Venue: Council Chamber, Penns Place, Petersfield. Hants. GU31 4EX
Contact: Cynthia Haveron Democratic Services Officer 01730 - 234092
Apologies for Absence
To receive and record apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr P Davies.
The Chairman welcomed Duncan Laird, Senior Manager and Rees Batley, Engagement Lead from KPMG and Simon Miller, Operations Director and Graham Oliver, Chief Accountant from Capita.
He had also agreed to an urgent item be considered as item 6 on the agenda, it would be considered in an exempt session and was an update by the Monitoring Officer.
He reminded members present that their role this evening as an Audit Committee they were not there to scrutinise the accounts or reports. He invited David Brown, Monitoring Officer to address the meeting.
He briefed the committee on their role when sitting as an Audit Committee and referred to paragraph 7.2.1 of the terms of reference. Which stated that they must be satisfied of the adequacy of the report. He explained that the report had been public since 31 May 2019. They must be satisfied of the evidence basis that KPMG had reached their evidence. Was it timely and well written and were they satisfied with the general accuracy and was it a good reflection of the Council. He emphasized that this was not a scrutiny function.
Declarations of Interest
To receive and record any declarations of interest from members present in respect of any of the various matters on the agenda for this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
The committee will be asked to note the contents of the report.
REPORT TO FOLLOW
Rees Batley, Engagement Lead and Duncan Laird, Senior Manager KPMG introduced the report.
He briefed members on the role and approach taken by KPMG and explained that the audit opinion would be signed in two days.
He referred to section 1 which contained their key findings. They had found some areas of significant risk including valuation of land and buildings, valuation of investment properties and Pensions Liability.
He then reviewed Sections 2 and 3 of the report. Section 2 referred to Financial Arrangements and they had made a number of recommendations.
Section 3 referred to Value for Money arrangements which had concluded that the Council had made proper arrangements to ensure it took properly informed decisions and deployed resources to achieve planned and sustainable outcomes.
In summary KPMG would be giving an unqualified audit opinion subject to outstanding queries being resolved.
He thanked officers and Capita for the support they had received in completing the audit.
Simon Miller, Operations Director, Capita addressed the committee and explained some of the challenges for Capita in completing the audit. There had been problems with the team around levels of sickness and new employees. Capita had identified the need for proper processes and training of staff in order to deliver the service that was required. They had recruited 2 additional qualified accountants.
Mr Miller thanked the s151 Officer and Deputy s151 Officer for their help and guidance over this period.
The committee noted that there were no major errors but there were issues around process.
It was confirmed that both Capita and KPMG had regular meetings with the
s151 Officer and Deputy s151 Officer to work on issues.
Mr Miller was asked it it was Capita’s finance teams responsibility to ensure that KPMG received and had been provided with access to all their requests to complete their audit and he confirmed that it was.
Following a discussion, the report was NOTED.
The meeting adjourned at 7.51pm
The meeting reconvened at 7.58pm
The Committee will be asked to agree:
1. The Statement of Accounts for 2018/19 and that the Chairman and S151 Officer be authorised to sign off the accounts; and
2. The draft letter of Representation and that the Chairman and S151 Officer sign the letter.
REPORT TO FOLLOW
Lydia Morrison, s151 Officer introduced the report.
She said that this was a good news story and invited technical questions on the report.
Members reviewed the document and suggested a few minor adjustments and clarifications.
Mr Miller was asked to confirm if it was Capita’s finance teams responsibility to complete the drafting of the Statutory Accounts and if the delays and errors sat solely with their finance team, and he confirmed that Capita had experienced some significant shortages of technically qualified staff, this had been recognised and Mr Oliver had been brought in to fill that gap and would be supported going forward with another three experienced qualified accountants. The errors rate, poor technical work and significant delays was recognised as unacceptable and had been the sole responsibility of the Capita finance team.
A number of minor clarification questions were raised and these would be responded to post meeting by the Interim Chief Accountant of Capita.
Following a discussion, it was RESOLVED that the Committee
1. APPROVED the Statement of Accounts for 2018/19, that the Chairman certifies the approval by signing page 18 of the accounts and s 151 certify the approval of the Accounts by signing pages 5, 6 and 26 of the Accounts;
2. APPROVED the Letter of Representation, and the Chairman of the Committee and s 151 Officer sign the letter; and
3. DELGATED to the s 151 Officer, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, the power to make any necessary changes to the signed Statement of Accounts prior to the statutory deadline.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the item as:
(a) It is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during that item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information of the descriptions specified in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Local Government Act 1972; and
(b) In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
Update from Monitoring Officer
This item was heard in camera.