Agenda item

Annual Audit Letter

To receive the Annual Audit Letter for Year ended 31 March 2020


Jon Roberts, Grant Thornton, introduced Paul Cuttle to the Committee and advised he would be the new engagement lead for Waverley.


The committee were advised that the Annual Audit Letter attached to the agenda was the last one they would receive as there was no longer a requirement to produce one.  It was outlined that the letter was a summary of the Audit Findings Document.


Jon Roberts highlighted that the fees position was confirmed at the end of the letter as it had changed due to Covid.


Issues raised by the members:


Q – Will fees reduce if Audit letter is no longer required to be produced?

A – No as it is being replaced by a different report.


Q – Can Grant Thornton indicate if Covid is going to have an impact on this years’ Audit?

A – Yes it is likely to have an impact as staff will have to do remote working for a while yet.  Covid has already been considered as part of the timetable for reporting.  Graeme Clark advised that Waverley would endeavour to work as closely to the timetable as possible and were looking at end of June/beginning of July to finalise.


Q – Are there any additional requirements needed regarding Covid Grants etc? 

A - There are no additional requirements for Grant Thornton but Waverley send regular reports back to government on what has been delivered. Paid out over £24m so far.

A – There is time available in Audit Plan to look at the grants.


Q – how is the certification of Housing Benefits going?

A – Well established, progressing and well resourced.  Should be finished in next few weeks.


Q – Regarding the value for money conclusion to the letter how have Waverley justified not using Furlough for staff and the overtime payments outlined?

A – The government discouraged public sector from using furlough and very few of our services had a reduced demand.  In fact demand increased in a number of services and in those areas with reduced demand staff were redeployed to process grants and ring vulnerable residents.

A-  The overtime payments mainly related  to Easter weekend working and were funded by Government through the grants schemes.


Q- The letter indicates a recruitment freeze but this is not the case as some recruitment was carried out. How was this justified?

A – It is true some posts were recruited to but there were strict constraints as to which posts were filled.


Q – The letter stated we had an exit strategy for each Commercial Property Investment.  Is this the case?

A – We do actively manage our investment properties and they are reviewed constantly and there is an exit strategy in place for all new aquisitions.


Q – Would it be useful for the Committee to understand where other Councils have fallen down with regards to property investments?


ACTION:  AGREED  that Grant Thornton would come back to a future meeting and run a session on Governance.

The Committee NOTED the Annual Audit Letter for Year ended 31 March 2020.



Supporting documents: