Auditors examining East Dunbartonshire's books are happy with what they found.

Auditors approve council accounts v.1
East Dunbartonshire Council HQEast Dunbartonshire Council HQ
East Dunbartonshire Council HQ

Auditors have approved East Dunbartonshire Council’s internal financial auditing procedures, agreeing that they accurately reflect its current standing.

Fiona Mitchell-Knight, an audit director from Audit Scotland, reported to the council’s audit and risk management committee on her independent assessment of financial statements, having investigated them for irregularities such as evidence of fraud .

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In her report she wrote: “I have concluded that the use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements is appropriate.“Based on the work I have performed, I have not identified any materialuncertainties relating to events or conditions that, individually or collectively,may cast significant doubt on the ability of the council and its group to continue to adopt the going concern basis of accounting for a period of at least twelve months from when the financial statements are authorised for issue.”

She added: “That is really good news and not something that should be taken for granted,” saying this should give the committee councillors confidence in approving the accounts.

No unadjusted misstatements in the accounts had been identified with any problems already addressed.

The main judgements presented in the independent audit of the annual accounts for 2021/2022 were: “The annual accounts of East Dunbartonshire Council give a true and fair view of its financial position for the year ended 31 March 2022. Our audit opinions on the annual accounts of the council, its group and the two section 106 charities administered by the council are unmodified.

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“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic led to delays in the auditing timetable for 2021/22 annual accounts. Submission of the audited annual accounts is in line with revised government timescales and as agreed with council officers.”

The financial management of the council was deemed “effective” and it was noted that overall services had been delivered within budget, with an underspend of £13 million reported against the total general fund budgeted net expenditure.

In the last year the council used £14.5 million of its Covid-19 funding, leaving  a total of £11.3 million carried forward to 2022/23.£2.6 million of this has been earmarked for future recovery.

Despite the budget underspend usable reserves decreased by almost £4 million. Other reserves are in line with target expenditure.

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One cautionary note in the Audit Scotland report concerned the council’s 2022/2023 budget, which was described as “challenging”. The council has already resolved to draw almost £7 milion from reserves and faces additional pressure due to the local government pay settlements.

Leader of the council Gordan Low thanked Audit Scotland for the report before the committee agreed several recommendations. The final version of the  annual audit report will be presented at the next meeting of the full council.

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