The Committee received a report on the external
audit progress for 2020/21 and 2021/22.
The Head of Finance, in presenting the report,
provided Committee Members with background to the 2020/21 and
2021/22 accounts and audit, together with the audit
The Committee Members attention was drawn to
paragraph 3.4 of the report which identified the degree of scrutiny
exercised by the auditors which has increased significantly,
requiring extra input from them and the City Council’s own
finance team. This has resulted in a
greater number of proposed amendments to the draft accounts than
had been in previous years, which were of minor detail, and are now
It is anticipated at this stage that the details of
these amendments along with the final accounts and the external
report for 2020/21 will be presented to the December
meeting. It is hoped that Ernst Young
will be in attendance at the meeting.
With regard to the draft accounts for 2021/22
Committee Members were informed that these were near
completion. The statutory deadline for
publishing the final accounts has been extended to 30 November
2022, however this is unlikely to be achieved as the plan and
proposed dates for the audit of 2021/22 financial year have not yet
The Head of Finance referred to the audit fees as
outlined at paragraphs 3.8 and 3.9 of the report. The Committee’s attention was drawn to
paragraph 3.9 which related to the proposed fee for 2022/23, and
informed Committee Members that the figure should read
£48,364 and not £39,364.
The Chairman stated that the current situation was
quite unprecedented and had no bearing on the officers of the City
Council. He did ask the Finance Officer
what affect this workload was having on the officers. The Head of Finance responded by saying that they
are an experienced team and was pleased to report that no deadlines
have been missed. He did stress
however that the 4-year situation was a bit wearing.
The Head of Finance responded to questions from
Committee Members who questioned the increased scrutiny and whether
there was a set of guidelines that had been agreed to carry out
such a scrutiny. The Head of Finance
stated that if the auditors were in attendance at the meeting, they
may have said that they have not adopted a different
As the audited accounts were already 2 years behind
at the moment, Committee Members questioned the implications to the
Council and credit ratings of not getting the accounts in on
time. The Head of Finance explained the
difference between private and public sector accounts and the
consequence of not submitting accounts on time.
RESOLVED: That the Committee note the external auditor’s
progress with the audits for 2020/21 and 2021/22.