To consider the Audit Findings Report of the External Auditors for Warwickshire County Council along with the Letter of Representation.
The Committee received a report from the Council’s External Auditors, Grant Thornton which reported on issues arising from the audit of the County Council’s financial statements, before issuing their final opinion.
It was noted that this report was in addition to the Annual Audit Letter, also on the agenda for this meeting. The 2021/22 Audit Findings report was attached as Appendix A to the report.
Grant Thornton were represented at the meeting by Avtar Sohal and Jim McLarnon.
Avtar Sohal, introduced the report, advised that the audit was substantially complete and signposted Members to the headlines on page 17 of the document pack. He referred to the outstanding matters detailed and explained that some progress had been made since the report was written. With regard to the valuation of schools’ assets, he explained that this had progressed to the internal quality control stage within Grant Thornton and, before the opinion was issued, the auditors wanted to ensure the correct checks had taken place internally.
Following a query from the Chair, Jim McLarnon advised that Grant Thornton would strive to have the matter concluded in time for the Council papers to be issued, but this may not be possible. The Chair stressed the desire to keep any incomplete issues to a minimum.
Avtar Sohal assured the meeting that the aim was to sign off the audit opinion as soon as possible and advised that the audit had gone smoothly with good cooperation from Council officers. The value for money work had been completed with no significant weaknesses identified.
Jim McLarnon summarised the audit findings and significant risks identified. Each risk identified was accompanied by a commentary resulting in a conclusion from the auditors, along with any recommendations, if appropriate. The report highlighted that, in relation to the Collection Fund, the auditors recognised that the County Council was only able to work with the best information available and returns from District and Borough Councils were often late. This resulted in accounting entries being based on estimates but the auditors were satisfied that this would not result in a material difference.
Jim McLarnon outlined the audit adjustments on page 41 of the document pack and stated that the threshold for further detailed work no longer applied to the Council. He referred to the Value for Money work which was a separate report on the agenda and confirmed Grant Thornton’s fee proposals as laid out.
The Chair raised a concern that there was still an outstanding objection to the 2017/18 accounts, made by an elector, which the Committee had been assured in November 2021 would be dealt with and closed off. Avtar Sohal explained that the responsibility for this sat with Grant Thornton’s previous engagement lead but assured the meeting that he would again urge the engagement lead to close this off as soon as possible.
The Chair stressed his disappointment that the accounts could not be closed off due to internal administrative/quality assurance processes at Grant Thornton. He also felt that Warwickshire residents ... view the full minutes text for item 2