (EY) on 19 July. The RBC audit and governance committee on 23 July was informed of the completion of the tortuous and frustrating process that the audit had become. EY’s audit results report sets out numerous failings in the accounts which mean that the audit report has been qualified.
The leader of the council Jason Brock told the Reading Borough Council (RBC) full council meeting on 25 June that he expected the accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018 would be made available for public inspection “imminently”. This was in response to a question from Liberal Democrat councillor Ricky Duveen.
This time last year at the Reading Borough Council (RBC) audit and governance committee, council auditors Ernst & Young announced that if they didn’t complete their audit of 2016/17 accounts by 30 April 2018, they would have to pull out until August because their resources were needed elsewhere. A year later and the audit is still ongoing.
Reading Borough Council (RBC) is creeping slowly towards finalising their accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017 but the last few steps are painful. The report to last week’s Audit & Governance committee had explained how all the property valuations required had been received and that the accounts were being updated with final adjustments. However we learned on the night that things were not that simple.
Reading is one of 50 local authorities that failed to deliver annual accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018 by the statutory deadline of the end of July. It is also one of only seven councils that have still not completed accounts for the 2016/17 financial year.
The Reading Borough Council (RBC) financial year 2016/17 ended on 31 March 2017. The statutory deadline for signing off its accounts was 30 September 2017. The report going to the next RBC Audit and Governance committee on 27 September 2018 says that this sign-off is not now expected until October or early November; this is over a year late.
Is no news good news? The Whitley Pump antennae are trained downhill on the Civic Offices hoping to pick up any crackle that would indicate some progress on the production of Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) accounts for the two previous years.
At the Reading Borough Council (RBC) audit and governance committee on 17 April, auditors Ernst & Young (EY) announced that if their audit of accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017 (2016/17) was not completed by today, 30 April 2018, they would have to pull out until August because their resources were needed elsewhere.
An unexpected bonus for councils of additional funding for adult social care was agreed by Parliament on 7 February, of which Reading will receive £355,000. This was welcomed by Reading Borough Council (RBC), but it came too late for the budget calculations which are going to RBC policy committee on Monday 19 February.
Answer: all three councils were late in producing accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017, had a problem with the accounts for the previous year and were issued with a statutory written recommendation by their auditors during the year. This is not a select troika to which any council wants to belong.
A play in three acts performed in reverse order over three nights at the Reading Borough Council (RBC) Civic Offices in January 2018.
The Whitley Pump had a conversation with David Stevens (Conservative), chair of the Reading Borough Council (RBC) Audit & Governance committee (A&G). Over a pint in one of our favourite venues in Reading he helped us understand how he sees his responsibilities and accountability. The good ship RBC is attempting to deliver the accounts 2016/17 for audit by Xmas and the same times as getting to grips with managing the 2017/18 budget, struggling with reconciliations and attempting multiple computer software upgrades and changes.