Your Councillors

 


 

External Audit Fee Letter 2019/20

 

 

Final Decision-Maker

Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

Lead Head of Service/Lead Director

Mark Green, Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Lead Officer and Report Author

Chris Hartgrove, Head of Finance

Classification

Public

Wards affected

All

 


 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

30 July 2019


 External Audit Fee Letter 2019/20

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.

The council has a statutory obligation to have its accounts externally audited, and this process underpins the council’s ability to demonstrate

accountability to taxpayers.

Head of Finance

Cross Cutting Objectives

No material impact.

Head of Finance

Risk Management

 

There is risk that the council could incur additional fees if the external auditor identifies significant issues which give rise to additional audit work needing to be undertaken Officers will work closely with Grant Thornton throughout the year in order to minimise this risk.

 

Head of Finance

Financial

The proposed 2019/20 audit fee of £38,866 is the same as in 2018/19. Provision for the audit fee has been incorporated into the Council’s financial

planning.

Head of Finance

Staffing

No implications identified.

Head of Finance

Legal

No implications identified.

Head of Finance

Privacy and Data Protection

No implications identified.

Head of Finance


Equalities

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 Audit Fee 2019/20

2.1     Following the decision of this Committee for the Council to opt in to the national scheme for auditor appointments, Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA) appointed Grant Thornton UK LLP as the Council’s external auditor. This is a five year appointment commencing in 2018/19.

 

2.2     PSAA also have responsibility for prescribing audit fees for opted-in bodies. The planned fees for 2019/20 were published by PSAA in March 2019, and have set the fee for Maidstone Borough Council at £38,866 which is the same as in 2018/19.

 

2.3     It should be noted that the letter does not set out the planned fee for certification of the housing benefit subsidy claim, as this work falls outside the PSAA contract.

 

2.4     PSAA prescribes that 'scale fees are based on the expectation that audited bodies are able to provide the auditor with complete and materially accurate financial statements, with supporting working papers, within agreed timeframes'.

 

2.5     Further details regarding the scope of the audit fee and work planned for 2019/20 are set out within the letter from Grant Thornton attached at Appendix 1 to this report. A representative from Grant Thornton will be present at the meeting and able to answer any questions relating to this letter.

 


 

3.        AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1     The Committee is asked to note this report. No alternative options are proposed as the Committee has previously taken the decision to opt in to the national scheme for the appointment of auditors and setting of fees. as the council has a statutory obligation to have its accounts externally audited.

 

3.2     As the Council has a statutory obligation to have its accounts audited annually, the ‘Do Nothing’ option does not apply.


 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     As stated elsewhere in this report, Committee members are asked to note the planned audit fee of £38,866 for 2019/20.

 

4.2     PSAA has consulted with associations of local authorities, audited bodies and other stakeholders prior to setting the fees, and the planned fee is considered to have been set at a reasonable level.


 

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     PSAA has consulted with associations of local authorities, audited bodies and other stakeholders prior to setting the fees, and the planned fee is considered to have been set at a reasonable level.

 


 

7.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1     This is detailed within the letter attached at Appendix 1.

 


 

8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

·         Appendix 1: External Audit Fee Letter 2019/20