To receive the minutes of the Governance and Audit Committee meeting held on 23 November 2022 (copy enclosed).
The minutes of the Governance and Audit Committee meeting held on the 23 November 2022 were presented for consideration.
Matters of Accuracy –
Page 13 – Budget Process update – The statement ‘The proposals had included the use of cash reserves in 2024/25.’ Should read 2023/24.
Matters Arising –
Page 12 - Capital Process and The Future of the Strategic Investment Group – The Chair asked for an update if the Capital Process had been presented to Council – The Head of Finance confirmed the Capital Budget was being presented to County Council in February for approval. A report on Revenue Budget was due to be presented to County Council 31 January.
Page 9 – Corporate Risk Register – Independent Lay Member Nigel Rudd asked for an update on any progression on the use of picture diagrams or tables used within the register. The Chief Internal Auditor agreed to seek an update from the Strategic Planning Team. Mr Rudd suggested the use of a SMART reference in relation to the suggestion.
Page 8 – Minutes – Independent Lay Member Paul Whitham made a comment on the WLGA online training along with the reference to training on additional training on the Corporate Risk Register, suggesting it may be beneficial for the committee to have a training plan to identify what training has been requested, what had taken place and training due to take place. The Chair agreed that it may be beneficial for members to monitor training and make suggestions of future training areas. The Chief Internal Auditor suggested an information report on future training sessions could be included on the agenda.
Page 14 - Progress Update on Statement of Accounts 2021/22 - The Chair asked if any update was available on the Statement of Accounts. The Head of Finance confirmed there was an issue on the asset register for the Statement of Accounts. The item that was causing the difficulties was the way the authority had apportioned the spend on council houses, where it had been apportioned it to the asset type as a whole rather than individual assets. The original request had been to review the asset register to 2007/2008. The intention had been to complete that work during January 2023 to allow Audit Wales time to audit the additional work on the asset register. Following that work it was hoped the report would be completed for presentation to the committee in March 2023. Unfortunately, when commencing that work he informed members that there were no working papers to back up those records. It was explained that financial papers were not stored for that length of time.
He confirmed discussions and conversations with Audit Wales to resolve the issue had taken place. He informed the committee, it had been agreed to restate the asset register from 2016/17 to the present day. That date had been chosen as that year was the last date that all council houses were revalued. He stressed the work had started, but it may prove difficult to meet the report deadline for the March committee meeting. Finance officers thanked Audit Wales for the continued support and positive communication.
A full update meeting will be presented at the March committee meeting.
The legislation for publication of the accounts had changed over recent years, it still stated the early close down dates. Members heard if a dispensation was issued explaining why those deadlines are not met the accounts can be published at a later date. The authority had fulfilled the legal requirements needed.
David Williams the Audit Wales representative echoed the thoughts of the Head of Finance. He concurred correspondence had taken place and they were satisfied it would be the best way forward.
Audit Wales looked for assurance of the opening balances to ensure a clear audit opinion can be provided.
The Head of Finance informed the committee that currently it was only Denbighshire County Council that was in the current situation. In the previous few years 2 other local authorities had been in a similar situation. Communication with those councils and officers who have worked on those issued had been very beneficial for both Audit Wales officers and Denbighshire Finance officers.
The Chair offered the support of the committee to all officers, including the agreement for a special meetings or further discussions that may be needed if required.
RESOLVED, subject to the above that the minutes of the Governance and Audit committee held on 23 November 2022 be received and approved as a correct record.