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Contact: Victoria Freeman 01708 433862 Email: victoria.freeman@OneSource.co.uk
To approve as correct the minutes of the meeting held on 24 April 2019 (attached) and authorise the Chairman to sign them.
The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 24 April 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Investment income for the year was £2m compared to a budget of £1.5m. It was also noted that the Authority’s weighted average return outperformed that of the treasury adviser’s London Local Authority Group and that the Council had operated during 2018/19 within the treasury limits and prudential indicators set out in the Strategy. Any credit losses from the introduction of International Financial Reporting Standard 9 were not material as the Authority’s investments were placed with highly credit worthy institutions and Local Authorities.
Officers would check if the downgrading of Rabobank had been applied by all three credit reference agencies.
The Committee noted the report.
Report attached, appendices to follow when available.
Annual Statement of Accounts
The report presented showed the changes between the accounts on 31 May 2019 and the current position. If the Committee was content with accounts, it was proposed to sign off the accounts in the week commencing 16 September 2019. The initial version of the accounts had been published on-line by 31 May in line with Government requirements.
A total of 12 adjustments had been made to the accounts, including 10 revaluation adjustments, impact on the actuary estimate due to the McLeod judgement and an adjustment for the Council bad debt provision.
The Statement of Accounts showed that the Council had a usable reserve of £219m and an unusable reserve arising from valuation changes etc of £435m. The unusable reserve figure had fallen by £100m due to changes in the pension fund valuation and £25m due to the property valuation.
It was noted that the total income and expenditure figure quoted of £125m was an accounting figure rather than the actual budgeted costs and that liabilities with actuaries had increased. A review of the pension fund that was currently in progress would decide if the Council was making sufficient contributions to the fund. It was also noted that the pension account was a separate entity to the main accounts.
Officers agreed that there needed to be better communication between regeneration and finance regarding the treatment of issues such as demolished assets. As regards school valuations, the accounts indicated that £51m of the £125m reduction had been due to schools converting to Academy status. It was suggested that work on valuations could be completed at an earlier stage, without needing to wait for the closure of accounts. There were now fewer differences in the valuation methodologies used by the Council and the external auditors.
It was noted that the reference in the ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’ section of the report to the length of the Queen’s Theatre lease was incorrect and this would be amended to read 12 years.
It was agreed that a report on planning for next year’s audit should be brought to the January 2020 meeting of the Committee.
External Audit Report
The only change in the scope of the audit had been to update the materiality assessment from £8.6m to £10.2m. There were still some areas of the audit to complete the journals and reserves areas of the accounts still required testing. It was also noted that it was difficult for the auditor to produce transaction level listings and this process would be streamlined for next year’s audit.
The deadline of 13 September for submission of the Whole of Government (WGA) report would not be met but the Council was only required to e-mail a confirmation of this and would not be penalised. Some 40% of local government audits had not been completed by 31 July, compared to 13% the previous year. The external auditor representative explained that delays were due principally to a loss of staff and recruitment difficulties. This was an issue across ... view the full minutes text for item 32.
Report and appendix attached.
Officers explained that there were currently around 40 open fraud cases. An update on current joint fraud and audit work was requested to be given at the next meeting of the Committee. Some tasks on the systems audit list had been cancelled in order to avoid duplication if e.g. peer reviews were in progress from which similar assurance could be taken. These areas would continue to be monitored in any case.
The response to risk related to the GDPR Regulations was considered to be satisfactory and it was confirmed that an Assurance Board had been established. A wider review of the Direct Payments system was also in progress. A new social care IT system would give fuller reports once testing etc had been completed. Progress on the current procurement audit would be reported to a future meeting of the Committee.
Ii was agreed that future reports would show quarter dates and a list of completed audits.
The Committee noted the assurance end of year report.