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Issue - meetings

Final Accounts 2017/18

Meeting: 06/09/2018 - Standards and General Purposes Committee (Item 4)

4 Final Accounts 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Corporate Services introduced the report which provided an update to the Committee on the audit of the Statement of Accounts.

 

The External Auditor presented his report, advising the Committee  that the additional property valuation work required was ongoing and due to complete in October.  Therefore the External Auditor was not in a position to sign off the Statement of Accounts.  However, all other outstanding audit work had been completed, subject to some final processes, and the Value for Money work had demonstrated that the Council had all the proper arrangements in place.  The fees incurred to date had been included in the report, however further fees would be incurred through the auditing of the additional valuation work required and those would be included in the report to the next meeting.

 

The Committee expressed its disappointment that, despite the undertaking given at the last meeting, the work had still not completed.  It was felt that the staff resource issues over the summer period should have been anticipated and planned for accordingly.  Clarification was sought on what  had prompted the change in methodology used for the property valuations and whether there needed to be better communication between the External Auditors and the Council.  The Committee was concerned that the Council was in the bottom 10% of the Country in respect of signing off its final accounts and lessons learnt from the process should be brought to the next meeting for the Committee’s consideration.

 

The External Auditor advised the Committee that the auditing of the valuation of property, plant and equipment (PPE) had been a focus of the regulator of external audit, the Financial Reporting Council, for the last few years. As a result, external auditors had been providing more challenge to management on how they had determined the asset figures in the accounts.  The External Auditor stated that a number of other local authorities had experienced issues with the valuation of PPE and this contributed to those authorities not having audited accounts by 31 July.

 

The Director of Corporate Services advised that the issues with the Council’s valuation figures had been raised after the initial work had been completed, on schedule.  There was not currently the specialist  expertise within the Council to carry out the new detailed methodology and therefore the District Valuer was asked to assist the Council’s officers.  Although this would not impact on the Council’s overall bottom line, it was acknowledged that it was not a good position to be in and therefore a lessons learnt paper would be reported to the next meeting for the Committee’s consideration.

 

The Assistant Director of Sustainable Communities advised the Committee that the valuation team, which he had overall responsibility for, was regulated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.  A mistake had initially been identified in the original calculations, in part due to a methodology used referred to as Depreciated Replacement Costs.   There had been a change in figures input in 2015/16 resulting from a change in build costs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4