Friday, October 14, 2011

Town Council Accounts - why did the Conservatives take so long?

The Audit of St Neots Town Council Accounts has finally finished. Under the regulations there has been a change as the Town Council is now regarded as a smaller relevant body.
The new regulations the Town Council finds itself under means the accounts have to be published along with any certificate, opinion or report issued. The Annual Accounts are here. As the Conclusion of Audit states:
Copies are obtainable from the Council Offices. In my opinion these should be on the Town Council website rather than inaccessible in the Town Council offices.

The initial accounts were filed late to the Auditors. Those accounts produced on 17th June 2011 were not agreed and the Auditors were told that these new councillors needed time to review these accounts. 

But was this delay really needed? Apart the bracketing of budget costs which was an error there was no need to delay the approval of these accounts. The reason given by the new administration was that it was new. But the main part of the Town Council was elected in May and the Eynesbury 7 were elected on 9th June 2011. Plenty of time to look at the accounts. The only real difference between the 17th June version and the approved version was the inclusion of the following:

During the election much had been made by the Conservatives about the cost of the Eatons Centre.
Including the Eaton Centre Trading Account isn't that strange nor does it really take a month to insert. These trading accounts aren't actually required. HDC doesn't in their accounts. Loan repayments and interest paid are also not part of the trading accounts. HDC doesn't do it this way. Are our Town Councillors, who are also District Councillors, pressing HDC to change the way it presents their accounts. Maybe this is why the HDC accounts are late?

Looking at the Priory Centre trading accounts there is a difference between 17th June 2011
This shows a deficit of £39,603. In the final set of accounts agreed by the Town Councillors this has changed to:
A trading deficit of £19,153. This is because the Loan Repayment has been treated as income instead of a cost.

There is no good reason why the accounts were filed late. The new town Councillors had plenty of time to review and look into the accounts. The Conservative chose to break the law and . Even when they did they made a mistake!

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