To approve the Financial Statements for 2018/19 and authorise the Chairman of the meeting to sign and date the Statement of Accounts on behalf of the Committee and sign and date the Letter of Representation.
The Chief Accountant presented a summary of the Financial Statements Report for 2018/19.
The Council had set a revenue budget for the 2018/19 financial year of £83.655m. The actual outturn for the General Fund was within budget with an under spend of £2.528m. As a result of the under spend the Council was able to return £0.013m to General Reserves rather than withdrawing the £2.515m included in the Budget.
The Committee noted that the most significant variances included:
· An over spend within the Adult Community Team on residential costs and community services (£0.374m) partly offset by underspends within the team relating to staff vacancies (-£0.184m).
· An over spend on directorate wide budgets within People due to delays in completing the Senior Leadership Restructure and additional transformation costs (£0.414m).
· Within Central, underspends on Concessionary Fares (-£0.288m) and audit fees (-£0.095m) and additional income (-£0.431m), in particular from CIL and streets works.
· A significant underspend on interest budgets (-£3.369m), due to the Council taking advantage of short-term interest rates, additional interest income and higher cash balances reducing the need to borrow.
· Higher than forecast capital receipts in 2016/17 and significant capital carry forwards into 2017/18 helped to create an underspend against the Minimum Revenue Provision (-£0.415m).
· A VAT refund relating to the overpayment of VAT on leisure income between 2010 and 2018 (-£2.299m).
The General Reserves balance at 31 March 2019 was £9.1m. Of this, £2.6m would be used to finance the 2019/20 budget, leaving £6.5m available (of which £4m was determined as the minimum prudent level).
The Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement showed a deficit on the Provision of Services of £39.4m but Members were advised this did not impact on reserves.
On Earmarked Reserves, the largest movement in the year related to the Future Funding Reserve (an £11.2m increase to £19.8m) which primarily related to gains from the Council being part of the Berkshire-wide Business Rates pilot.
The Council had had to fund part of the 2018/19 capital programme from internal and external borrowing and this represented 63% of the overall funding of the 2018/19 capital programme budget. Members were advised that whilst the Council held reserves, borrowing was based on a cash flow analysis and some of the borrowing was from cash balances which reduced the need for external borrowing.
However, having considered the report, the Committee was advised that there had been a delay in receipt of the assurance letter from the Berkshire Pension Scheme auditors, Deloitte. In the circumstances, the Committee:
1 The recommendation that the Committee authorise the Chairman of the meeting to sign and date the Statement of Accounts on behalf of the Committee be not agreed due to the delay of the production of the Assurance letter from the Berkshire Pension Scheme auditors, Deloitte.
2 The recommendation that the Committee authorise the Chairman of the meeting to sign and date the Letter of Representation set out in Annexe B be not agreed due to the delay of the production of the Assurance letter from the Berkshire Pension Scheme auditors, Deloitte, but he be authorised to sign it once the external auditors had received adequate assurance on the Berkshire Pension Fund accounts.