The Annual Audit Letter for Lancashire County Council and Lancashire County Pension Fund 2018-19
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Robin Baker, Director, Grant Thornton and Angela Pieri, Senior Manager, Public Sector Audit, Grant Thornton presented the Annual Audit Letter which summarised the outcome of the work of the external auditors in 2018/19. The report included the key messages in relation to the financial statements audit and audit opinion, and value for money conclusion.
It was highlighted that:
· It was an annual audit requirement to produce this report summarising the high level findings and it was confirmed that it largely reflected the audit report that was presented to the committee at the 29 July 2019 meeting.
· The auditors had issued unqualified audit opinions for both the county council and the county council pension fund prior to the statutory deadline. This included an unqualified value for money conclusion, confirming that the county council had appropriate arrangements in place for its use of resources. The key factors in determining this had been the completed risk based internal audit work for the year and the progress made to stabilise the financial position with reduced reliance on reserves, despite ongoing challenges. However, it was noted that the certificate of completion could not be issued, as audits from previous years remained open due to an ongoing police investigation.
· Attention was drawn to the update regarding audit fee charges in the report. It was clarified that the fees were subject to approval by Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd.
· In response to a question it was clarified that although the report stated that the delivery of savings in 2018/19 provided 'some' assurance that the county council process for delivering savings was robust; it was recognised that considerable progress had been made. The financial position for local government continued to be challenging and the cautious language in the report reflected this.
· The chair acknowledged the explanation of the additional fees of £9,000 and that the renegotiated five year contract from 2018/19 would continue to deliver an overall saving on the previous charges levied.
Resolved: That the Annual Audit Letter for 2018/19, as presented, be noted.
Date of decision: 28/10/2019
Decided at meeting: 28/10/2019 - Audit, Risk and Governance Committee