Council loses £21m


Staff reporter

A CASH-strapped council has found itself £21 million  less well-off than it thought.

The clanger was discovered by Denbighshire County Council staff just before its annual audit.

In a report considered by the authority's corporate governance committee on Monday (September 27) the head of finance and assets Roger Parry said the audit was virtually complete but a revised set of accounts had been prepared.

"A significant error was made in the valuation of the council's assets," he said.

"Along with other adjustments this has meant a £21m (3.5 per cent) reduction in the assets shown on the council's balance sheet.

"The error was picked up internally prior to the audit commencing but after the draft accounts had been produced.

"Now that the valuations department has moved into the finance department a full review of all the procedures is being undertaken and a significantly improved process will be implemented for the 2010-2011 accounts production."

A council spokeswoman explained later that the discrepancy had occurred because of an error on a spreadsheet where some assets had been double-counted.

"It was a simple mistake relating to this year's figures," she said.

The error had no effect on the council's financial position, she continued.

"The error was spotted and corrected, then the auditors reviewed it and are happy there are no problems with the figures.

"A review is already underway in the department that supplied the figures and there will be changes to the processes to ensure the mistake is not repeated," she added.

See full story in the Free Press

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