To consider report of the Chief Officer Resources.
Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Officer Resources.
The Senior Business Partner Capital and Corporate Accounting presented report which informed Members of
material changes since the draft Statement of Accounts were presented to Committee in July, together with any issues arising since the audit of the Accounts, and presented the 2020/21 Statement of Accounts for approval.
The Officer confirmed that the Council had complied with the statutory requirements in relation to publication of the Accounts and, subject to approval and signing by the Auditor General, would meet the extended deadline for completion by 30th November, 2021. Section 2.5 of the report indicated that the Accounts had been made available for inspection by the public during July and no requests to inspect the Accounts was received. He said it was also pleasing to note in Section 2.8 of the report that Audit Wales intend to provide an unqualified audit opinion on the Accounts.
The Officer then went through the report and highlighted points contained therein.
A Member referred to Section 2.8 of the report and asked when the certificate for completion of previous years’ audit could be expected.
In response the Officer confirmed that the issue preventing the 2015/16 accounts being certified as completed was still ongoing and until they are certified, a certificate of completion for the previous years’ accounts could not be certified.
The Audit Wales Officer presented the Audit of Financial Statements and went through the main findings of the audit. He confirmed that it was intended to issue an unqualified audit opinion on this year’s accounts.
He drew Members attention to paragraph 18 of the report where it referred to previous issues relating to the quality of the draft accounts, the standard of quality control procedures in preparation of the statements, and the timeliness of the working papers. However, he was pleased to report that significant improvement had been made in these areas during the 2020/21 audit.
He confirmed that it was intended to issue an unqualified audit opinion, however, the certificate of completion of the audit could not be issued due to the ongoing issues in relation to Silent Valley. However, he was pleased to report that the legal responses from the individuals identified in the report had now been received and publication of the report was imminent.
The Audit Wales Officer’s colleague confirmed that improvements had been made this year, and reported that the Finance Team had engaged with Audit Wales on a pilot scheme for conducting future audits to be rolled out across Wales. She commended the Team for their engagement on the pilot and the positive attitude towards the changes being implemented.
A Member referred to the £70m loan for the railway and asked whether the Accounts should include a statement that there was no liability to the Council.
In response the Senior Business Partner explained that when the Council starts to spend the £70m, it would be changed in the Accounts to show that we have a long term debtor and that we are owed £70m from WG/TfW to cover that liability with matching assets.
RESOLVED that the report be accepted and on consideration of this report and the External Auditor’s report, the Accounts be approved by the Governance & Audit Committee under the delegated authority of the Council. (Option 1)