The Committee received a report of the External Auditor which provided a progress update (for copy see file of minutes).
Mr Collins, Mazars referred to the financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2022 and confirmed that the majority of the work had been complete, however there were some areas ongoing relating to property, plant and equipment valuations, assurances from the pension fund auditor and the national infrastructure discussions.
Referring to the infrastructure issue, Mr Kirkham, Mazars added that recent government advice suggested that the plan to change the code of practice may not be the way forwarded, therefore could not provide assurance that the national infrastructure issue would be resolved. It was noted that some local authorities were yet to have their 2020/21 accounts signed off due to the issue that was deemed significant earlier in the year.
The Audit Completion Report was expected to be issues before the next Audit Committee meeting in November and it was noted that the audit completion was on track for 30 November 2022, subject to the resolution of the infrastructure issue.
With regards to a query relating to the infrastructure risk, Mr Kirkham advised that the extent of the figures and depreciating amounts, it was unclear whether there was a material risk as the extent of local authorities’ records could not be substantiated. It was noted that previously it had been a low risk as the specific details had not been required in the past. The Head of Corporate Finance and Commercial Services added that it was a considerable task to put the process in place, however it was not an issue regarding the Councils balance sheet and does not affect the Councils financial statements.
That the report be noted.