We're making it easier for residents to understand our finances

Would you like to know how the Council spends its money? We’ve created a short summary of our 2022/23 accounts so you can see how we spend public funds.

This is a new idea which has been brought in this year by the Council’s Audit and Governance Committee.

You can view the summary below, which offers a straightforward breakdown of how we spent our money to deliver Council services.

We are in a good financial position. There was a small surplus of £57,000 (0.5%) generated against a net budget of £10.464m for the 2022/23 financial year.

The Council faced additional costs and a shortfall of income of £1.92m during 2022/23. Many of these costs were a result of the current economic climate with high inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

There was also the exceptional one-off cost of £1.5m for bringing the Council’s waste and recycling service back in-house in October 2022. The £1.5m was funded from reserves. There has been a huge improvement in performance for the waste and recycling service since it was brought in-house. The Council has also now completed the roll out of its full collection service, including collections for food waste across the South Hams, meaning all residents are now recycling the same materials.

The extra costs and shortfall in planning income of £0.35m were offset by the Council generating additional investment income. This income of £1.02m took advantage of high interest rates and came from the careful planning and management of the Council’s cash funds. The Council also received more income from its car parks and the Dartmouth Lower Ferry, along with income from its business units.

Despite all these additional costs and pressures caused by the wider economic situation, the authority has finished the year in a strong financial position.

The Council’s full accounts show all of the precise details. The accounts are currently unaudited and the Council’s external auditors, Grant Thornton, are now in the process of completing the audit of the accounts. 

Cllr Lee Bonham, chair of the Council’s Audit and Governance Committee, said: “As a Council we want to be transparent, so having complex information on our finances be summarised in this way makes how we spend your money easy to understand and clear.

“This is the first time that the Council has has provided this information in this way. We want to make it easier for people to understand the way we operate and how we are spending public funds.

“We’re working hard to overcome many of the problems facing the district, including the housing crisis, the cost-of-living crisis, and the climate change and biodiversity emergency.

“To have worked on such a broad series of challenges, to have brought the waste service back in-house and found ourselves in the strong financial position we’re in is a great credit to our Councillors and our staff.”

Cllr Alison Nix, the committee’s vice-chair, added: “So much was achieved in 2022/23. The Council has worked incredibly hard to serve the people of the South Hams, so to end the fiscal year in a good financial position means the future is looking positive for the district.

“It’s good that we can present our accounts in a more easily read format, and shows how the Council responds to the feedback we get from you, our residents.” 

You can read the summary on the Council's Accounts Page or download the document below.

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