‘Accounts in order’ says SBC – but their External Auditor still ‘unable to determine’

Accounts for SBC are ‘in order’ says Scarborough Borough Councillor

A SBC Councillor has moved to assure the public that the authority’s accounts are “in order” despite not being signed off for a fourth year running due to a legal challenge.

“Cllr Helen Mallory (Con) told yesterday’s Audit Committee meeting that the challenge to the authority was just one part of the council’s overall accounts and that everything else is as it should be. The council’s 2017/18, 2016/17 and 2015/16 accounts have all been held up as the council is locked in a legal challenge with a group of residents over how it classifies income from Whitby harbour. “Now, the 2018/19 accounts have also been caught up in the row.

“The challenge has come from the Fight4Whitby pressure group which launched a legal challenge in 2016 citing the 1905 Whitby Urban District Council Act, which states that income from Whitby harbour must be ring-fenced for use within the harbour.

“Scarborough Council denies this is the case and is now in the process of making a Harbour Revision Order to clearly set out the boundary of the Whitby Harbour and council land. The order would not affect the historic position relating to the accounts but could help to resolve the issue.

“Cllr Mallory told the audit committee that she hoped to clear up the situation to keep the public informed. She added: “I just want to emphasise that the accounts are in order and have been for the last three years and there isn’t any challenge to the actual accounts per se, it is just about the definition of the harbour land and where it sits in the accounts.”

“Auditors Mazars said it was not in a position to make a determination on the objection. Whitby councillor David Chance (Con) said he hoped the situation could be resolved quickly.”

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With thanks and acknowledgements to the Editor, Whitby Gazette where this was published last week.

You may think this begs a few questions:

Just how quickly is ‘quickly’?

If everything is in order, then why has their auditor not signed-off the SBC accounts for the past 4 years? FOUR years!

If just one part of the accounts is not acceptable to the auditor, how can the accounts be ‘in order’?

Who would lend £22 million to any organisation that has not had its annual accounts signed-off for 4 years?

How much would a Harbour Revision Order cost?

How long would it take?

What is SBC really trying to achieve?

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