External Audit - Lancashire County Council Audit Plan 2019/20
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Paul Dosset, Partner, Grant Thornton presented a report detailing the Lancashire County Council Audit Plan provided by the council’s external auditors, for the year ending 31 March 2020.
The following points were highlighted from the report:
· Central Government had extended the deadline for the submission of the audited annual accounts by three months to 30 November 2020, to take into consideration potential delays arising from the current pandemic.
· The report outlined the key items of the audit plan and identified significant risks which required specific audit consideration. The risks identified were:
ü Revenue recognition and management override of controls, applied to all audits in both the private and public sector.
ü The valuation of the pension fund liability, which would be based on actuarial assessments.
ü Valuation of land, buildings and investment property. Included as local authorities had relatively large asset bases.
ü The valuing and accounting of the Municipal Bonds Agency loan.
ü The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of producing the financial statements, such as remote auditing.
· In line with regulatory guidance, the level of materiality had reduced from the prior year and this would require additional testing. The Value for Money statement would include implications of the impact of challenges faces by the council, including those arising from the pandemic. An interim audit had been completed and no items had been identified that required highlighting. The fee would take into account additional work required by the regulatory framework which was in itself being reviewed.
In response to questions from members the following information was clarified:
· The initial assessment of the financial positionof the council remained strong, despite the financial pressures resulting from Covid-19, compared to councils with more limited reserves. Neil Kissock, Director of Finance confirmed that although the council would be forecasting a gap, additional funding streams from central Government had offset some of the additional short to medium term costs incurred and an emergency budget was not anticipated. This would be kept under close review. An update for august Cabinet will set out current and longer term financial reporting.
Resolved: That the Lancashire County Council audit plan for 2019/20, as presented, be noted by the Audit, Risk and Governance Committee.
Date of decision: 27/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 27/07/2020 - Audit, Risk and Governance Committee