Council’s accounts “are nothing short of a dog’s breakfast”

They are nothing short of a dog’s breakfast” says Chris a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), “and I’m being polite. How anyone can even present these as a draft statement of accounts is beyond me.

On the 22 Sept 2022, we published Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Draft Statement of Accounts for 2021/22, in this blog post; which you can download for free. The image from page 24 – Movement in Reserves Statement – can be seen below

On the 24 Jan Folkestone & Hythe District Council published another set Draft Statement of Accounts for 2021/22. Again they published the Movement in Reserves Statement, moved to page 25.

The two images below are both taken from the accounts. The first image is for the accounts published in Sept 2022, the second image from the accounts published in Jan 2023. Both images show the Movement in Reserves Statement:

Can you spot the differences? If not then look more closely at the Jan 2023 image and you see the following:


but you won’t find it in the Sept image.

The #REF! error shows when a Excel formula refers to a cell that’s not valid. This happens most often when cells that were referenced by formulas get deleted, or pasted over.

It’s used 11 times in the Jan published accounts for 2021/22. Also five Balances at 31st March 2022 carried forward, are now missing, whereas in the Sept 2022 image you will find them.

It’s clear £245m of total reserves have vanished (see total reserves in Sept image and compare to Jan image) . How we simply don’t know.

Is it incompetence, or is there another explanation. if so we’d love to hear it, wouldn’t you?

Now do you understand why a fully qualified CIPFA account is saying that Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Draft Statement of Accounts for 2021/22, as published on the 24 Jan 2023, are a dogs breakfast?

Are the Council Cooking the Books?

We know the current Chief Finance Officer (s151 officer), Charlotte Spendley, who is responsible for the accounts is leaving the building. We know she has given her resignation and ceases employment at the Council in March 2023

Before she leaves the building, Mrs Spendley, a Statutory Officer of the Council, with a fiduciary duty to ratepayers, will need to publish a third set of accounts; which will mean another hat trick of own goals by Folkestone & Hythe District Council. Regardless of the embarrassment caused, let’s hope and pray she will correct the Draft Statement of Accounts 2021/22, as residents have a right to know what the Balances for the reserves are.

It is not just contract or financial irregularities which affect our Council. It is now account irregularities as well, which takes these ongoing irregularities to a whole new level.

Does the proverb “Fish rot from the head down” now ring even truer?

We’ll leave you to decide that.

There are other inconsistencies between the two sets of accounts published by Folkestone & Hythe District Council, and we will be highlighting them in the coming days and weeks.

The Shepway Vox Team

The Velvet Voices of Voxatiousness

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1 Comment on Council’s accounts “are nothing short of a dog’s breakfast”

  1. I wonder if when they read these accounts out in the Council Chamber in the background is someone playing the theme to Jackanory?

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