Council meetings

Agenda item

Update on 2016/17 Closing of Accounts and External Audit


The Acting Group Finance Manager – Core Accounting informed Panel Members that officers were seeking to improve areas were problems were identified last year. He said the interim audit was in progress and no problems had been flagged up to date. He added that the timetable would be the same as last year’s.


Darren Wells, Director, Grant Thornton explained that they looked at 3 stages, the first being risk management and understanding the environment. At the second stage they did early testing, expenditure and income systems. He said key stages and elements were tested to allow earlier closure, and this work was still in progress. He said the rest of the report highlighted some developments in the wider context.


Ian Pleace said if the Panel see the plan at their next meeting in June it would be too late for them to influence the process, as Panel Members had agreed there would be a dry run this year. Stephen Warren said with the deadline being 31 July the template should be with Panel Members at an early stage. Following discussion it was agreed that the internal procedures and approach would be sent to Panel members in May, with the draft statement presented at the June meeting.


Action >>>>>> Head of Corporate Resources


Councillor Ingleby asked whether the slide on page 29 of the report showing national developments referred to the investment part of the Pension Board  and was told it reflected an accounting standard of last year’s assets and valuation, plus the disclosures made in the pension fund. Darren Wells also explained off-payroll working and salary sacrifice in the public sector in answer to a question from Councillor Ingleby. Darren Wells pointed out that there was a risk element associated with this change.


The Head of Corporate Resources stated that they had already lost 2 of their contractors who were unwilling to take a cut in their salary due to this change. Councillor Brown asked if the Council had a lot of workers on temporary contract and was told although there was a reduction following a review a few years back the numbers have grown recently because of capability shortage. The Head of Corporate Resources said this tend to happen following big changes in organisations.


The Chair said he was aware that the Audit Panel had done a review of consultants working for the Council and was under the impression the numbers had been reduced. He said it would be useful for Panel Members to get an update on the number of Consultants currently working for the Council and the salaries at their next meeting. The Head of Corporate Resources said he was aware that this information may be going to Mayor and Cabinet or Sustainable Development Select Committee as part of the Annual Pay report in June and he would find out.


Councillor Ingleby asked whether this was a threat to the Council, and asked Darren Wells if this trend was the same in other local authorities. Mr Wells said they do not have any data on this at present but he could find out.


Action >>>>>> Grant Thornton


The Chair said Audit Panel could revisit this issue to see what was taking place. He said self employment had increased dramatically and it would be good to find out what was happening in the Council.


Action >>>>>> Head of Corporate Resources

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