Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee
Wednesday, 9th September, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Webcast - Remote Meeting. View directions

Contact: Carol Hargreaves  0161 474 3216

Note: In the light of government guidance on social-distancing and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, this meeting will be held remotely. The press and public are able to follow the proceedings by watching our live webcast of the meeting. You can do so following the directions above, or by clicking on View the Webcast below. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 146 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 August 2020.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 12 August 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair, subject to the addition in the pre-amble to Minute 13 on the ‘Mazars Progress Report’ of the following:-

 

‘A representative of the external auditors, Mazars, drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that from a professional standards perspective Mazars confirmed their decision to terminate the contract referred to at the meeting due to a threat to independence. Members were comfortable that the reasons and actions taken were proportionate given the risks involved’.

 

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors and officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interests they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

The following interests were declared:-

 

Personal Interests

 

Councillor

Interest

 

 

 

John Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuart Corris

 

 

 

John Pantall

 

Agenda item 7 – ‘Annual Accounts 2019/20’ as a representative of the Council on the Manchester Airport Consultative Committee and the Manchester Airport Consultative Committee Trust Fund.

 

Agenda item 7 ‘Annual Accounts 2019/20’ as the Council’s representative on the Greater Manchester Pension Fund Management Panel and the recipient of a pension from the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

 

Agenda item 7 – ‘Annual Accounts 2019/20’ as a representative of the Council on the Manchester Airport Consultative Committee.

 

Agenda item 7 – ‘Annual Accounts 2019/20’ as an observer of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

 

 

Personal and Prejudicial Interest

 

Councillor

Interest

 

 

 

Mike Hurleston

 

 

Agenda item 7 – ‘Annual Accounts 2019/20’ as a member of the Board of the Stockport Town Centre West Mayoral Development Corporation.

 

It was noted that the Standards Committee had approved a dispensation to enable those councillors who were members of the Board of the Stockport Town Centre West Mayoral Development Corporation and who would otherwise have a personal and prejudicial interest in the matter being discussed to take part in the debate and vote at the meeting.

 

 

3.

Urgent Decisions

To report any urgent action taken under the Constitution since the last meeting of the Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No urgent decisions were reported.

4.

Public Question Time

Members of the public are invited to put questions to the Chair on any matters within the powers and duties of the Committee, subject to the exclusions set out in the Code of Practice.  (Questions must be submitted prior to the commencement of the meetingon the card provided.  These are available at the meeting. You can also submit via the Council’s website at www.stockport.gov.uk/publicquestions).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No public questions were submitted.

5.

Annual Governance Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Governance Group.

 

The report provides Members with the final version of the Council’s Annual Statement (AGS) for 2019/20.

 

Audit Committee is requested to note the report and to approve the Annual Governance Statement prior to signing by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive.

 

Officer contact : John Pearsall 474 4033 or email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services submitted a report of the Corporate Governance Group (copies of which had been circulated) providing Members with the final version of the Council’s Annual Governance Statement for 2019/20.

 

RESOLVED – That the Annual Governance Statement be approved prior to its signing by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive.

6.

Informing the Audit Risk Assessment - Enquiries of Management and Those Charged With Governance pdf icon PDF 426 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services.

 

The report provides Members with details of the Council’s response to queries raised by the external auditors, Mazars, as part of the Audit Risk Assessment.

 

Audit Committee is requested to note the report.

 

Officer contact: John Pearsall 474 4033 or email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing Members with details of the Council’s response to queries raised by the external auditors, Mazars, as part of the Audit Risk Assessment.

 

The Corporate Director, Corporate Services gave an assurance to the Committee that there had been no relaxation of the Contract Procedure Rules in order to respond to urgent issues during the Covid-19 pandemic and that the usual due diligence in the award of contracts had been followed.

 

RESOLVED – That the Council’s response be noted.

7.

Annual Accounts 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services.

 

The report provides Members with the detail of the Annual Accounts 2019/20

 

Audit Committee is requested to:

 

(i)            Note and comment upon the Annual Accounts 2019/20

 

Officer contact: Michael Cullen on 474 4631 or email: michael.cullen@stockport.gov.uk

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing Members with the details of the Annual Accounts for 2019/20.

 

Members asked a number of questions with regard to:-

 

·         Whether there were any material differences to the short term debtors

·         Whether there were any particular issues arising in the near future with regard to school expenditure and reserves.

·         Where the contingency funds for Stockport Together and Brexit were set out in the Annual Accounts.

·         What the Council was doing to ensure that it got value for money from the Greater Manchester 100% Business Rates Retention Pilot.

·         The car park project at Manchester Airport.

 

RESOLVED – That the Annual Accounts for 2019/20 be noted.

8.

Mazars Audit Completion Report pdf icon PDF 698 KB

To consider a report of the external auditors, Mazars.

 

The report provides Members with a summary of Mazars’ audit conclusions.

 

The Committee is asked to note the report.

 

Officer contact: John Pearsall on 474 4033 or Email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the external auditors, Mazars, submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing the Committee with a summary of their audit conclusions. The external auditors hoped to be in a position to sign off the accounts prior to the next scheduled meeting of the Committee on 12 October 2020.

 

Members of the Committee asked a number of questions relating to the external auditors’ views on value for money and the liabilities of the Group Accounts.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

9.

Signing of the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts and Management Letter of Representation pdf icon PDF 223 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services.

 

The report provides Members with details of the issues that have arisen during the audit..

 

Audit Committee is requested to:

 

(i)            Note the Council’s 2019/20 Statement of Accounts.

(ii)          Note the Management Letter of Representation and,

(iii)         In the event of no material changes as a result of the outstanding audit work, delegate the approval of the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts to the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services in consultation with the Chair of the Audit Committee on receipt of advice from the External Auditor.

 

Officer contact: Michael Cullen on 474 4631 or email: michael.cullen@stockport.gov.uk

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing Members with details of the issues that had arisen during the audit.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the Council’s 2019/20 Statement of Accounts be noted.

 

(2) That the Management Letter of Representation be noted.

 

(3) That, in the event of no material changes as a result of the outstanding audit work, approval of the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts be delegated to the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services, in consultation with the Chair of the Audit Committee, on receipt of advice from the External Auditor.

10.

Head of Internal Audit Annual Report and Opinion 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services.

 

It is a requirement of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS) that the Head of Internal Audit, Risk and Insurance prepares an annual report containing an overall opinion on the Council’s control framework.  The report contains this statement and details the audit work undertaken in the year from which the overall opinion has been drawn.

 

Audit Committee is requested to note the report.

 

Officer contact: John Pearsall on 474 4033 or email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out an annual report of the Head of Internal Audit, Risk and Insurance which was a requirement of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards. The annual report contained an overall opinion on the Council’s control framework and detailed the audit work undertaken in the year from which the overall opinion had been drawn.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

11.

Anti-Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services.

 

The report advises Members of the work carried out during the past year to minimise the risk of fraud, bribery and corruption occurring in Stockport Council.

 

Audit Committee is requested to note the report.

 

Officer contact: John Pearsall on 474 4033 or email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Corporate Director, Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) advising Members of the work carried out during the past year to minimise the risk of fraud, bribery and corruption occurring at the Council.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:-

 

·         Specialist Officers from Salford City Council had been commissioned to undertake two audits in the area of in internet banking and payments by direct debit as cyber security was a major issue for the Council.

·         Support was given to the principle of ‘buying in’ specialist assistance when required.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.