Appendix to follow
The Corporate Finance Business Partner introduced the report and summarised it for the Audit Committee. The committee is asked to approve the Statement of Accounts for year end 31 March 2021.
A view was expressed that the correct way to handle this would have been to credit cash and debit creditors.
· It would be helpful if amounts owed by subsidiaries could be presented separately.
· The Bristol Beacon centre has been impaired to nil value in the accounts. How much has been written off and why? Is this because the building was a shell at that point or does the terms of the lease mean it does not have a value for the council?
It was confirmed that Bristol Beacon is an asset under construction and existing use would reflect that fact that it had been stripped back to a shell during extensive construction works.
· A member asked how much was spent on phase one for the Beacon, the total spent and how much was written off to impair the asset to nil?
Officers confirmed that ongoing costs are capitalised as they are incurred and information on historical costs would have to be researched and can be fed back.[ACTION].
· It was confirmed that the Audit Committee does not receive regular management accounts as it is not within the committee’s Terms of Reference. Officers reminded members that there are periodic financial reports submitted to cabinet and scrutiny that are publicly available.
· There was a discussion on Business Rates and the Business Rates appeals provision, which is currently valued at £25m.
The provision is based on 4.7% of business rate income in line with recommended practice. This may not be enough to cover all pending appeals as they can be backdated, which presents a considerable risk. The appeals process is managed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) who provide independent valuations, setting the rateable value and dealing with appeals which means BCC has no ability to control appeals.
· It was confirmed that members will be voting to approve the accounts, meaning that they are satisfied with the level of assurance supplied by the external auditors.
· Clarity was provided in relation to p.68 the ‘do nothing baseline’ - This is based on the DSG Deficit Management Plan (DMP). The Council uses the DFE DMP toolkit and the do-nothing baseline (starting point) reflects the current trends and represents the financial outcome if there were no interventions or mitigations.
· The report says that Audit Committee should receive risk reports on a quarterly basis, however that has not been the case.
Officers said that the reporting schedule of audit committee is out of sync with the Cabinet pathway which the risk reports are scheduled for.
Officers confirmed that the Q3 risk report was published for Cabinet and they would check why the report did not come to the January committee meeting. The latest version will be circulated to members via email to consider and advise whether a supplementary meeting is required to further explore the content [ACTION].
· A £20m adjustment should be taken in the context of a £2.3bn valuation for property and £1.1bn for pensions. It is a small adjustment that generates a big looking number.
· The Adult Social Care financial risk – budget variation will be outlined in the report to People Scrutiny and Cabinet. Scrutiny is currently drafting the work programme for next year and they will consider whether the financial risk associated to ASC is to be included.
· Officer remuneration - There seems to have been a major increase in the number of officers in the £75k salary bracket.
Officers said that they would investigate the reasons for this and report back [ACTION].
· Members requested a tracked change version of the accounts so they could see the changes that were made.
Officers confirmed this could be circulated to members privately by email [ACTION].
RESOLVED Audit Committee APPROVES the Statement of Accounts for the year end 31 March 2021.