Delay in Final AGAR Reports

Dear Clerks and RFO’s

I’m sorry to confirm that a number of you have not received your final report from PKF Littlejohn despite meeting all of your deadlines in good time.  We in Bucks, are not alone and the same situation has occurred in other counties too although I am not sure if they problem is just with PKF or is affecting other audit providers too.  If you are affected you will have received an email with a number of attachments and in the external auditor report area it will in all likelihood say something like this;

Except for the matters reported below, on the basis of our review of Sections 1 and 2 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR), in our opinion the information in Sections 1 and 2 of the AGAR is in accordance with Proper Practices and no other matters have come to our attention giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been met.

The smaller authority has submitted its AGAR and supporting documentation prior to 30 September 2022; however, we have not been able to complete our review work in time to enable to smaller authority to publish the required documentation in line with statutory

requirements. Once we have completed our review a final report will be provided with the certificate of completion detailing any qualifications and ‘other’ matters.

Our fee note for the limited assurance review will be issued when we certify completion.

Helen has contacted NALC in my absence to confirm the situation here and we will be following up next week to establish more facts but in the meantime read PKF’s letter carefully to take necessary actions in accordance with this circumstance below is an example but check your letter carefully before acting on the points below!

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234) set out what you must do at the conclusion of the review. In advance of the formal conclusion, we have provided the attached documents. The authority should use this ‘interim’ external auditor report and:

• Prepare a “Notice of audit” which details the rights of inspection, in line with the statutory requirements. We attach a pro forma notice you may use for this purpose (a Word version is available on request). It also states that the audit has not yet been completed.

• Publish the “Notice” along with the uncertified AGAR (Sections 1, 2 & 3) before 30 September, which must include publication on the smaller authority’s website. (Please note that when the statute and regulations were amended in 2014 and 2015, they did not include a requirement for the length of time for which that the “Notice” must be published. The previous statute required 14 days; but it is now up to the authority to make this decision).

• Keep copies of the AGAR available for purchase by any person on payment of a reasonable sum.

• Ensure that Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the published AGAR remain available for public access for a period of not less than 5 years from the date of publication.

We will be back in touch on this matter as soon as we have any further information, including perhaps querying the fee note! I am making our Monitoring Officers aware just in case an over exuberant parishioner pounces on this matter.

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