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Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

16 November 2020

 

External Audit Update November 2020

 

Final Decision-Maker

Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

Lead Head of Service

Mark Green, Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Lead Officer and Report Author

Ellie Dunnet, Head of Finance

Classification

Public

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

 

These reports provide an update from the Councilís external auditor, Grant Thornton regarding progress towards completion of the audit of the 2019/20 financial statements and value for money conclusion, and a sector update on some of the emerging national issues and developments that may impact on this Council.

 

Purpose of Report

 

These reports are for noting.

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That the updated Audit Findings Report attached at Appendix 1 be noted.

2.   That the Audit Progress Report and Sector Update attached at Appendix 2 be noted.

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

16 November 2020



External Audit Update November 2020

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

We do not expect the recommendations will by themselves materially affect achievement of corporate priorities. However, they will support the Councilís overall achievement of its aims in demonstrating accountability and value for money.

Head of Finance

Cross Cutting Objectives

There is no specific implication, however sound financial management does support the

delivery of the Councilís cross cutting

objectives.

 

Head of Finance

Risk Management

This is detailed within section 5.

 

Head of Finance

Financial

The Statement of Accounts provides an

overview of income and expenditure for

the financial year to 31 March 2020, and details the councilís assets, liabilities and reserves at this date.† The work of the external auditor provides independent assurance over this information.

Head of Finance

Staffing

None identified.

 

Head of Finance

Legal

Under section 151 of the Local Government Act (LGA) 1972, the Section 151 Officer has

statutory duties in relation to the financial

administration and stewardship of the authority, including advising on the corporate financial position and providing financial information.

It is a function of the Audit, Governance and

Standards Committee to review and approve the annual statement of accounts and to consider if appropriate accounting policies have been followed and whether there are concerns arising from the financial statements or from the audit that need to be brought to the attention of the Policy and Resources Committee or Council.

Team Leader

(Corporate

Governance),

MKLS

Privacy and Data Protection

There are no specific privacy or data protection issues to address.

Team Leader

(Corporate

Governance),

MKLS

Equalities

No implications identified.

Head of Finance

Public Health

 

 

No implications identified.

Head of Finance

Crime and Disorder

No implications identified.

Head of Finance

Procurement

No implications identified.

Head of Finance

 

 

2.   †† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1†† The Council is required to have its audited Statement of Accounts approved

by the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee by 30 November 2020

in accordance with the amended Accounts & Audit Regulations.

 

2.2†† The audited statement of accounts was approved by this committee at its last meeting on 14 September 2020.† However, at that stage there were a number of areas of work outstanding and it was agreed that in the event of any further non-material changes being required to the Statement of Accounts, final approval be delegated to the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of this committee.

 

2.3†† The updated Audit Findings Report attached at Appendix 1 details the further work which has taken place since the committee meeting and the current status of external audit work in relation to 2019/20.

 

2.4†† External audit work is now substantially complete and the anticipated outcome of this is an unqualified audit report opinion including an Emphasis of Matter paragraph, highlighting PPE valuation material uncertainties for both the Council property and their share of assets included in the IAS 19 pension fund actuarial position which arise from potential impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on these figures.

 

2.5†† Appendix 2 provides a summary of emerging national issues and developments that may be relevant to Maidstone and includes a number of challenge questions in respect of these emerging issues which the committee may wish to consider.

 

 

3.        AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1     These reports are for information only and the committee is asked to note them.

 

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     The committee is asked to note the reports attached as Appendices 1 and 2.

 

 

 

5.       RISK

5.1    This report is presented for information only and has no risk management implications.

 

6.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

6.1     No consultation has been undertaken in relation to this agenda item.

 

 

7.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1     The external auditor is required to issue the audit opinion by 30 November.† The external auditor is expected to present the Annual Audit Letter, which will effectively close the 2019/20 audit to this committee at its meeting in January.

 

 

 

8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

         Appendix 1: Updated Audit Findings Report 2019/20

         Appendix 2: Progress Report and Sector Update

 

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None