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Financial budget, reports and audits


Our budget

The Council’s budget sets out how the Council will fund its priorities, and due to the Council making a concerted effort to reduce its reliance on investment interest, a change to the definition of a balance budget was agreed by Full Council as:

...where ongoing expenditure is met from fees, charges, government grant and council tax with the controlled use of reserves and surplus investment interest being used to meet one-off priority spend.

This means that all ongoing expenditure must be met from ongoing income streams, and reserves and surplus investment interest should not be used to fund these.

The budget has been compiled to ensure that the Council meets its statutory duties and objectives. The downturn in the economy has had a serious impact on the Council, the community and business. The final budget reflects actions that the Council will be taking to support its residents and businesses.

Budget 2024/25 and medium term financial strategy update presented and discussed at Full Council on 28 February 2024.

Fees and charges 2024/25 agreed at a meeting of Cabinet on 23 November 2023.

Budgets from previous years can be found on our transparency on spend page.

Annual financial report and governance statement

The Council’s financial statements and annual governance statement are important means by which the Council accounts for its stewardship of public funds.

The report summarises the findings from the audit of the financial statements by the Audit Commission and assesses how well the Council uses and manages public resources to make sure it delivers value for money.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is responsible for ensuring that its business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards, and that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for, and used economically, efficiently and effectively.

The Council also has a duty under the Local Government Act 1999 to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

In discharging this overall responsibility, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is responsible for putting in place proper arrangements for the governance of its affairs and for ensuring that there is a sound system of internal control which facilitates the effective exercise of its functions and which includes arrangements for the management of risk.

The annual governance statement is signed by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive and once approved by the Audit and Governance Committee is incorporated along with the statement of accounts into the annual financial report.

Annual financial report for 2022/23

Older annual financial reports can be found on our transparency on spend page.

Annual audit letter

Each year, the Audit Commission carries out a series of audits and assessments on the Council’s functions. These are then combined into an overall annual audit letter which is sent to all elected members and discussed at both Cabinet and Audit and Governance Committees.

Currently the annual audit letter comprises the following elements:

  • the audit of the financial report
  • an assessment of the arrangements to achieve value for money in the use of resources
  • and a view on how the Council is placed to meet future challenges

Annual audit letter 2022/23

Annual audit findings report 2022/23

Annual audit findings letter 2022/23

Older annual audit letters can be found on our transparency on spend page.

Annual Financial Cycle

Budget Setting
  • June: Projections MTFS
  • October: Build estimates
  • December: Consultation
  • January: Scrutiny
  • February: Set Council Tax
  • Statement of Accounts
  • Monthly with managers
  • Quarterly to Cabinet
  • Amend Projected Outturn & Virement
  • Budget Management
  • March: Prepare Accounts
  • June: External Audit
  • July: Approve and Publish