Agenda and minutes

Closure of Accounts Committee
Wednesday, 29th May, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Lecture Theatre - Sadler Road, Winsford, Cheshire

Contact: Donna Linton  Governance and Planning Manager

Items
No. Item

1.

Procedural Matters

1A

Recording of Meeting

Members are reminded that this meeting will be audio-recorded.

Minutes:

Members were reminded that the meeting would be audio-recorded.

1B

Membership of Committee

The members of Performance and Overview Committee fulfill the role of Closure of Accounts Committee.

Minutes:

Members of Performance and Overview Committee fulfil the role of the Closure of Accounts Committee.

1C

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

1D

Declaration of Members' Interests

Members are reminded that the Members’ Code of Conduct requires the disclosure of Statutory Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, Non-Statutory Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Disclosable Non-Pecuniary Interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of Members’ interests.

2.

2018-19 Draft Statement of Accounts pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

The Treasurer introduced the report and advised Members that it was a statutory requirement that he approve the draft annual accounts of the Authority by the end of May each year.  He explained that, as part of the annual accounts process, a draft set of accounts was reported to this Committee for its consideration.

 

It was reported that the accounts were subject to external audit and that once the audit was completed the Authority would formally consider the accounts for approval at the meeting on 24th July 2019.  The Treasurer thanked the Head of Finance and finance staff for their hard work in preparing the accounts by the required deadline.

 

The Treasurer referred Members to the Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement (CI&E Statement) within the draft accounts (Appendix 1 to the report) and highlighted the “Total Comprehensive Income & Expenditure” figure and how this had changed from the previous year. Notes included within the accounts provided further information on the CI&E Statement.

 

He drew Members’ attention to the Balance Sheet within the draft accounts, which detailed the value, as at 31st March 2019, of the assets and liabilities recognised by the Authority. It indicated that the Authority had a negative net worth of £468m which was an improvement over the previous years’ figure of £476m.  The Treasurer explained that the “Net Pension Liability” of £565m was the main factor affecting net worth.  In order to make the Balance Sheet balance, a contra entry was included as an “Unusable Reserve”.  This was a technical accounting adjustment and did not represent money that was available for use.    

 

The funding amounts for Cheshire Fire Authority for 2018/19 were detailed at paragraph 3.1.3. of the report. Members were reminded that the Authority received over half of its revenue funding from its share of council tax ‘precept’ that was collected from the four local authorities. The precept approved by the Authority for 2018/19 was increased by 2.99% that was £75.48 (compared to £73.29 in 2017/18) for a Band D property. In addition to the precept, the Authority received its share of a surplus or deficits on the council tax collection funds which amounted to a surplus allocation of £0.03m for 2018/19 compared to £0.41m for 2017/18.

 

The majority of the balance of revenue funding was received from Central Government and the four local authorities in the form of the Settlement Funding Agreement that was broken down into two elements – Revenue Support Grant and Baseline Funding Level. This was detailed further at paragraph 3.1.2. of the report.

 

The Head of Finance advised that a detailed assessment for Group Accounting requirements had taken place again during 2018/19 in respect of North West Fire Control. For the 2018/19 accounts on the basis of materiality of the 25% share against the balances of the Authority it had been determined that Group Accounts were required for this financial year and had meant restating the accounts for 2017/18 as well.  2018/19 transactions between the Authority and NW  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Annual Governance Statement 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 925 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Governance and Commissioning introduced the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Authority Annual Governance Statement (AGS) 2018-19, required to accompany the draft Statement of Accounts. The production of the Annual Governance Statement was a requirement under the Accounts and Audit Regulations (England) 2015 and helped to ensure that a reliable system of internal controls could be demonstrated.

 

In previous years the Statement of Assurance and the Annual Governance Statement had been a combined document. However, this year a decision had been taken to separate the two subject areas to improve governance arrangements and transparency.

 

The Annual Governance Statement 2019-20 would be submitted to the meeting of the Fire Authority on 24th July 2019 for consideration and approval accompanying the Final Accounts 2018-19.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

[1]       the Annual Governance Statement 2018-19 be noted and be submitted to the Fire Authority on 24th July 2019.