Agenda item


The Audit Findings Report for the Council and Avon Pension Fund will be presented by the External Auditor.


Followed by the Letter of Representation and Informing the Audit Risk Assessment Appendices (approx – 15 Mins)


The Committee will then approve the Accounts


The External Auditors – Peter Barber and Sophie Morgan-Bower presented the report.  The national issues contributing to the delays in audit were outlined, including infrastructure asset accounting, and it was highlighted that the audit was also impacted through resourcing issues due to sickness.  The audit was very close to completion and there was an expectation that an unqualified opinion would be issued.  There were a few changes required to the statements in relation to Property, Plant & Equipment with some large figures and a prior year adjustment.  These had no impact on the Council’s revenue outturn position reported to Cabinet or usable reserves.


Work was still being finalised in respect of Infrastructure Asset accounting with a change required in relation to the useful asset life being used by the Council to depreciate these assets. The asset life used were lower than the standard lives recently published in CIPFA guidance. This would need concluding before the final audit opinion could be given.


During discussion the following points arose:


·  As regards roads and bridges which were assets the Council owned but could not be realised.  There was depreciation on the expenditure spent on fixing and building them so there was an intrinsic value.

·  Some depreciation had been significantly understated compared to CIPFA guidance, therefore looking forward it was important that this was corrected and appropriate asset lives used.

·  Roads and bridges were different to buildings which increased in value, they needed upkeep and replacement in time.

·  It appeared that in the long term the Council had been prudent but this was not a fair reflection of practice.

·  The clean air zone hardware had been paid for by central government but the revenue that was generated was the Council’s.

·  Infrastructure valuation must follow the CIPFA code and was on a cyclical approach.

·  There was a further uplift in audit fees due to work in the last few months due to lots of engagement with the valuers in respect of Property, Plant & Equipment queries.

·  VFM (value for money), which was overdue, would be undertaken as one single report on 2021/22 and 2022/23 together.  This would result in efficiencies and was expected in May 2023 to mid-summer.  The Section 151 Officer confirmed that this approach was practical for the Council and achievable.

·  It was noted that there were Council elections in May which would result in a newly appoint Corporate Audit Committee shortly after.

·  A new team from the external auditors would work on the next year’s accounts.

·  As a result of the accounts not being ready for sign-off at this meeting it would be delegated to the Section 151 Officer and the Chair.


On a motion from Councillor Andy Furse, seconded by Councill Colin Blackburn it was




1)  the issues contained within the Audit Findings Reports for the Council and Avon Pension Fund be noted;

2)  the audited Statement of Accounts, including the Letters of Representation and informing the Audit Risk Assessment for both Bath & North East Somerset Council and the Avon Pension Fund for 2021/22, be approved, subject to, any amendments necessary upon quantification of the impact of any issues arising from the ongoing work by the external auditors;

3)  the Chair of the Corporate Audit Committee and the Chief Finance Officer make arrangements to sign the Statement of Accounts for 2021/2022 as representing a “true and fair view” of the financial position as at 31st March 2022, following any amendments necessary upon quantification of the impact of any issues arising from ongoing work by the external auditors; and

4)  if there was any concern before the accounts were signed-off, if necessary, the Chair would email the Committee.

Supporting documents: