Reigate & Banstead Borough Council is still to publish its draft accounts for 2020/21, having missed a deadline to do so by the first working day of August last year.
Authorities such as Reigate & Banstead have to publish their draft accounts by that date under the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
Of the eleven boroughs and districts within Surrey, seven met the August deadline, while a further two managed to publish by mid-November, according to research by reigate.uk.
Reigate & Banstead is one of only two councils in Surrey to still not have published.
Asked about the delay, a Reigate & Banstead spokesperson said: “The draft accounts for 2020/21 have not yet been published, primarily due to the competing demands of the COVID-19 pandemic on the in-house team’s capacity.
“In addition it was agreed with our auditors last year we would allocate time to carry out additional work as part of the 2020/21 year-end to restructure the supporting records and systems relating to the authority’s fixed assets; this has required considerable additional effort to complete as a one-off exercise but will help ensure that the accounts are supported by comprehensive records going forward.
“This work is now nearing completion and we expect to have published the accounts and completed their audit by the summer.”
Reigate & Banstead’s slippage comes despite the Government last year extending the annual deadline in the regulations from the start of June to the start of August, for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 years, to help councils with Covid pressures.
Publication of the draft (unaudited) accounts by Reigate & Banstead will kick off the usual 30 day window in which the public can look at the accounts, ask questions and request certain related information.
The accounts will appear on a council webpage, which is currently displaying an official notice of the delay.
After the period for inspection, Reigate & Banstead will subsequently publish a finalised and audited version of the accounts. That second stage was supposed to happen by the end of last September, but only 9% of authorities in England managed that, with a lack of external audit resource among the factors listed by bodies such as the Local Government Association.