Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Audit Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday, 30th July, 2018
Time:
4.00pm
Place:
Conference Room 2, Second Floor, Municipal Buildings, Church Road, Stockton on Tees
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Barry Woodhouse(Chairman), Cllr Norma Stephenson (Sub Cllr Chris Barlow(Vice Chairman)), Cllr Stefan Houghton, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Kathryn Nelson, Cllr Ross Patterson, Cllr Paul Rowling, Cllr Mick Stoker,
Officers:
Andy Bryson, Andrew Barber (D of F&BS), Marianne Sleeman (DCE)
In Attendance:
Gareth Roberts, Mark Kirkham (MAZARS)
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Chris Barlow, Cllr Laura Tunney
Item Description Decision
Public
A
11/18
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
A
12/18
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
A
13/18
DRAFT MINUTES FROM THE AUDIT COMMITTEE MEETING 29TH MAY 2018
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting held on 29th May 2018 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.
A
14/18
EXTERNAL AUDIT - AUDIT COMPLETION REPORT AND VALUE FOR MONEY
RESOLVED that:-

1. The report be noted.

2. The Chair write to all elected members regards the audit findings in relation to Councillors timely return of Related Party Transaction disclosures.
A
15/18
ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - APPROVAL AFTER AUDIT (TO FOLLOW)
Members agreed to sign the Annual Financial Statement for approval.

RESOLVED that the Statement of Accounts for 2017/18 be approved and the Chairman of the Audit Committee sign the balance sheet.
A
16/18
ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT 2017/18
RESOLVED that the Annual Governance Statement for 2017/18 be approved.
A
17/18
WORK PROGRAMME 2018 / 2019
RESOLVED that the Work Programme be noted.

Preamble

ItemPreamble
A
11/18
Evacuation procedures were noted.
A
12/18
There were no interests declared.
A
13/18
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 29th May 2018.
A
14/18
Members were presented with and asked to consider the External Audit - Audit Completion and Value for Money report, prepared by Mazars, for the year ending 31st March 2018.

The Committee noted the matters that had been outstanding and received an update as to the conclusions reached on each area.

Members also noted that no new significant risks had been identified since the Audit Strategy Memorandum considered by the Committee on 28th February 2018. In addition, all of the Council's accounting policies and disclosures complied with the requirements of the Code and the draft accounts published by the Council on 31st May 2018 were of a good quality overall.

The Committee noted with disappointment the findings noted regarding late/non return of officer/member Related Party Transactions and it was proposed that the Chair of the Committee highlight this concern in writing to all members of the Council.

Mazars thanked officers of the Council for their assistance in completion of the audit, and in return, the Chair thanked Mazars for their thorough work and reassurance provided.
A
15/18
The Committee noted that the Councils accounts had now been completed in accordance with the ‘Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom 2017/18' which was prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards. A verbal update to the report offered regarding the Annual Financial Statement for 2017 / 2018 was also provided.

The period in which electors had the right to examine the accounts, question the auditor and to make objections at audit had been set and had concluded and the Council had not received any requests to examine the accounts during this period.

The external report on the statement of accounts and value for money, the ‘Annual Completion' report highlighted a small number of agreed changes to the draft accounts presented to this Committee in May. The accounts had since been updated for these adjustments.

The following key financial issues were included in the accounts:

- It was noted reserves had dropped by 28m. The overall revenue deficit was 843,000

- Non-Current Assets amounted to 322m which was a reduction of 2m and reflected the sale of land, buildings during the year.

- Current investments and cash was 36m, this was a decrease of 18m from the previous year which was largely due to the long term investment in the CCLA Property Fund which was included within the Non-Current Asset figure.

- The Council's current long and short term borrowings total of 47.3m was a reduction of 0.2m with no additional borrowing.

- The Council's earmarked reserves (excluding schools) stood at 64.3m, wand was a reduction on the previous year.

- The General Fund balance at 31st March stood at 7.6m and school reserves stood at 5m.

- The Council's Pension Scheme deficit had increased to 223.9m which was an increase of 11.1m. This was a result of the actuaries' assessment of fund performance and the re-measurement of scheme assets and liabilities.

Members agreed to sign the Annual Financial Statement for approval.
A
16/18
Members were asked to consider and approve the Annual Governance Statement Report 2017-2018.
The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 require all authorities in England to conduct a review at least once a year of the effectiveness of its governance framework and produce an Annual Governance Statement to accompany its Statement of Accounts.
The Annual Governance Statement included an acknowledgement of responsibility for ensuring that proper arrangements were in place around the governance of its affairs and an indication of the level of assurance that the system provided. The statement also included a description of the key elements forming the governance framework, a description of the process applied in reviewing the effectiveness of this framework, including the system of internal control, and an outline of the actions taken or, proposed to be taken, to deal with significant governance issues.
It was confirmed that in the time since the draft statement was brought to the last Audit Committee, one change had been made which removed reference to the Audit Commission. There were however no significant issues to highlight within the Statement.
A
17/18
The Committee noted the Work Programme for 2018 / 2019 which would be subject to fluctuation and change of conditions, as required.

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