Wirral Council’s auditors Grant Thornton issue adverse value for money conclusion on 2019–20 accounts
By John Brace (Editor) and Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)
First publication date: 11th January 2021, 11:51 (GMT)
Tonight (11th January 2021) Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee meets to agree to both its own accounts for 2019–20 and that of the Merseyside Pension Fund (Wirral Council is the Administering Authority for the Merseyside Pension Fund). The legal deadline for final audited local council accounts for 2019-20 was put back to the end of November 2020 because of the pandemic but Wirral Council is set to approve its accounts for 2019-20 considerably later than this deadline.
Wirral Council’s auditors Grant Thornton on page 5 of their report in their determination of whether Wirral Council “has made proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources” which is known as “the value for money (VFM) conclusion” has determined for the 2019–20 financial year that Wirral Council have not made proper value for money arrangements. Their report states, “We have concluded that Wirral Council does not have proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources. We therefore anticipate issuing an adverse value for money conclusion”.
Later in their report, Wirral Council’s auditors point out that the 2019-20 Revenue Budget included £7 million from the flexible use of capital receipts (generally the sale of land and buildings), but there were warnings from Wirral Council’s auditors three years ago that the use of one-off amounts from capital receipts to support Wirral Council’s Revenue budget was not financially sustainable.
An example of a capital receipt that Wirral Council may receive is the proposed £820,000 from the controversial sale of land in Upton to Lidl for a supermarket. At the time of writing 990 people have signed a petition of opposition to the sale and the consultation period for objections to the sale of the land closed last Friday (8th January 2021).
Wirral Council is at the time of writing is also consulting on its 2021–22 Budget, one of the proposals for the 2021–22 Budget is to close Europa Pools which has attracted a petition of objection of 3,835 people at the time of writing.
The public meeting of Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee can be watched at this link. The papers for the public meeting can be read on Wirral Council’s website.
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