Decision Maker: Audit Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Chair invited the Strategic Manager – Chief Accountant to introduce this report that provided progress on the recovery of outstanding debts (monies owed to the Council) and the current performance.
It was noted that services’ total outstanding debt reported on the Accounts Receivable system stood at £16.577mas at 30 April 2019. This compared with a figure of £11.355m at the same point last year, and represented a sizeable increase from £12.883m, which was the 31 December 2018 figure in the last report to the Committee. The percentage of debts over 90 days at 30 April 2019 was 13.87%, which represents an increase on 30 April 2018 which stood at 9.11%, and 12.00%, at 31 December 2018.
Members heard that SWAP had finalised its 2018/2019 Accounts Receivable audit in March 2019 and had again offered only Partial Assurance which had been disappointing given that the Income Code of Practice has been in force for over a year, and that Accounts Receivable staff have provided significant training to Debt Chasers, often tailored to specific services’ needs.
Despite this, the auditor does not consider any of the recommendations made to be highest priority. The main concern raised is that services and their Debt Chasers are still failing to deliver the actions required under the Income Code of Practice in a prompt and on-going manner. (The Accounts Receivable staff have previously focussed their training and guidance efforts to services that have been non-complaint).
There was a brief discussion and it was noted collection rates and amounts owed did fluctuate, and each report represented a snap shot in time and it was more appropriate to focus on treads and trajectory and this indicated that processes and performance was now more consistent. There was a question about if there was an alert system and it was explained there were several indicators that could assist Officers and there were a range of indicators that had helped to improve collections.
The report was accepted and it was noted that Officers were mindful of pursuing debts in an appropriate way and they would not seek to recover those debts not recoverable.
Publication date: 09/07/2019
Date of decision: 20/06/2019
Decided at meeting: 20/06/2019 - Audit Committee