Looking at Item 70 - the Treasury Management Report 2020-21, there are some marked differences between this report and what has been approved and recommended to Executive by the Audit Committee. This appears to be in Appendix A. There appears to have been an extra £1.06 million added from Commercial Properties and £0 from the Town Centre Regeneration. These items do not appear in previous reports and were not part of the review by Audit.
As the Audit Committee constitutionally has the responsibility for monitoring Treasury Management decisions to ensure compliance with the approved Treasury Management Strategy, when is this updated report being brought before the Audit Committee for review and approval?
The report reviewed by the Audit Committee is at Appendix A and has been passed on to the Executive as required in the Constitution to the covering report. Audit Committee is required to review progress against the treasury management indicators, which they did, and note further information in the report.
The Executive is required to:
“note Appendix A, the Treasury Management Mid-Year report which was agreed at Audit Committee on 23rd November 2020”.
This states quite clearly in the covering report recommendations and furthermore is covered in more detail in the second paragraph of the executive summary.
Therefore, the report that the Audit Committee debated and agreed democratically is the one being presented to the Council and does not need to be presented back to the Audit Committee.
However, it is certainly prudent to update the Council and residents of the broader position, particularly given the recent media debate around the cost of debt to the local taxpayer of the Council’s treasury portfolio. So, wherever the Treasury Mid-Year report quite rightly demonstrates the level of supported debt that is funded from its regeneration, investment and self-financing schemes, it did not give the wider picture as to how much additional income is generated from its regeneration and investment programmes for the Council to be used in support of its revenue budgets, allowing it to continue to support the delivery of services for its residents.
That is why the covering report contains this information, not to replace or contradict the report agreed at Audit, but to provide more completeness and transparency for the residents of the Borough. I would also like to add that this income steam will not only continue but will increase as debt is repaid.
This enhanced information showing a more rounded position will, however, be reported to the future Audit Committee in line with our six-monthly reporting.
It has never appeared in any of the Treasury Management reports before and it has suddenly appeared now and this is after the Audit Committee approved this report. I do not understand why it was not brought to the Audit Committee at that particular time and why it has suddenly been added because it is something new. So my question then becomes who has the authority to add this information after the report has been approved by the Audit Committee because I think there is something very wrong going on here?
As I said this was actually to complete, to actually add more transparency to the report and enhance the information showing a more rounded position. It will however be reported to the future Audit Committees in line with our six monthly reporting. The reason it is there is to add to transparency so people can actually see the transparency of that information. I regret that it has never been there before, it should have been, and it is there now.