Unusable reserves

I have been trawling my way through SOUTHEND-ON-SEA BOROUGH COUNCIL STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2011/12.

This is not an exciting read, and neither is an easy one – especially for someone like me who is not an accountant.

I was intrigued by the term ‘unusable reserves’, especially as these had been reduced by the colossal sum of £180,450,000 in just two years. Bearing in mind that whatever the Council owns is owned on behalf of the tax-payers of the Borough, this loss equates to over a thousand pounds per resident.

Here are some numbers regarding the total value of the unusable reserves for the last three years:

At 31 March 2010 these were £512,961,000.

At 31 March 2011 these were £478,387,000.

At 31 March 2012 these were £332,511,000.

Here is a breakdown of the unusable reserves:

2011 2012
Revaluation reserve £114,533,000 £129,224,000
Available for Sale Financial Instrument Reserve £19,000 £4,000
Capital Adjustment Account £490,838,000 £387,088,000
Pensions Reserve -£126,315,000 -£183,349,000
Collection Fund Adjustment Account £1,922,000 £2,248,000
Accumulated Absences Account -£2,610,000 -£2,704,000
total £478,387,000 £332,511,000

The really big move is in the Capital Adjustment Account. I am still puzzled as to what this really is – I will keep digging.

There is an interesting section on council salaries in the accounts. With all the fuss being made over MPs salaries recently, it is interesting to note that 22 of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s employees earn more than an MP.


End of year tasks

I am just about to embark on the writing of my end of year report for the Southend Labour Club and Institute, the body that owns and runs the Southend Labour Hall at 268 Sutton Road. I am its Secretary, but my secretarial report is not due until the AGM, which is held halfway through the year. I am also the Assistant Treasurer, and it is report for that role I am about to write. I think I am quite thorough in my role and so imagine that this will take only a morning to complete.

My experience tells me that accounts usually run against the calendar year. I have three other reports to complete in the coming month as I am also treasurer for the Southend West Constituency Labour Party, Southend Against The Cuts and the Southend Group of Amnesty International. Additionally, I am Secretary for the Leigh Branch Labour Party, and the AGM for this body is on January 11th – notices will have to be sent out.