Report of the Director of Finance & Assurance
The Committee received a report which provided an update on the completion of the audit of the Council’s statement of accounts for the year ending 31 March 2022.
An Officer introduced the report and provided Members with an update on the latest position of the two aspects of the Council’s accounts where the audit was incomplete:
1) Valuation of property, plant, and equipment – At the last GARMS meeting on the 23 May, it was reported that the external auditors had identified several issues with the Council’s valuation of its property, plant and equipment. Part of the work in this area had been completed and some material adjustments to the accounts were identified.
The Officer explained that there was currently some remaining work to complete where the auditors are waiting for the Council to provide some further information, confirm subsequent amendments, select additional samples for testing and then complete that testing.
2) Pensions valuation – At the last GARMS meeting, the external auditors reported that there was a national issue relating to the Council’s pension assets and liabilities as at 31 March 2022.
The Officer stated that it had now been agreed that the auditors would carry out a programme of work on the pension fund membership data in early July. The Officer confirmed that this work remained as planned and the auditors expect completion by the end of the July.
The Officer then explained that as a result of the 2 outstanding items, the audit remains substantially complete, and work was expected to conclude in late July.
The Officer provided an update regarding the status of the 2022/2023 audit, stating that the draft accounts should be published by the end of August and would be presented to the Committee at its September meeting. The Officer explained that this was dependent on the 2021/2022 accounts being concluded by the end of July.
It was clarified that the statutory deadline for the 2022/2023 draft accounts was the 31 May 2023; as this was not met the Officer explained that the Council had published a notice of this delay on the website as required by the law.
Members were then given the opportunity to ask questions of the Officers and the external auditor from Mazars and it was clarified that:
- The external auditor confirmed that the intention was still that by the end of July the auditors would be in a position where they are satisfied to close the accounts.
- The external auditor stated that the intention was to publish the draft accounts for the 2022/2023 audit and that he believed this was still on track.
- A Member sought clarification regarding the date at which properties were valued and it was confirmed that the effective date for this was 31 March 2022.
- The Chair of the Committee stated that he hoped the 2021/2022 audit would be signed off within the next 2 or 3 weeks. The external auditor confirmed that this was the commitment to have the audit signed off by the end of July assuming the requested samples were received.
- It was confirmed that once the work has been completed and finalised, the audit could be published, and the publication of the Year ended 31 March 2023 accounts did not have to wait till the end of August.
RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the following Audit Update 2021/22 for the Council.