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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2 - Waltham Forest Town Hall. View directions

Contact: John Williams, Democratic Services Officer  020 8496 4344 | Email: john.williams@walthamforest.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

14.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIR

Minutes:

In the absence of the Chair and Vice-Chair, Councillor Saima Mahmud was nominated, seconded and duly appointed as Chair of the meeting.

 

Councillor Mahmud in the Chair

 

15.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Joe Lacey-Holland and for lateness from Councillor Umar Ali.

 

It was noted that Councillor Mahmud was present as substitute Member for Councillor Lacey-Holland.

 

Apologies were also received from Mark Hynes, Director of Governance and Law.  Kim Travis, Head of Litigation and Public Law, was in attendance in his place. 

16.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members are required to declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they or their spouse/partner may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting. Interests are defined on the inside cover of this agenda.

Minutes:

None.

17.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2018.

Decision:

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

18.

REPORT BY THE EXTERNAL AUDITOR ON THE AUTHORITY'S FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED MARCH 2018 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The situation has arisen whereby the reports for this special meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee scheduled for next Thursday will not be ready in time for the statutory day of publication, 18 July 2018.  The reasons for reasons why the reports are late – namely the ongoing conversations  ...  view the full agenda text for item 18.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Committee considered the matters raised in the External Auditor’s ‘Annual Governance Report – Waltham Forest Council’ (Appendix 1);

  

The Committee:

 

(a)  noted the reasons for the lateness and urgency of the report;

 

(b)  agreed the management responses to the key issues and recommendations as set out in Appendix 1  ...  view the full decision text for item 18.

Minutes:

At 6.35 p.m. Councillor Umar Ali (Vice-Chair) joined the meeting and took the chair.

 

Councillor U Ali in the Chair

 

Introduction - Before considering the matters raised in the External Auditor’s ‘Annual Governance Report – Waltham Forest Council’ (Appendix 1), the Committee received a presentation from Brian Moldon, Chief Accountant, on the Statement of Accounts for the year ended March 2018  (Minute 19 refers). The presentation slides have been appended to the electronic version of the minutes.

 

Mr Moldon updated the Committee on:

 

         The Accounts and Audit Regulations (England) 2015

         The Process and Timetable

         International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Update

         Financial Results: 2017/18

 

The Regulations 2015 stated that the Chief Finance Officer is required to sign and certify the accounts are true and fair by 31 May each year; and the Council is required to approve the Statement of Accounts following external audit and prior to 31 July each year, which it has delegated to the Committee, with the process culminating at this meeting.

 

Mr Moldon said that the accounts were prepared in accordance with “The Code of Practice on Local Authority in the UK” as issued by CIPFA, which is based on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).  The Committee approved the Accounting Policies and noted no major changes to the Code at its meeting on 8 March 2018.

 

The accounts comprised the following core statements:

       Comprehensive Income & Expenditure Statement

       Movement in Reserves Statement

       Balance Sheet

       Cash Flow Statement

 

 

 

In addition, they contained:

       Notes to the Accounts

       Housing Revenue Account

       Collection Fund Account

       Pension Fund Accounts (noted by the Pension Fund Committee on

28 June 2018)

 

Mr Moldon went through each of these elements as set out in the presentation slides.

 

With regard to the Notes, he said that officers always endeavoured to reduce the volume, but at the same time they had to meet new requirements as they were added to the Code.

 

Caryle Webb-Ingall asked whether the recently announced rises in public sector pay would be met from reserves.  It was explained that they would feature in the General Fund for the current year and had already been accounted for.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Moldon for a clear and comprehensive explanation.  He then welcomed Neil Hewitson and Charlotte Goodrich to the meeting and invited them to address the Committee.

 

External Auditors’ Presentation - Mr Hewitson said that he had two responsibilities in relation to two entities; namely to issue an opinion and to reach a value for money conclusion for both the Council (as local authority) and the Pension Fund.

 

He was pleased to give an unqualified opinion for both entities; and an unqualified value for money conclusion in each case. 

 

Valuation of Land and Buildings - Mr Hewitson drew Members’ attention to this significant audit risk.  In 2016-17 the External Auditors raised a high-priority recommendation regarding the way property, plant and equipment (PPE) valuations were recorded and reported in response to errors in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

APPROVAL OF THE AUTHORITY'S FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED MARCH 2018 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

As above.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The  Committee:

 

(a)  noted the reasons for the lateness and urgency of the report;

 

(b)  approved the Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018, as set out in appendix 2; and

 

(c)  delegated to the Strategic Director of Finance & Governance the authority to make any further  ...  view the full decision text for item 19.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Strategic Director of Finance and Governance and the Chief Accountant.  Brian Moldon asked Members to take into account the presentation they had received earlier.

 

LOBO (Lender Option Borrower Option) Neil Hewitson said that the External Auditors were required to certify that the accounts had been completed.  An objection had been received in relation to LOBO loans: this is a complicated matter which is the subject of an organised campaign in which a number of local authorities have been implicated.  The consequences for Waltham Forest are that the Auditor cannot issue his certificate for 2016-17 or 2017-18.

Ms Webb-Ingall asked whether the 2016-17 accounts remained a concern, and also whether the situation had implications for the change of external auditor. 


Mr Turnbull said that as the objection had been replicated across the country, the National Audit Office is co-ordinating an approach to the response.  Regardless of who the auditors are, the objections are alike. 

 

Members agreed that the Committee should place on record its appreciation of the hard work undertaken by the Auditors, the Accountancy and Property teams.

 

The Committee:

 

(a)  noted the reasons for the lateness and urgency of the report;

 

(b)  approved the Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018, as set out in appendix 2; and

 

(c)  delegated to the Strategic Director of Finance & Governance the authority to make any further amendments to the Statement of Accounts prior to their publication that might arise before the certified completion of the external audit.

 

The Vice-Chair then signed the accounts.