External Audit Confirms Sound Financial Management at South Tyneside Council
The latest independent external audit report for South Tyneside Council confirms that the organisation has proper arrangements in place to secure economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in its use of resources.
The Council's audit committee will be presented with the 2020/21 external annual audit letter at their next meeting, on Monday 6 March 2023. This is the most recent external audit report and is in accordance with the normal audit process.
The independent external audit report did not identify any risks of significant weaknesses in the Council's Value For Money (VFM) arrangements. It confirmed that the Council has approved and adopted a Constitution, which is consistent with the principles of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
Cllr Joanne Bell, Lead Member for Governance, Finance and Corporate Services at South Tyneside Council said: "This is the most recent annual audit letter that has been published. The Council has a track record of achieving its budget and achieving savings and our independent external auditors have highlighted that.
"The statement accepts that historically the Council has continuously achieved underspends thanks to tight and prudent financial planning arrangements."
Through the Council's Medium-Term Financial Plan, the Council adopts a risk-based approach which looks at both internal and external factors that could impact on service delivery. Aligning spend to strategic and statutory priorities, these risks are managed on a continuous rolling basis.
The auditors noted the challenging financial pressures for Local Government and that those are unlikely to ease in the years ahead. There is a need for the Council to have proper arrangements in place to manage its resources and deliver services. The fact that the Council are proactively monitoring and amending the budget where deemed necessary demonstrates that their arrangements are sufficient enough to address the financial pressures experienced.
When setting the financial plan, the Council identifies potential pressures and takes a prudent and forward-looking stance from which it can then make decisions to achieve sustainable finances supportive of the provision of service. The Council also understands the importance of working in partnership to achieve its goals
While central government provided the Council with significant levels of funding during 2020/21 to support the additional costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government also set an expectation that councils should raise council tax and the adult social care precept by the maximum amount available to cover the financial gap.