Concerns have been raised about delays getting the accounts of Norfolk's biggest council signed off - at a time when a number of local authorities have been declaring bankruptcy.

Councillors across the political spectrum at Norfolk County Council criticised the authority's auditors Ernst and Young over the hold-up in getting the audit of County Hall's accounts for 2021/22 completed.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquartersNorfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters (Image: Mike Page)

That delay has meant the Conservative-controlled council has not been able to publish its accounts - when local authority finances are under the spotlight due to the perilous state of some councils.

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And it prompted criticism from county councillors, who stressed how important it is to know that the authority's accounts are robust and transparent.

Eastern Daily Press: Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County CouncilSteve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council (Image: Archant)

Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group, said: "This is not information that is optional. This is the bedrock stuff that we base decisions on.

"The public sector is not in good shape at the moment in terms of finances, so this is more important than it has ever been."

Eastern Daily Press: Conservative county councillor Karen VincentConservative county councillor Karen Vincent (Image: Archant)

Conservative councillor Karen Vincent said: "It is a real concern in being able to demonstrate to our residents that we are prudently managing their money, but also the impact it is having on our officers."

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Debbie Hanson, from Ernst and Young, told the county council the delays - which have also affected other councils - were due to national technical accounting issues around infrastructure assets and because of an update over pension valuations.

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She apologised and said: "I've been in public sector audit for 30 years and I've never been in a position like this, so I think this is unique to everybody."

The state of council coffers has come to the fore in recent weeks.

Birmingham City Council recently declared it could not balance its books, while councils in Hackney, Northamptonshire, Croydon, Thurrock and Woking have previously issued section 114 notices - effectively declaring them bankrupt.