SSDC Opium late accounts

At the end of 2020, South Somerset District Council proudly announced they had filed accounts. They told us they were the first authority in Somerset to do so. It is certainly an achievement of sorts. And full credit to the recently departed Jo Nacey. The council’s s151 officer who has left after just one year ion post.

We at Leveller® Towers have never been great fans of the race to produce accounts rapidly. Far better to focus on accurate accounts than to be first. Which is not to say SSDC sacrificed accuracy to be first. Far from it.

But we recognise that whether in the private or public sector it is “a thing.” Coca Cola for instance used to put great store on being able to complete a global audit and produce final accounts within 2 weeks of their year end.

However if you are going to boast about being first to file your accounts, you are going to draw attention to yourself. And so we noticed today that the accounts for SSDC Opium Power Limited are marked as overdue. The accounts are due for the year to 31 March 2020 and were due for filing by 31 March 2021. That ought to result in a late filing penalty.

Perhaps you are expecting SSDC’s standard defence of “it is all because of COVID 19? Well that won’t really wash. Firstly because the very much larger SSDC accounts were produced rapidly. And secondly because Companies House extended the filing deadline, specifically because of COVID 19. Company accounts should usually be filed 9 months after the year end. However during the COVID 19 crisis, accounts can be filed 12 months after the year end. That concession ended yesterday, but would still apply to SSDC Opium Power’s accounts. Yet still they are late.

So far the accounts are only a week late. But SSDC Opium is a subsidiary of South Somerset District Council. A fact confirmed by auditors Grant Thornton. This means that SSDC Opium’s figures would have had to be completed before December 2020. That is finalised and checked by the auditors.

So if the accounts were finalised in December, why have they not been filed? SSDC hold 50% of the shares of SSDC Opium Power Limited. However they have control as they have the casting vote on any board decision. The other 50% shareholder is Opium Power Limited. Like SSDC they filed their accounts on time.

So we have a situation where:

  • both of the owners of SSDC Opium Power Limited have filed accounts on time.
  • SSDC Opium Power’s numbers were prepared and finalised prior to December 2020
  • Yet SSDC Opium Power’s accounts have still not been filed

So why have the accounts been delayed? Why in fact were they not filed at the same time as SSDC’s accounts? Are the public not entitled to see the accounts at the earliest possible opportunity? it is after all taxpayer’s money that is being spent here?

You can see the information by following this Companies House link:


  • I am curious to know what the situation is now: have the accounts been filed?
    Like with any good mystery novel, this reader would like to read the final chapter to discover “who done it”, were they caught and prosecuted, and how did the victims (be they creditors or the council tax paying stakeholders) fare?

    • The accounts were filed. They leave more questions than they answer. Of course SSDC opted for the minimal disclosure so no one can see the PL account. We know at least one resident asked for this under FOI but when we last heard had received no reply.

      • The reluctance to give full disclosure after such a lengthy delay in filing the accounts is very worrying. I hope that the FOI yields results within the legally permitted time so that the council tax payer can hold the council to account. Perhaps this story will be worthy of Rotten Boroughs.

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