Finance and budgets

Statement of Accounts

The Statement of Accounts is a statutory document and provides information on the transactions relating to the provision of services by Harlow Council.

External Audits

These reports by the Council's independent auditors provide the opinion of the auditor on the Statement of Accounts.

Statement of Accounts - Public Inspection Notice

The public have certain legal rights which allow them to inspect Harlow Council’s accounts. When the council has finalised the accounts for the previous financial year, usually towards the end of June, we advertise that they are available for electors to look at. This advertisement, the notice of public rights, is placed on this website and in the local press. The notice gives details of a period of 20 working days during which you may look at the accounts and supporting documentation. You can download the draft statement of accounts or ask us for a copy. You can also obtain copies of any relevant documents, although there may be a copying charge. If you are entitled to vote in local elections for members of Harlow Council you can also:

  • ask the external auditor questions about the accounts for the year that they are auditing. However, the auditor does not have to answer questions about anything that is not relevant to the accounts. The notice of public rights will explain how you can do this.
  • challenge the accounts: if you think that the council has spent money unlawfully you can object to the accounts by sending the auditor a formal written notice of objection. You may also object if you think that there is something in the accounts that the auditor should formally tell the public in a public interest report. The notice of public rights gives details of who you should send your objection to.

Further information: If you need more detail you should refer to the Audit Commission's publication Councils' accounts: your rights. As well as describing your rights in relation to the statement of accounts it also explains the rights you have at other times to give the auditor information.

Budget Books

Budget books are the proposed spend for the provision of services by Harlow Council for the next financial year.

Budget monitoring

The Joint Finance and Performance Reports include information on projects, performance indicators and the Council’s finances.

Fees and charges

The Council obtains income from fees and charges levied for providing some services. The Government determines some of these charges but there are a number of areas where the Council has discretion as to whether to levy a charge, and, if it decides to do so, the level of that charge.

Grants

The provision of grant aid provides core funding and supports organisations that receive it to undertake work aligned to the Council’s priorities. More information on grants to the voluntary community and social enterprise sector.

Medium Term Finance Strategy

Each year Full Council approves The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), which provides the parameters for the Council’s revenue spending and capital investment plans for the next five year period.

Treasury Management

The Treasury Management Strategy is approved by full Council each year at the same time as the Council’s budget is set. The strategy contains plans for how the Council will carry out its investment activities in such a way that its cash balances are kept as safe as possible, remain available when required and can earn some income to help the Council to deliver its services. The Council’s borrowing plans are also set out in the strategy, which are required to provide funding for spending on capital projects.

The Council is required to follow a professional code of practice and regulations set out by the government. The code of practice originates from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the regulations are issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The Council conducts a mid-year review of its Treasury Management Strategy, and these are also available as a supplement to the main strategy.

Internal Audit

The Council’s Internal Audit service is provided by a small team of in-house auditors led by an audit manager shared with Broxbourne Borough Council. The Internal Audit service is a key element of the Council’s governance framework, providing an assurance function on the Council’s control environment. The annual work programme is developed through applying a risk based assessment to the Council’s activities and consulting with the management team and External Audit. The Internal Audit Plan is then approved by the Audit & Standards Committee, who monitor the results of this work and receive an annual report. The Internal Audit terms of reference provide details of the scope and objectives of the service along with organisational responsibilities. Internal Audit co-ordinate the submission and analysis of data to support the Audit Commission’s National fraud Initiative

Insurance

If you are thinking of making a claim against Harlow Council due to a personal injury or damage to your property or for incidents involving a Council insured vehicle please see how to make an insurance claim.