New report highlights progress but ‘room for improvement’ in States Annual Accounts

24th July 2020

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has issued its report today on the States Annual Report and Accounts for 2019, acknowledging the success of delivering an enhanced document earlier than in previous years but advising there is still room for improvement.   

The PAC recognises the success of delivering an enhanced Annual Report and Accounts with an unqualified audit opinion earlier than in previous years, despite the challenging circumstances outlined above. However it is pleased to note that the Chief Executive has acknowledged that there are still areas to be improved, including:

  • Early confirmation of JFReM, accounting policies and critical judgements
  • Early confirmation of the structure and content of the primary statements and notes
  • Embedding process improvements
  • Better engagement with the auditor

When it commenced its review into the processes and preparation of the States Annual Report and Accounts 2019, PAC was aware there were several factors which could have adversely impacted its quality and/or timeliness:

  • A new external auditor (Deloitte LLP) had been appointed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) in 2019 and would need more time to familiarise itself with the complex States Accounts;
  • There was extensive restructuring within the Treasury and Exchequer department;
  • New legislation including the Public Finances (Jersey) Law 2019 and the Public Finances Manual had been introduced in 2019;
  • A new version of the Jersey Financial Reporting Manual (JFReM) had been adopted in March 2020;
  • The Risk and Audit Committee had been inquorate for several months during 2019.

The Chairman of the PAC said:

"I am firmly of the view that the public should know how its money is spent by those who are entrusted to spend it. The public deserves accurate, timely and high-quality annual reports and accounts which present clearly the Government's aims, activities, functions and performance. The Government (and its officers) should conform to the highest standards of practice and provide clear and concise explanations for how funding has been used to achieve objectives.". 

You can read the full report here.

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