To consider and approve Grant Thorntons’ Audit Findings Report.
Paul Cuttle, Grant Thornton, introduced the report and highlighted the key points for noting.
The Committee were advised that there were some minor queries still outstanding but some issues outlined in the report have been closed off since the publication of the report. Grant Thornton highlighted that no outstanding queries were detrimental to the accounts being signed off.
The Committee raised a question about signing off the accounts whilst there were issues outstanding. The S151 Officer said it was for the Committee to decide whether the auditor’s report provided sufficient assurance to approve the accounts. The S151 Officer said that if the external auditors were happy to sign off with an unqualified opinion based on their current report then that is sufficient assurance for the S151 Officer.
It was noted that ‘appendix G’ was mentioned on page 4 of the report but there did not appear to be such an appendix. Paul Cuttle advised this was a typographical error and that the sentence in question should have been removed as the letter would not be submitted until later in the process when the Auditor’s Annual Report is published in February 2022.
The Committee received a short overview outlining:
· the Financial Statements Audit;
· the Value for Money arrangements – highlighting that this part of the audit had been decoupled from the other part of the report and would form a part of the Auditor’s Annual Report in February 2022;
· that once the outstanding queries were cleared that the opinion on the accounts would be supplied;
· that risks had been identified in line with the Auditor’s standard requirements; and,
· the report included an approach to grants due to Covid (page 10).
The Committee were advised that only one improvement had been recommended relating to journal entry policies and procedures and the authorisation process before posting.
It was noted that all the recommendations from last year had all been addressed satisfactorily and all audit statements were over the threshold.
Overall, Paul Cuttle advised that the draft set of accounts were of good quality.
The Committee discussed the issue of document control as a whole across the business and felt this needed ‘tightening up’. It was asked why the issue of the journals had not been picked up in previous years and it was explained this had been identified due to additional reviews carried out by the auditors.
The Committee queried whether they should be concerned that the Actuary Values under net pension liability were at the top end of the PwC range and were assured that this was within limits and not a cause for concern.
It was highlighted to the Committee that the recommendation should have read ‘to receive ….’ and not ‘to consider and approve….’
In light of the committee’s question about the outstanding issues, the S151 Officer advised they could either await receipt of the final report before approving the Statement of Accounts which would require an additional committee meeting; or, give a delegation to the S151 officer and Chairman to review the final Audit Findings Report and if there are no material changes, approve the Statement of Accounts. The Committee would consider this under Agenda item 7.
The Committee received and noted Grant Thornton’s Audit Findings Report.