Agenda, decisions and minutes

Audit/Statement of Accounts, Audit Committee
Thursday, 26 July 2018 6.00pm

Venue: Shimkent Room - Shimkent Room - Daneshill House, Danestrete

Contact: Guy Moody 01438 242703  Email: committees@stevenage.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

APPOINTMENT OF PERSON TO PRESIDE

To appoint a person to preside over the element of the meeting which will be held jointly with the Statement of Accounts Committee.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that Councillor Maureen McKay be appointed to preside over the part of the meeting that was held jointly with the Statement of Accounts Committee.

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED that Councillor Maureen McKay be appointed to preside over the part of the meeting that was held jointly with the Statement of Accounts Committee.

2.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor G Lawrence and Independent Member G Gibbs.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor G Lawrence and Independent Member G Gibbs.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

2017/18 STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS AND EXTERNAL AUDIT REPORT pdf icon PDF 148 KB

The Committee is requested to receive a presentation from the Assistant Director Finance on the External Auditor's Annual Report for consideration and approval and the audited 2017/18 Financial Report including the Statement of Accounts (SOA).

 

Following the presentation, Members will be invited to ask questions of clarification.

 

After questions the Statement of Accounts Committee will adjourn to allow the Audit Committee to consider the report and to agree to any recommendations.

Additional documents:

Decision:

         The Audit Committee and the Statement of Accounts Committee meeting jointly received a presentation from the Accountancy Services Manager on the Statement of Accounts 2017/18.

 

The Committees were advised of a typographical error on page 176 of the agenda pack.  The figures in the left hand column of table HRA 4 should read 4921, 591 and 5512 and not 4921139, 590986 and 5512125 as shown.

 

A copy of appendix 2 to the report, the Letter of Representation was then circulated to Members.

 

In reply to a question concerning Right To Buy ‘one for one receipts’ the Committees were advised that the amount held by the Council had accrued as the result of a higher than expected number of sales.  It was confirmed that the sum had been earmarked for housing projects.

 

The issue of the disparity in the valuation of the swimming pool was raised and Members were advised of the process behind each of the valuations.  The External Auditor confirmed that the difference in the valuations was not a material consideration for the accounts and did not affect the overall audit opinion of the accounts.

 

A Member requested that the Officers Remuneration table on page 160 of the agenda be amended in future years to make it clearer that the table included  redundancy payments and didn’t just relate to pay.  Concerns were expressed that the information as currently presented could be misread as overstating the number of higher paid employees.

 

The Committees then considered the report from the Council’s External Auditors EY.

 

The Committees were advised that all outstanding audit tasks had been completed and that EY had issued an unqualified audit opinion for both the Council’s accounts and the Value for Money statement.

 

In reply to a question it was confirmed that an unqualified opinion was a positive result for the Council’s accounts.

 

In reply to a further question the Committees were advised that it was not usual practice to forward a copy of the External Auditor’s report to Central Government.

 

Note – At this point in the meeting the Statement of Accounts Committee RESOLVED to adjourn until the rise of the Audit Committee.

 

With regard to the valuation of the swimming pool Members expressed a wish for a standard approach to be taken in future years and requested that this view be fed back to the Statement of Accounts Committee. Members were advised that the Council’s valuer’s methodology may differ from that of the External Auditors.

 

In reply to a question concerning the monitoring of savings and what the Auditors reviewed for the value for money statement, the Assistant Director (Finance & Estates) advised the Committee that the External Auditors received copies of the Quarterly Monitoring Reports that were presented to the Executive which reports on the progress of savings options approved. 

 

In reply to a further question concerning the assessment of the risks with regard to Town Centre Regeneration  the External Auditor advised the Committee that the professional advice taken by the Council had been noted by  ...  view the full decision text for item 3.

Minutes:

The Audit Committee and the Statement of Accounts Committee meeting jointly received a presentation from the Accountancy Services Manager on the Statement of Accounts 2017/18.

 

The Committees were advised of a typographical error on page 176 of the agenda pack.  The figures in the left hand column of table HRA 4 should read 4921, 591 and 5512 and not 4921139, 590986 and 5512125 as shown.

 

The Committees were further advised that no changes had been made since the publication of the draft accounts.

 

A copy of appendix 2 to the report, the Letter of Representation was then circulated to Members.

 

The Committees were shown how the Council’s accounts were constructed, with key points highlighted and identified

 

In reply to a question concerning Right To Buy ‘one for one receipts’ the Committees were advised that the amount held by the Council had accrued as the result of a higher than expected number of sales.  It was confirmed that the sum had been earmarked for housing projects.

 

The issue of the disparity in the valuation of the swimming pool was raised and Members were advised of the process behind each of the valuations.  The External Auditor confirmed that the difference in the valuations was not a material consideration for the accounts and did not affect the overall audit opinion of the accounts.

 

A Member requested that the Officers Remuneration table on page 160 of the agenda be amended in future years to make it clearer that the table included redundancy payments and didn’t just relate to pay.  Concerns were expressed that the information as currently presented could be misread as overstating the number of higher paid employees.

 

The Committees then considered the report from the Council’s External Auditors EY.

 

The Committees were advised that all outstanding audit tasks had been completed and that EY had issued an unqualified audit opinion for both the Council’s accounts and the Value for Money statement.

 

In reply to a question it was confirmed that an unqualified opinion was a positive result for the Council’s accounts.

 

In reply to a further question the Committees were advised that it was not usual practice to forward a copy of the External Auditor’s report to Central Government.

 

Note – At this point in the meeting the Statement of Accounts Committee RESOLVED to adjourn until the rise of the Audit Committee.

 

With regard to the valuation of the swimming pool Members expressed a wish for a standard approach to be taken in future and requested that this view be fed back to the Statement of Accounts Committee.  Members were advised that the Council’s valuer’s methodology may differ from that of the External Auditors.

 

In reply to a question concerning the monitoring of savings and what the Auditors reviewed for the value for money statement, the Assistant Director (Finance & Estates) advised the Committee that the External Auditors received copies of the Quarterly Monitoring Reports that were presented to the Executive and which reported on the progress of savings options approved.

 

In reply  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

URGENT PART 1 BUSINESS

To consider any Part 1 business accepted by the Chair as urgent.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

5.

EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

To consider the following motions –

 

1.  That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs1 – 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.

 

2.  That Members consider the reasons for the following reports being in Part II and determine whether or not maintaining the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

Decision:

Not required.

Minutes:

Not required.

6.

URGENT PART II BUSINESS

To consider any Part II business accepted by the Chair as urgent.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.