Audit warning lifted in recognition of Council’s improved accounting and governance processes

We’re pleased to announce that the Council’s external auditor has lifted a Section 24 notice, originally issued during the 2015/16 financial year.

Section 24 notices are a warning of financial mismanagement issued under the Local Audit and Accountability Act and are rarely issued. The auditor, Grant Thornton, has lifted the notice following substantial improvements in the way the authority manages its finances.

For the first time in a number of years, the authority has submitted draft accounts by the statutory deadline and the opinion on the 2018-19 statutory accounts is looking like it will be an unqualified opinion, subject to the final audit work being completed. Furthermore, the value for money work carried out by the auditors is likely to move from an adverse opinion in previous years to an ‘except for’ opinion for 2018/19.

The exceptions referred to in the opinion relate to the Council’s risk and performance management processes which are not yet fully embedded and must continue to improve in the coming months.

Following a review that was undertaken as part of the 2018/19 audit, Grant Thornton are now able to formally conclude that each of their recommendations under the Section 24 notice has been addressed.

Chairman of Council, Councillor Robert Francis, said: “I’m delighted that this warning has finally been lifted from the Council and want to thank all of our Officers and Councillors for their excellent work in turning things around. Sound financial management is not just an audit issue, it affects our ability to deliver services to the community. Our aim now is to further improve and embed all our governance processes so that the Council of the Isles of Scilly will be a trusted and effective authority for years to come.”

Vice-Chairman and Lead Member for Finance, Councillor Fran Grottick, said: “the transformation in the Council’s finances over the last 2 years has been hugely impressive. There is still room for improvement and I will continue to monitor all our governance processes closely, however we must take a moment to recognise this achievement. It is an important milestone towards financial stability and value for money over the long-term.”

Publishing date: 
Friday, 26 July, 2019