Report by the Chief Operating Officer
54.1 The Cabinet considered a report by the Chief Operating Officer.
54.2 It was RESOLVED to approve the External Audit Plan for 2021/22.
54.3 The External Audit Plan provides an overview of the planned scope and timing of the statutory audit of the Council’s 2021/22 statement of accounts and identifies any significant risks.
Report by the Chief Finance Officer
36.1 The Committee considered a report by the Chief Finance Officer, which presented the plan proposed by the external auditors (Grant Thornton) in connection with the County Council’s 2021/22 accounts.
36.2 The Committee discussed:
36.2.1 Climate change impacts, environmental sustainability and Local Authority plans to reach net zero carbon emissions.
36.2.2 The significant improvements identified in the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) inspection report of October 2021 into the work of local auditors.
36.2.3 Accuracy and accounting for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes and the possible use of internal carbon pricing to assess contracts.
36.3 In response:
36.3.1 Darren Wells informed the committee that he and Ian Gutsell have discussed the implications of climate change and enhanced reporting for environmental sustainability. It was noted that the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW) has set out some of its thoughts regarding the declared climate emergency. ICAEW has focused their opinion around the commercial private sector and has not yet published an opinion in regard to local government.
36.3.2 In respect of the FRC report, Darren Wells noted that while there are challenges in acquiring 100% for compliance, Grant Thornton are committed to improving quality year on year.
36.3.3 Darren Wells explained that the PFI liability is assessed for completeness and accuracy and internal carbon pricing is not within the scope of assessment. It was noted that it is possible that there could be a future directive to include internal carbon pricing within future PFI assessments.
36.4 The Committee RESOLVED to note the report.