The Audit Committee of Wrexham Council meets today (Thursday) with the current Statement of Accounts of the Council on the agenda.
The report and accounts , viewable here on the Council’s website as a PDF, covers the period from April 2013 to the end of March this year. Below we have selected some areas of interest from the accounts, plus a lengthy bulletpoint list of notes.
An overview is detailed of capital expenditure totalling £45.14m is given , showing both where it was spent and how it was financed:
The Council is required to disclose the number of employees whose remuneration excluding pension contributions was £60k or more, this does not include ‘Senior Officers’ which table is viewable on page 22 of the PDF.
The number of ‘exit packages’ with total cost per band and total cost of the compulsory and other redundancies are set out in the table below.
A lengthy but interesting note to the above reads: “In regards to the above exit packages, 38 officers have had the terms under which they will be leaving the Council agreed in 2013/14, but their physical leaving will not occur until the 2014/15 financial year; the total provision for these committed liabilities being £598k. At a meeting of the Executive Board on 14 January 2014, and following a review of the Library, Information and Community Centre services, members approved the re-shaping of these services resulting in 10 officers to leave the Council during 2014/15. In addition, the Leisure Service Review undertaken by The Sports Consultancy recommended a strategy for the service which was approved by members of the Executive Board at a meeting on 11 March 2014. The review’s recommendations included the closure of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre and the resultant review of the staffing arrangements in the provision of the leisure services in general led to the agreement for 12 officers to leave during 2014/15.”
As with most sets of accounts the general notes and explanatory notes are often the most interesting, below are a few we have picked out, although the whole document is worth a read!
The below refers to the page numbers in the PDF we have linked to , rather than the page numbers on the accounts itself. This is due to the accounts being below explanatory notes and meeting information in the PDF.
- During the year the Council sold Council Dwellings of £1,387k and other assets of £782k which included Berthengron Farm (£330k), land at Ridley Wood (£125k), land at Stimmey Heath (£24k), land at Glan Gors (£85k) and Ruabon Offices (£218k).
- The Council’s principal loan debt at 31 March 2014 was £126.1m.
- The Council entered into a twelve year contract with First Group in June 2002 for the provision of school transport. The agreement involved the operation of ten yellow American style school buses (purchase cost £819k) at a cost of £1,900 per day (plus inflation). The Council has been unable to obtain detailed information from the contractor (now Stagecoach) to make an assessment as to whether the contract contains the substance of a lease and which would therefore result in the the vehicles and corresponding liability being included on the Council’s Balance Sheet.
- An unexpectedly large claim for compensation has been received from a landowner affected by a Welsh Government grant funded road scheme. No provision has been made for such payments as they would ordinarily be met by the Welsh Government as part of the scheme.
- The long awaited ‘Council TV’ webcasting is noted for £57k in the accounts, yet only £6k the year after, so we would imagine it will not be long lasting.
- The Council has no ‘investment properties’.
- Private Finance Initiative also known as public–private partnerships costs are mentioned with an RPI link, noted as “A 1% increase in the RPI will increase the unitary payments over the next twenty one years by £24.6m.”
- Page 37 of the PDF gives a break down of a 25 year PFI deal with FCC Environment totally £322,000,000 over the period.
- At 31 March 2014, the Council had a balance of ‘sundry debtors’ of £4.1m.
- A £166k payment is noted in Senior Officer pay, with a note that it “includes an amount of £68,365 paid to the Head of Environment Services on early retirement from the Authority on 31 March 2014”.
- There is a note stating that no employee is named as there is no employee paid over £150,000. The Chief Executive is not named, but is the highest paid at £113,000 pa with pension contributions of £27,000 listed.
- The Council commissioned works and services from one organisation to the value of £38k (£79k 2012/13), whose senior management included a close family member of a Member.
- The Pont Felin Puleston bridge strengthening work in this period is listed at £492k
- The valuation of ‘heritage assets’ for example at the museum have increased by £1000 , with the Civic Regalia being valued at £86k however we are unsure where or how you could buy a replacement! This is expanded upon in the notes where it is pointed out that although in some cases a replacement item could be bought it probably wouldn’t have the history attached, making the exercise pointless.
- There are four loans to voluntary bodies listed on page 30 of the PDF.
- Page 35 contains notes on ‘Contingent Liabilities’, which generally are possible liabilities depending on how a claim against the council proceeds eg. equal pay claims.
- Page 46 of the PDF lists the grants made to the Council and their sources, including the Welsh Government and Taith.
- The ‘members allowance’ aka Councillor Pay is listed at £908k in the accounts – we revealed in this article who was the only councillor to opt out of a raise.
The above bulletpoint list is a selection from the full accounts PDF (viewable here ), with the fuller document holding many more notes.
The 2012-13 accounts prompted an interesting debate on our Wrexham.com forums where people commented on the information and detailed elements they found. No doubt another will occur for this updated set – click here to enter the forums…
(Pic: Lots of money.)