Agenda and minutes

Audit & Accounts Committee
Friday, 25th May, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: The Dove Room, Moorlands House, Stockwell Street, Leek. View directions

Contact: Pat Trafford. Tel. (01538) 395551 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of interest

i. Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

ii. Other Interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations made.

2.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Minutes of the meeting of the Audit and Accounts Committee held on 9 February 2018 be APPROVED as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

3.

External Audit Committee Update pdf icon PDF 661 KB

Minutes:

AvtarSohal – Senior Audit Manager at Grant Thornton – introduced himself to members, having taken over the role from Allison Rhodes.

 

The report gave a snapshot of progress to date, which showed no issues after the early substantive testing. As a result, the Council was in a good position to submit its Financial Statements in line with the new, earlier requirements.

4.

External Audit - Audit Fee Letter pdf icon PDF 189 KB

Minutes:

Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd were specified as an appointing person under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the Local Authority  (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015. They have the power to make auditor appointments for audits of ‘opted-in’ local government bodies from 2018/19.

 

The scale fee for 2018/19 had been set at £34,645, which represented a reduction of 25% from previous years’ scale fees.

5.

Internal Audit Progress Report pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

John Leak – Internal Audit Manager – presented the periodic report covering the period 1 February 2018 to 30 April 2018.

 

There had been 8 audit reports issued during the period, 7 with a ‘satisfactory’ assurance and 1 with a ‘substantial’ assurance. All audit recommendations had been agreed and to date, 89% of 2017/18 recommendations that were due had been implemented. 92% of the 2017/18 Audit Plan had been achieved to date.

 

9 audits were shown as being in progress with status varying between ‘Audit complete, Management response’ to ‘Audit in progress’.

 

RESOLVED – That the progress information be NOTED.

6.

Internal Audit - Annual Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 required the Council to undertake an effective internal audit to evaluate the effectiveness of its risk management, control and governance processes, taking into account public sector internal auditing standards or guidance. The audit plan was to be based on a documented risk assessment undertaken at least annually.

 

The audit plan for 2018/19 was appended to the report and involved a review of the risk scores in accordance with the Audit Service’s established risk assessment methodology to ensure that the most recent changes affecting risk were taken into account.

 

RESOLVED – That the annual internal audit plan for 2018/19 be APPROVED.

7.

Whistleblowing Policy pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

SMDC’s Whistleblowing Policy had been in place since 2002, with the last update being done in May 2016. The policy allowed all employees and contractors to report any concerns where the public interest was at risk.

 

Since the last update, there had been 1 whistleblowing case reported, which was satisfactorily dealt with and resolved internally by line management. Further awareness-raising initiatives were to be scheduled to ensure that whistleblowing continued to be appropriately publicised and the policy now formed part of the induction process.

 

RESOLVED – That the activity outlined in the report be NOTED.

8.

Amendment to Accounting Practices pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

Claire Hazeldene – Finance & Procurement Manager – presented the report which recommended an amendment to the Property, Plant and Equipment policy in relation to componentisation: to confirm that where assets comprise two or more components any change in overall valuation will not simply be applied to the overall asset but assigned to its component parts in accordance with any split provided by the Valuer.

 

The recommended amendment took the form of a bullet point added to the above to read “Where valuation of a componentised asset identifies a change in value of an individual component this will be applied to its carrying value.”

 

RESOLVED – That the above change to accounting policies be APPROVED.

9.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Work Programme for the 2018/19 Municipal Year.

 

RESOLVED – That the Work Programme for 2018/19 be APPROVED.

 

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

 

In line with similar Committees at other Councils, it was proposed that members held a 15 minute consultation with Internal and External Auditors but without other officers present. This to take place at the start of each Audit & Accounts Committee meeting.

 

IT WAS AGREED that this would be trialled on a 12 month basis.