Reading is one of 50 local authorities that failed to deliver annual accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018 by the statutory deadline of the end of July. It is also one of only seven councils that have still not completed accounts for the 2016/17 financial year.
The Reading Borough Council (RBC) financial year 2016/17 ended on 31 March 2017. The statutory deadline for signing off its accounts was 30 September 2017. The report going to the next RBC Audit and Governance committee on 27 September 2018 says that this sign-off is not now expected until October or early November; this is over a year late.
Is no news good news? The Whitley Pump antennae are trained downhill on the Civic Offices hoping to pick up any crackle that would indicate some progress on the production of Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) accounts for the two previous years.
At the Reading Borough Council (RBC) audit and governance committee on 17 April, auditors Ernst & Young (EY) announced that if their audit of accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017 (2016/17) was not completed by today, 30 April 2018, they would have to pull out until August because their resources were needed elsewhere.
An unexpected bonus for councils of additional funding for adult social care was agreed by Parliament on 7 February, of which Reading will receive £355,000. This was welcomed by Reading Borough Council (RBC), but it came too late for the budget calculations which are going to RBC policy committee on Monday 19 February.
Answer: all three councils were late in producing accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017, had a problem with the accounts for the previous year and were issued with a statutory written recommendation by their auditors during the year. This is not a select troika to which any council wants to belong.
A play in three acts performed in reverse order over three nights at the Reading Borough Council (RBC) Civic Offices in January 2018.
The Whitley Pump had a conversation with David Stevens (Conservative), chair of the Reading Borough Council (RBC) Audit & Governance committee (A&G). Over a pint in one of our favourite venues in Reading he helped us understand how he sees his responsibilities and accountability. The good ship RBC is attempting to deliver the accounts 2016/17 for audit by Xmas and the same times as getting to grips with managing the 2017/18 budget, struggling with reconciliations and attempting multiple computer software upgrades and changes.
A dour set of councillors trooped into the council chamber for the Reading Borough Council (RBC) audit and governance committee meeting on 21 November to find out if the captain, chief executive Peter Sloman, and his first mate, strategic finance director Peter Lewis, had any good news for them about their voyage to get the accounts sorted out.
After tossing and turning for the last twelve months grappling with the possibility that something was not right in the subterranean world of Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) accounts department, the council’s audit & governance committee have woken up with a start. Things are not getting better; they are getting worse.