Issue - meetings

Draft Annual Governance Statement 2022/23

Meeting: 19/07/2023 - Audit Committee (Item 14)

14 Draft Annual Governance Statement 2022/23

To consider and to provide feedback on the draft Annual Governance Statement for 2022/23 as set out in Annex 1.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Finance Officer explained that in compliance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations the Council was required to prepare and publish a statement on its internal control and governance arrangements as part of the Annual Statement of Accounts.

 

It was good practice that the statement be endorsed by the Member body that has responsibility for oversight of these arrangements, hence the reason for the draft Statement being presented to the Audit Committee.

 

Paragraph 5 of the covering report explained that the Statement drew on a number of sources of information about how the Council was performing in order to give a well-rounded picture.

 

This was a particularly important document for Members of the Committee because it set out the control assurance framework that was in place to ensure that the Council was well-run and that risks were managed effectively. It explained that it would provide a useful point of reference for the work of the Committee during the coming year – for example when considering reports and updates it would be important to bear in mind the supporting information.

 

The final version of the Annual Governance Statement would include reference to the independent reports of both the external and the internal auditors when available.

 

The Statement was also an opportunity to flag any areas for concern or improvement. Two matters of note were referenced:

 

·       The Statement of Accounts for 2020/21 and 2021/22 had not yet been audited or approved by Audit Committee. An extended timescale had been agreed with the external auditor to allow time for completion of agreed actions by the Finance team to address historic shortcomings stretching back over many years in the financial fixed asset register.

 

      These issues did not call into question the accuracy of asset values in the accounts but they did give rise to significant challenges for the Finance team when assembling supporting asset records and audit trail. It was therefore agreed with Deloitte that additional capacity and time would be dedicated to remedying these issues as part of 2020/21 end of year work.

 

      The audit was now in progress and Deloitte expected to complete this by September. They would then commence work on auditing the 2021/22 accounts.

 

·       During the year the authority encountered continued issues relating to a commercial joint venture that has been addressed by the statutory officers under the direction of the Partner, Shareholder and Trustee Executive Sub-Committee and with support from external commercial and legal advisors. This matter was currently subject to legal privilege while the settlement terms were finalised.

 

Further discussion regarding the Council’s commercial affairs took place in the exempt part of the meeting.

 

The next step would then be to finalise the Statement in the autumn when the external audit opinion was received and arrange for its signature by the Leader and the Managing Director ready for inclusion in the 2022/23 audited statement of accounts that would be reported to this Committee.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

i)                  The report be noted; and

 

ii)                 In future the Committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14