MEMBERS of Cumberland Council have been given an update on progress being made with outstanding accounts of the former Copeland Council.

Earlier this year it was revealed that they could be signed off by next month (August) and on Tuesday (July 9) councillors were presented with the annual report from the council's audit committee at the Civic Centre in Carlisle.

Regarding the internal audit the report states: "The committee received reports on the work undertaken by internal audit to complete audit plans for each of the legacy councils, including receiving audit reports for Allerdale (two), Carlisle (one) and Copeland (two).

"Final head of internal audit opinions were also received for Allerdale (reasonable assurances) and Carlisle (reasonable assurances), as well as a draft opinion for Copeland (partial assurances)."

And regarding an external audit it adds: "The Committee received regular updates on progress made against the 2022/23 audits of accounts for each of the legacy authorities, as well as the audit of Cumberland’s Accounts for 2023/24. Sector updates were also provided for information.

"On March 25, 2024, the committee received outstanding reports in relation to Copeland Borough Council for the annual value for money opinions for 2019/20 and 2020/21 and 2021/22 and 2222/23 and the audit findings report for 2018/19 accounts.

"The Committee continued to monitor progress made against the completion of the remaining outstanding accounts for Copeland."

In May members of the audit committee were told that the council had spoken with the Department for Levelling Up (DLUC) and she had been informed that they were not expecting them to all be signed off.

At the time members of the committee were concerned what impact the situation would have on Cumberland Council and felt they should have been better informed of the situation.

Members were told that the external auditors were following a programme of work to get assurance over the accounts.

In March, the former Copeland Council was the subject of a damning report by external auditors found its financial reports to be ‘one of the worst’ they’ve seen.

Councillors noted and accepted the contents of the annual report at Tuesday's meeting.