Further to Minute No. 19 of the Audit Committee held on 28th July, 2022, Rob Mahon, Assistant Director Financial Services, presented the revised version of the Council’s final accounts. The Council intended to publish the revised final accounts on the Council’s website following approval from the Committee and the Council’s Section 151 Officer.
As previously reported, it was not possible to submit an audited set of accounts nor a final/draft ISA260 report at the current time. The Council’s external auditor, Grant Thornton, had indicated that they would be able to meet the revised audit deadline of 30th November, 2022.
The External Audit was progressing well with no significant pressures to note at this point in time. The revised statement of accounts would be published on the Council’s website with the audited statement of accounts and ISO260 report submitted to the 29th November meeting of the Audit Committee.
An material adjustment had been identified by Grant Thornton with regard to the carrying value of plant, vehicles and equipment (PVE) assets held by the Council. A number of items had been identified which were still on the Council’s balance sheet but had been disposed of in prior years. These were largely lower value assets that had been fully depreciated so held a net book value of £0 but had a gross book value remaining on the asset register that needed to be cleared. The total value of the adjustment was in the process of being identified but would be greater than £13M. The accounts would be updated when the figure was confirmed, however, it did not impact the Council’s budget position of outturn position for 2021/22.
Thilina de Zoysa confirmed that the audit was progressing well and that there were weekly meetings to discuss progress. There were no significant issues at present that would impact on the completion of the audit.
Discussion ensued on the report with the following issues raised/highlighted:-
· They were incredibly uncertain times the country was facing at present. Benchmarking of best practice with regard to the valuation of high value assets had been undertaken. During the pandemic and through working with Grant Thornton, the Council had started to change its practice to high value assets and look to get a valuation every year to try and get on top of asset valuations but it was difficult to resource. Equally it was still felt that the 5 year rolling process of valuations was a very robust process
· Valuation of buildings was a key risk as a fluctuation in rates etc. had a massive change in the valuation
· The 5 years rolling programme was CIPFA’s agreed code of practice approach and was compliant with standards
It was noted that the changes with regard to PVE would be included in the final audited statement of accounts.
Resolved:- (1) That, having taken due regard of the current position of the external audit, the 2020/21 Statement of Accounts attached as Appendix 1 be approved for publication as final together with the 2020/21 Narrative Report attached as Appendix 2.
(2) That it be noted that the ISA260 will be submitted to a future Audit Committee for review once Grant Thornton have completed their audit work.