Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillor Bamford.


Declarations of interest


There were none.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 303 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2022.


The minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2022 were approved and signed as a true record.


Public and Member Questions

These must be received no later than 12 noon on the fifth working day before the date of the meeting


There were none.



Audit Findings for Cheltenham Borough Council, year ended 31 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 4 MB

Report of Grant Thornton to follow


Alex Walling [AW] of Grant Thornton advised Members that this was an interim Audit Findings Report – work was undertaken remotely in August and September, to complete in late December/January, with the full report presented at the next meeting.    She highlighted the following:

-       the findings are summarised on Page 5-24, with a small number of adjustments to financial statements already identified - in particular a small adjustment of £334k to the council’s income and expenditure account – but the work is substantially complete, and nothing to suggest the need to modify the audit opinion in any way;

-       outstanding areas include sample testing in some areas; the pensions letter from the pensions auditor; completion of work on group accounts (still to be received); work on the council’s land, buildings, investment property and council dwellings valuation; disclosure areas in the accounts, required under the code of audit practice;

-       Grant Thornton is still waiting to learn what it happening around the statutory overrider and infrastructure assets, with training next week about the anticipated national messages, and further discussions with management in the new year about the implications of this.  They are also waiting to receive management’s letter of representation and review the final set out accounts;

-       to date, the narrative report and annual governance report and statement have been concluded and published with the financial statement, and in accordance with what is expected.


AW then ran through the value-for-money work, which she summarised as follows:

-       the work is not complete and Grant Thornton therefore not is not in a position to issue the Auditor’s Annual Report - in accordance with National Audit Office expectations, which allows three months’ leeway in view of the backlog in local government audit and the implications of Covid.  However, no risks were identified during the planning stage, and there is no evidence of any emerging risks having occurred;

-       GT does not intend the exercise any of the statutory duties open to it, and intends to certify the completion of the audit on completion of the work round value for money and government accounts.  The certificate for last year is still open because of the infrastructure assets issue;

-       other than delays in receiving group accounts, GT has not encountered any significant difficulties during the audit;

-       regarding materiality levels, based on draft accounts these remain the same as in the audit plan presented in April.  Materiality for group statements is £1.5m, and for the council – which has to be set at a lower level - £1.483m;

-       regarding significant risks, as for all public and commercial entities, one is management override of controls – the ability of senior officers to potentially manipulate the accounts by overriding the controls that are in place.  Work in that area is to look at journals, and no issues have been identified to date;

-       a second significant risk is improper revenue recognition – putting income into accounts that shouldn’t be there – but GT rebutted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Draft Statement of Accounts, 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 287 KB

Report of the Deputy S151 Officer

Draft Statement of Accounts to follow

Additional documents:


Gemma Bell [GB], Head of Finance, Assets and Property and Deputy S151 Officer, presented the Draft Statement of Accounts as at 15 November, including all adjustments to make the £334k identified by Grant Thornton, and various changes and additions to disclosures and the narrative report.  With regard to finalising the report, the finance team is still awaiting the final accounts from Gloucestershire Airport, and also the conclusion on the audit work around MRP.


It is recommended that the Committee approve the Draft Statement of Accounts, subject to review and any further questions, delegating authority to the Chair to sign the final version of the accounts and management representation letter once these are finalised. Any significant issues will be brought back to the Committee.


One Member thanked GB for the document, saying that he had learnt a lot about the council.  The following responses were given to Members’ questions:


-       the optimum level of general balances of £3.256m includes various assumptions on achievement of savings, pay inflation, general inflation and so on, against all costs across the budget, plus a built-in contingency. The 14% contingency demonstrates how much of the general balance forecast would remain if the worst was to happen in the coming year;

-       the order of the priorities as listed in the document is set out in the draft Corporate Plan which will be brought to Council in February.  If Members feel this should be re-ordered – specifically that the current Priority 5 (delivering services to meet the needs of communities) should be higher – they should feed this back to officers;

-       regarding how CIL and S106 payments from planning applications is collected, held and divided up:  if no conditions were attached, the monies are transferred at the end of year to ‘capital grants unapplied’ which sits on the balance sheet; if conditions were attached, it sits in ‘capital grants received in advance’.   It was noted that the County Council is not happy with the way that CIL payments are potentially being allocated, and it is important that any time-bound S106 payments need to be captured with a warning that the money needs to be spent.


With no further questions, votes were taken on the two recommendations, where Members agreed unanimously to:


1.    Approve in principle the draft Statement of Accounts dated 15 November 2022;


2.    Approve the delegation of authority to the Chair of the Committee to sign the final version of the accounts and management representation letter, subject to no significant issues being raised by audit.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 275 KB


There were no comments or amendments from Members.


Any other item the chairman determines to be urgent and requires a decision


There were none.


Date of next meeting

24 January 2023


The next meeting is scheduled for 24 January 2023.