Amyas Morse, Comptroller and Auditor General, has for the first time provided a clear audit opinion on the financial statements of HM Courts and Tribunals Service. He has today reported to Parliament that HM Courts and Tribunals Service has significantly improved its ability to report on fines, penalties and confiscation orders.

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HMCTS collected more than £518 million in fines, penalties and confiscation orders during 2013-14.

HMCTS’s Trust Statement was first published in respect of the 2010-11 financial year, and the C&AG was not able to offer an opinion on its truth and fairness. This was mainly because the systems used to process fines, penalties and confiscation orders had very limited reporting functionality, and were not designed to support the preparation of financial statements.

The C&AG qualified his opinion for the year 2012-13 on the financial statements because HMCTS was unable to provide evidence for transactions or balances relating to fixed penalties or comparative cash balances.

Significant developments in 2013-14 include:

  • HMCTS being able to provide sufficient evidence in respect of all reported cash flows and balances
  • Backlogs related to the legacy fixed penalty systems being cleared during 2013-14, and management being able to use the new system to report accruals based balances.

HMCTS plan to make significant changes to the systems supporting fines and confiscation orders in the next few years, alongside the outsourcing of enforcement and recovery. For these and any other further developments, management will need to ensure that changes made continue to support a robust financial reporting process.



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