Issue - meetings

Section 24 Update

Meeting: 29/10/2019 - Executive (Item 51)

51 Section 24 Update pdf icon PDF 109 KB

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The Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Resources presented an update on the Council’s response to the Section 24 Notice that was issued by the authority’s external auditors, Grant Thornton.  The response had already been considered and approved by the Audit, Governance and Standards

Committee in September and that Committee would be receiving a further update at a meeting on 31st October 2019.


The Council had a balanced budget for 2019/20 however, from 2020/21 onwards there were significant financial pressures.  A number of savings had already been made for 2020/21.  Non-essential spend had been stopped, there had been a vacancy freeze and a review of reserves and managers’ ability to override budgets where no funds remained available had ceased.  There was a need to reduce the Council’s overheads, arising form support services.  Whilst unidentified savings had been included in the budget for 2019/20 Officers were aiming to ensure that there would be no further unidentified savings included in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) in future years.


The financial position in subsequent years remained challenging.  In the past the Council had approved a balanced budget for the first year but not for the subsequent three years in the plan.  However, the external auditors had clarified that the Council would be expected to have a balanced budget for the full four-year period of the plan.  Difficult decisions would be required from Members in order to achieve a balanced budget.


Members discussed the report and the progress that had been made in terms of addressing the points that had been raised by the external auditors in the Section 24 Notice.  The external auditors had been kept informed about the Council’s plans and would continue to engage through meetings with the Portfolio Holders, senior Officers and through attendance at meetings of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee.  Different views were subsequently shared by Members in respect of the reasons why the Council had been issued with a Section 24 Notice and the decisions that might need to be taken to balance the budget moving forward.




the Council’s responses to the Section 24 recommendations, as approved by the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee on 26th September 2019, be noted.