Council finances given auditors approval

Date published: 25 November 2020
Guildhall

West Lindsey District Council’s financial accounts for 2019/20 have been given a clean bill of health by an independent watchdog.

Each year, the Council produces its Statement of Accounts, which details how it spent money during the financial year, which is then assesses by independent auditors.

External auditor, Mazers LLP, gave an ‘unqualified statement’ for the Statement of Accounts. They found the accounts were properly prepared and represent a ‘true and fair’ financial position. The report says: “In our opinion the financial statements give a true and fair view of the Council’s financial position as at 31 March 2020 and of its expenditure and income for the year then ended.”

The audit also gave the Council an ‘unqualified’ opinion for its value for money. The report stated: “In all ‘significant respects the Council had put in place proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources for the year ending 31 March 2020.”

Cllr John McNeill, Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee at the Council welcomed the news. He said: “We have invested in a new state of the art leisure centre in Market Rasen, a flagship crematorium in Lea, which has already been highly commended regionally and supported significant investment in hourly train services at Gainsborough Central Station through our partners.

“Without high level support behind the plans and without good governance and good financial management none of what has been achieved would have been possible.

“It’s great to be officially recognised by an independent examiner for managing public money well. However, I would like to express my gratitude to the staff in our finance department for without them this audit opinion would not have been possible.

“COVID -19 led to unprecedented challenges and our staff were among those that were affected. They changed the way they worked to prepare the statement of accounts at a time when the level of demand for administering a raft of government grants to support businesses and safeguard jobs was high. Not only did they meet the new challenges but they were able to produce our annual statements well within the revised statutory requirements.”

The Governance and Audit Committee is responsible for the following areas:

  • Corporate governance of the council – monitoring the operation of the constitution
  • Accounts and audit – approving the statement of accounts
  • Regulatory framework - monitoring the effective development and operation of risk management
  • Ethics and standards - promote and maintain high standards of conduct by councillors and co-opted members.

The committee’s remit also incorporates the internal audit programme, which changes each year. Internal audits are also carried out regularly at the council which is important to ensure we continuously review our internal controls and governance procedures.

The full Audited Statement of Accounts can be viewed on our website at: https://www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/my-council/contacts-facts-and-figures/council-spending/statement-of-accounts/

Some of the performance highlights include:

  • Building a new £6.7 million leisure centre in Market Rasen and refurbishment of the West Lindsey Leisure Centre
  • More than £6 million investment in Lea Fields Crematorium, which opened in February 2020.
  • New hourly train service Monday to Saturday connecting Gainsborough Central to Retford, Worksop and Sheffield.
  • Bowling Green Road - £19 million investment by Acis with £2.2 million of funding secured by the Council from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership to build 135 primarily affordable homes and a riverside walkway.

For the latest news on West Lindsey District Council visit: www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/councilnews

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