Decision details

External Audit - Lancashire County Council Audit Findings Report 2022/23

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Decisions:

Stuart Basnett, Senior Audit Manager at Grant Thornton UK presented the Lancashire County Council Audit Findings Reports for 2022/23.

 

It was highlighted that:

 

·  The implementation of Oracle Fusion had added challenges and time to the external auditor's work. The audit had identified deficiencies in how Oracle Fusion had been implemented and how it was running at year end.

 

·  Some information to support the valuation of land and buildings was outstanding from the council's external valuer. The auditors were in discussion with the council's officers about how to resolve this and obtain further information to support their valuation.

 

In response to questions from members, it was clarified that:

 

·  The additional work arising from the implementation of Oracle Fusion had led to an increased proposed audit fee. The final fee was subject to any further work required, discussion with the council's officers, and ultimately agreement with the council's Chief Finance Officer and Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA).

 

·  In relation to the valuation of land and buildings, many of the council's assets did not have a readily available market value (for example schools and waste facilities) and therefore regulations determined how their value was calculated. The auditor reviewed and challenged these calculations to ensure the assumptions were correct.

 

·  The auditor had identified a significant weakness in relation to the council's arrangements for implementing Oracle Fusion at the year-end for 2022/23. At that point, there were significant areas of improvement still to be addressed. Those issues were escalated and dealt with appropriately during the following year, so the 2023/24 auditor's report was expected to reflect an improved position. Remedial action had been taken since its implementation, so Oracle Fusion was now functioning. However, more work was required to identify and implement other processes so that the council reaped the full benefits of the system.

 

·  In response to the committee's concern that the audit work had not yet been finalised, the auditor hoped to resolve the outstanding issues promptly. The timescale for the valuation of land and buildings was the biggest unknown, because it relied on the receipt of information from the council's external valuer.

 

The committee noted the additional challenges and delays affecting the completion of the audit and asked that the outstanding issues be prioritised and resolved in a timely manner.

 

Resolved: That the Lancashire County Council Audit Findings Report 2022/23 be noted.

 

Date of decision: 22/04/2024

Decided at meeting: 22/04/2024 - Audit, Risk and Governance Committee

Accompanying Documents: