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One of the first councils to have 2020/21 accounts signed off

The Council is one of the first in England to get a clean bill of health for its 2020/21 accounts.

Throughout the past year the pandemic has taken its toll on public finances across the country, and on council finance teams who still have a responsibility to meet statutory requirements in finalising end of year accounts.

The Local Government Association has reported that many external audits have been delayed and dozens of audits remain uncompleted from 2019/20. We are therefore pleased to report that we have had the 2020/21 accounts signed off, and we were one of the first to do so in the country.

For the twelfth year running we have received a clean, unqualified audit, without any recommendations for management. Maintaining that impressive record is especially satisfying in a year that involved a huge amount of accounting and reconciliation work to administer Covid grants and channel over £50 million to support local businesses in the borough under various government-funded schemes.

Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Governance, Tom Dawlings, said:

I can only reiterate the comments I made at a recent Cabinet meeting. I think the finance team has done an outstanding job in coping with the extra work from the pandemic. Dealing with the auditors remotely, administering the applications, the grants, the funding and the audit trail for the Government grant schemes has been remarkable. A clean audit in those circumstance is a triumph.

The financial challenges will remain for some time, but the borough is fortunate to have such a professional and dedicated finance team to advise and support the Council.

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