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Agenda item

Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019


The Committee considered a report of the Corporate Director of Resources which presented the Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019 (for copy see file of Minutes).


The Finance Manager - Strategic Finance reported that stage one had been achieved by the deadline of 31 May 2019 and the accounts were now in the public inspection period until 12 July 2019, with the final set of accounts coming back to Audit Committee on 31 July 2019 for approval.


She went on to highlight the five core statements, the general reserves and the earmarked reserves.  With reference to the Pension Fund accounts she reported that the External Auditor had found no material errors with the exception of the national issue around the McCloud judgement regarding age discrimination on pension payments. She assured members that advice had been sought from the Pension Fund Actuary and CIPFA.  The External Auditor had met with the National Audit Office and advice had been for this to be included within the figures in the accounts for 2018/19.  The Pension Fund Actuary had been asked to undertake further detailed calculations.


For further background, Mr Collins from Mazars, advised that the Supreme Court had upheld a decision on the McCloud issue and that this would have an affect across the public sector for perceived age discrimination with an obligation to correct any wrong doings.  Audit firms have been tasked with requiring their clients to demonstrate the effect would not be material on the Pension Fund Liability.  A piece of work had been commissioned to show what the impact would be and to provide an estimate.  Therefore, there was an obligation to demonstrate that there was enough evidence that a reliable estimate could be made.  An assurance on the work carried out in line with expectations would be required.


Mr Collins reported a further issue with the Pension Fund Accounts was with regards to gender discrimination.  Although not as significant an issue in terms of the accounts, the Council was asked to demonstrate no material liability.


Mr Rudd asked if it was possible to highlight the changes in the accounts from year to year.  He also asked what the Council were measuring against with regard to savings.  The Corporate Director of Resources explained that the savings were measured against the original budget, set in February 2019.


Councillor Temple was advised that the schools reserve was also included in the total figure of reserves.  Councillor Temple went on to ask about the changes to the MRP Policy and was informed by the Corporate Director of Resources that re-paying debt would be done in a different way and that the period for MRP would be extended.  He added that this was included in the budget from 2019/20 but showing as an overspend from previous years however this years budget had not reflected that.


Councillor Temple enquired about which assets had been reclassified to/from held for sale and further details will be provided following the meeting.



That the draft statement of accounts for the County Council for the financial year ended 31 March 2019 be noted.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714