Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The External Audit Manager presented the External Audit Plan for the Council for the year ended 31 March 2020. The Plan set out an overview of the planned scope and timing of the statutory audit of the Council for those charged with governance.
The document aimed to assist the Committee in understanding the consequences of External Audit’s work, discuss issues of risk and the concept of materiality and identify those areas of work External Audit would undertake during the year.
In presenting the report, the External Audit Manager referred to significant risks, particularly that of Covid-19 and implications on financial reporting and accounting. He felt it was important to highlight that the 2019/20 assessment would not major on the impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s arrangements. It had been agreed, however, with the National Audit Office that it was not appropriate to penalise any entity as a result of impact of Covid-19 later on in the financial year; this would obviously be different moving forward.
In response to a question as to whether the External Audit Manager expected the Covid-19 risk to appear within audits for the next several years, he informed the Committee that he believed it would have a significant impact for the foreseeable future. This was far reaching and the impact and the opportunities presented in terms of service delivery moving forward would require agility and change.
In addition, the External Audit Manager informed Members that one of the areas that would be impacted on in 2019/20 from a financial reporting perspective was on within-year accounts. Some material uncertainties had been highlighted around the value of the Council’s land and buildings at year end as a direct result of Covid-19. This would be emphasised within the audit report for 2019/20. He assured Members that this was standard across all audits and was not a qualification of accounts but merely emphasising that existing disclosure within the Council’s accounts.
No Member having raised concern when asked by the Chairman, it was
RESOLVED – That the External Audit Plan for South Lakeland District Council year ended 31 March 2020 be noted.
Publication date: 15/10/2020
Date of decision: 17/09/2020
Decided at meeting: 17/09/2020 - Audit Committee