The following papers are to be read in conjunction with the minutes of the Strategy and Finance Working Group held on 18th April 2023 and are for formal approval by the Council prior for submission to the External Auditor.
i) To receive a report on the 2022/23 Outturn Appendix C
ii) To receive the 2022/23 Income and Expenditure Outturn Appendix D
iii) To receive the Bank Reconciliation and Balances at 31st March Appendix E
iv) To consider the final Internal Auditor’s Report for the Year Ended 31 March 2023 and accept the issues raised Appendix F
v) To receive and agree the draft Report and Financial Statements for 2022/23 and earmarked reserves at 31st March 2023 Appendix G
vi) To approve the variances list between 2021/22 and 2022/23 Annual Returns . Appendix H
vii) To approve the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1 of Annual Governance and Accountability Return) Appendix I
viii) To approve the Annual Governance and Accountability Return for the Year Ended 31st March 2023 for signature and submission for External Audit
Cllr Evans introduced the report on the end of year accounts at Appendix C. She advised that there had been a long and thorough discussion on the detail at Strategy & Finance which was set out in the report.
Cllr Evans said that 2022-23 was a fairly unique year given the capital projects that took place (completion of the refurbishment of the Central Car Park Public Conveniences, the completion of the restoration of the listed West Street cemetery gates, the commissioning of the public art work at Longbridge with Section 106 funding from the UCA developments, and the undertaking of the conversion of the Hale Cemetery Chapels into a Community Garden. The celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, followed by her death and the proclamation of His Majesty King Charles III, and the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Edward, gave an exceptional Royal flavour to civic and community events. In addition, the international situation with the War in Ukraine and post Brexit issues leading to rising energy prices, high inflation and supply-chain issues has led to significant cost uncertainties in managing the Council finances.
Despite this, Council made a prudent approach to the 2023-24 precept bearing in mind the pressures on the community and made a small increase it its share of the Council Tax which is expected to again be below the sector average for the 11th successive year and the financial outcome has been positive.
Cllr Evans reported that the overall income position was £1,914,697 (against a prudent budget of £1,474,800) whilst expenditure was £1,816,684 (against a budget of £1,474,800). This had resulted in a surplus of income over expenditure of £98,013. However, this was not a straight surplus with some £290,322 required to be transferred to earmarked reserves (as budgeted or ringfenced) and there was £191,850 or reserves designated for capital projects undertaken during the year used as expected.
Council reviewed the following documents
The 2022/23 Income and Expenditure Outturn at Appendix D; the Bank Reconciliation and Balances at 31st March at Appendix E; the final Internal Auditor’s Report for the Year Ended 31 March 2023at Appendix F; the Report and Financial Statements for 2022/23 and earmarked reserves at 31st March 2023 at Appendix G; the variances list between 2021/22 and 2022/23 Annual Returns at Appendix H; the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1 of Annual Governance andAccountability Return atAppendix I.
Council welcomed the report of the Independent Internal Auditor and agreed all the points within it. The movement in earmarked reserves following the capital projects undertaken during the year and new requirements (including some provision for the update of the Neighbourhood Plan, and provision for improving the visitor experience at Farnham Museum following the improvements being carried out.) were agreed.
Council agreed to approve the Annual Governance and Accountability Return for the Year Ended31st March 2023 for signature and submission for External Audit, and thanked the Town Clerk, the Bookkeeper and Accountant for the work done.
It was RESOLVED nem con that the:
1) report at Appendix B be adopted;
2) 2022-23 Outturn at the end of an exceptional year be welcomed;
3) the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1 of the Annual Governance and
Accountability Return, page 4) be approved;
4) Internal Auditor’s report be welcomed and the recommendations agreed;
5) updated Asset Register be approved;
6) Report and Financial Statements for 2022-23 be adopted for signature;
7) variances list for the Annual Return be agreed;
8) General and Earmarked Reserves be agreed with the addition of the Pledge for£10,000 for Farnham Museum to improve the visitor experience to be met fromthe CIL Earmarked Reserve;
9) Annual Governance and Accountability Return and associated papers be approvedfor signature and submission to the External Auditor.
10) Period for the Exercise of Public Rights be from 12th June to 21st July.