Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Committee considered a report by Grant Thornton regarding the External Audit – Audit Findings report (circulated previously).
The External Auditor (PB) confirmed:
· The date for the signing off of the accounts was set two months’ earlier than previously. The Auditors knew this would present a challenge.
· A subset with the greatest chance of completion were chosen. NDC was part of that selection.
· The cooperation between the Authority and the Auditors had been good.
· There were no material errors.
· Main issue had been material uncertainties - such as the pension liability and the asset valuations. Management had been challenged on those and it had been agreed that no changes were required to the accounts.
· They were unable to issue the opinion until the Devon Pension Fund audit statement had been received. This was expected early next week (w/c 25th Oct 2021). Once this was received they would be able to sign off the assurance. The accounts would be signed-off by 31st October.
· NDC were not alone in not yet having the accounts signed-off. As only 9% of Authorities had achieved this by the 30th September deadline.
· The accounts would be signed off within the threshold in terms of risks. The Auditor had been impressed with the responses from both the officers and valuer.
The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised that the one recommendation within the audit had been reporting about projects such as the regeneration of High Streets and the transparency/updates of projects. Management had accepted these and it was noted that external experts had been involved in projects where the professional expertise was unavailable in-house. Such external professionals were assessed based on their expertise, price, and results from previous contracts.
RESOLVED that the External Audit Audit Findings Report be noted.
Publication date: 08/11/2021
Date of decision: 20/10/2021
Decided at meeting: 20/10/2021 - Governance Committee