Agenda item

Grant Thornton - Annual Audit Letter 2019/20


The Engagement Lead for Grant Thornton presented the Annual Audit Letter for 2019/20 to the Committee and in doing so Members’ attention was drawn to the following:


·       The Annual Audit Letter 2019-20 summarised the key findings arising from the work carried out by Grant Thornton to the year ending 31st March 2020. It was explained that this was a public facing document that was available to relevant stakeholders.

·       An unqualified opinion was given on the Council’s financial statements on 8th November 2021. Included in this opinion was an emphasis of matter paragraph regarding the property and land valuations. It was confirmed that this issue had been reported to Members at the last meeting of the Committee and was in respect of a small piece of land that had been sold but had not been included in the Fixed Asset Register (FAR). It was reiterated to Members that the relevant officers had provided Grant Thornton with appropriate assurance that this was an isolated occurrence. Members were concerned about this conclusion; however, they were reassured that this was an anomaly and that it was hoped that next year’s working papers would be of a higher quality in order to inform the audit.

·       A Variation of Fees had been proposed by Grant Thornton as a result of the extra work that had been undertaken. It was reported that the proposed fee for the year ending 2019/21 was £76,379. This variation had been submitted to the Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) to be reviewed. Further information was provided to Members regarding the variation of fees and the Committee was informed that an additional £8k had been included in the fees which was to cover the extra work and time that been necessary due to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. Some Members were interested in what the ‘New accounting standards’ fee related to. It was explained that these were fees that had been introduced as a result of the proposed implementation of IFRS16. Although the implementation IFRS16 had now been postponed until 2023-24, preparatory work had been carried out by Grant Thornton which had resulted in necessity to include in the £1.5k to cover this work.

·       The draft Statement of Accounts for 2020-21 were expected by 31st March 2022 and it was acknowledged that this could potentially mean that the final Statement of Accounts would be almost a year later than outlined in the External Audit Plan 2020-21.


During the discussion Members concluded that this had not been a normal year in which to carry out an audit and thanked officers for their hard work. It was noted by the Chair that, it was hoped that, as a result of the new Enterprise Resource Planning system the future working arrangements for external audits would be more efficient and that this would result in fewer costs. This was reiterated by the Executive Director of Resources who stated that he hoped that for future audits the quality of papers would drive the timeline for the audit which should result in the costs being lower.




The Grant Thornton Annual Audit Letter 2019/20 be noted.

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