Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), has today qualified the financial accounts of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) over how the Council has accounted for two of its sponsored institutes, the Institute of Food Research and the Babraham Institute.
The results of these two sponsored bodies have not been consolidated in the Council’s financial statements for 2009-2010. The audit opinion of the C&AG is that, under the newly applied International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), these bodies should be treated as subsidiaries of the Council and therefore their financial results should have been consolidated in the Council’s statements.
Under the existing arrangements, the BBSRC has control over the appointment and removal of the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Food Research and the Babraham Institute. While in practice the BBSRC does not seek to influence the operations of its institutes, and actions have been taken in recent years with a view to increasing their independence, the Council’s intentions are not relevant to current accounting regulations and therefore these two bodies are deemed to be subsidiaries. The BBSRC intends to move all Institutes to an independent governance structure from April 2011.
The Council accepts in principle that the two bodies should be consolidated under the new accounting requirements, but did not consider it cost-effective to make the necessary accounting adjustments to consolidate the bodies into its 2009-10 financial statements, given the changes it expects to make to the governance arrangements in the near future.
Apart from this issue, the C&AG is satisfied that the 2009-10 accounts have been prepared in accordance with the appropriate accounting and reporting requirements.
4 April 2011