MID DEVON District Council’s finances have been given the all-clear by external auditors, with no major issues uncovered, but a small drop in the authority’s reserves.

The accounts for the 2022/23 financial year have now been signed off by Grant Thornton.

The process of signing the accounts off has taken longer than usual because the audit process was paused in November following the decision two months before in September to close the council’s controversial property development company 3 Rivers Developments.

This decision meant that 3 Rivers could no longer be considered as a going concern that would continue trading, and so the impacts of that needed to be reflected in the council’s accounts.

The council confirmed there had been an overspend of £190,000 compared to its initial budget for the year under review, meaning that its general reserves had dropped from just over £2.2 million to just over £2 million at the end of March last year.

Andrew Jarrett, the council’s deputy chief executive, said because the general reserves remained above the £2 million limit set by councillors, there was “no cause for concern”.

“The clean, unqualified opinion from our auditors is what we wanted and reflects the hard work of our officers in managing spending carefully, and it shows our processes are robust and fit for purpose,” he said.

“Our reserves give us the financial strength to manage risk appropriately.”

Julie Masci, a key audit partner at Grant Thornton, told the Mid Devon District Council’s audit committee that the outcome of her analysis was good for the council.

“Our overall opinion is unqualified, which is positive,” she said.

Ms Masci said only minor issues had to be raised, including encompassing capital linked to 3 Rivers that now fell under the council’s control.

Other than that, the auditor noted a £62,000 unrecorded expenditure had been found, but that this was not a material concern, and outlined that the value of the council’s headquarters at Phoenix House had been slightly overvalued due to a rounding error.

The building was supposed to be valued at £3.55 million rather than £3.75 million.

By Bradley Gerrard