Wednesday, December 14, 2011

HDC Accounts not now ready until the New Year!

The Corporate Governance Panel seems to have given up on agreeing the annual accounts which were due on 30th September 2011. In a recent report the CGP says:

The Panel was informed of efforts made by the Head of Financial Services’ staff and the Council’s external auditors to complete the process for finalising and publishing the Council’s accounts for 2010/11. Members are hopeful that the work will be finalised early in the New Year.

No date or extra meeting arranged.

In a previous blog I set out an explanation sent to me by Steve Couper of HDC. In it he said:

.... and the current intention is to submit them to the next programmed meeting of the Panel on the 7 December.

Even this date has been missed.

What has been dropped is any target date. Just "early in the New Year". Whatever that really means.

The law is very clear:

(3) Subject to paragraph (4), a larger relevant body must, no later than 30th September in the year immediately following the end of the year to which the statement relates—

(a)consider either by way of a committee or by the members meeting as a whole the statement of accounts;

(b)following that consideration, approve the statement of accounts by a resolution of that committee or meeting;

(c)following approval, ensure that the statement of accounts is signed and dated by the person presiding at the committee or meeting at which that approval was given; and

(d)publish (which must include publication on the body’s website), the statement of accounts together with any certificate, opinion, or report issued, given or made by the auditor under section 9 (general report) of the 1998 Act.

(4) The responsible financial officer must re-certify the presentation of the statement of accounts before the relevant body approves it.

To me this is straight forward. The Corporate Governance Panel cannot delegate these powers away to Council Officers. Yet that is what it seems to have done. HDC does like Breaking the Law. 

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