The town council is subject to the Audit Commission Act 1998 and the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011.
A local council's financial year begins on 1st April and ends on 31st March in the following year. Legislation requires the council to prepare accounting statements for each financial year, which must be externally audited. These are produced in the form of an annual return which summarises the accounts and includes an annual governance statement. The external audit of a council's annual return provides a professional audit of a councils annual income and expenditure and a review of the governance by someone that is independent to the council.
The council appoints an RFO (Responsible Financial Officer) to determine the council's accounting records and systems. The legal responsibility of safeguarding public funds always remains with the council and its councillors. By the 30th of June each year it is the council's legal duty to consider and formally approve its records. By 30th September in each year the council must publish its annual accounting statements together with its external auditor's certificate.
Every year the council approves its 'Financial Regulations' these are the rules by which the council will manage its finances and discharge its duty to procure products and services at best value.
It is for noting that an error has been made in Section 2, Box 9 of the above Annual Return for 2015/16.
The Council's external auditors have reviewed the information provided by the Council and discussed the value of the assets that have been transferred to the Council from Margate Charter Trustees with the Clerk to the Trustees. As a result, the auditor can confirm that as at the year end, the Council held no fixed assets and has erroneously recorded the income received from MCT in Box 9. We are writing to you to ensure that when the comparative figures are entered in the 2016/17 Annual Return, the corrected figure of zero is used.
Had the council provided with this information prior to signing our external auditor report on the 2015/16 Annual Return, we would have referred to this error as an ’other’ matter, i.e. one which does not affect our opinion.