Agenda item

Draft Accounts Progress Report


M Thomas introduced the report and gave a brief overview of it.


The draft accounts for 2021/22 are underway and in a final review and moderation stage. G Sutton and M Thomas are due to meet next week to discuss the PTE accounts, and then following week M Thomas and A Marshal will meet. The target for publication is the 30th June, which is one month before the statutory deadline.


H Rohimun from EY could not attend the meeting but M Thomas spoke to him the day before. The committee was informed that the good news was that EY have found a replacement for Reyna who was the previous Audit Manager. However, it is proving to be a challenge to get the new person confirmed within EY. The final bit of negotiation is in getting the audit underway and the timelines for this. EY’s proposal does not fit with what they originally told M Thomas they were going to do, and M Thomas needs to work out how close they are planning to conduct the Audit to the statutory deadlines so the committee can review and scrutinise this prior to publication.


The Chair asked for further clarification around EY confirming a manager and whether it will delay anything. M Thomas confirmed that the only potential difficulty would be if the delay in confirming the appointment of the manager caused a delay to the planning stage of the Audit which is currently scheduled for the week commencing the 4th July. M Thomas has requested for a meeting with the new manager at least a week in advance of the planning audit to ensure they have set out their ’prepared by client’ schedule which acts as a checklist for items the organisation needs to prepare in advance of the audit visit to ensure the best use of time. This should also minimise the amount of substantive testing required at the final stage and therefore speed up the process.


Cllr Auckland remarked that the deadlines seem very tight. M Thomas recognises this and some of the frustrations the committee has with the issues that have been arising in terms of the audit. M Thomas reassured members that he has contacted the independent body and let them know of the challenges we have had as requested by the Chair. He has asked for guidance from the PSAA on how to tackle these quality issues. Cllr Auckland noted that there is a reporting chain that we can pursue internally which may make someone take notice. He added that the committee has had to have a special meeting to agree the audit for the last two years and would like to avoid it this year. G Sutton remarked that there are two key parts to this – the items we can control and the ones we cannot. He noted that M Thomas’s team is doing a great job at ensuring we are ready to go when the audit takes place so that will not be the cause of any delays. Members were reminded that the MCA was in the 9% of Local Government who met the statutory deadline for audits last year.


The committee agreed that they are concerned with how the audit process is continuing.


The Chair asked whether it would make a difference if we had a different external auditor or not. M Thomas informed the committee that the contract with EY is for five years and so we will not have the option to appoint another external auditor until after the end of the audit of next year’s accounts. He added that we will be advised next year about who this new auditor will be. The Chair clarified his point and was not meaning we should change auditors now but asking if all auditors are bound by the same restrictions. M Thomas referred back to G Sutton’s previous comments relating to the under-staffing and recruitment issues the external auditors are all facing.


R Jarvis remarked that our delay has always been due to the valuation of the pension fund, and they are still in dispute. M Thomas asked this to H Rohimum during their previous phone call and H Rohimum has assured him that he will have this conversation with Deloitte and come back to this committee with an update when one is available. ACTION: M Thomas to arrange an offline conversation between him, Cllr Lofts and H Rohimun. G Sutton updated the committee on the pension funds and said that it is often due to significant items in Q4 which means they have to revalue their portfolio. In recent years, this has been impacted by the UK’s exit from the European Union, Covid Lockdowns and this year it may be impacted by the War in Ukraine.


RESOLVED: That member noted the progress of the preparation of the 2021/22 Annual Accounts and the indicative timetable for the publication of the audited Statement of Accounts.

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