This is the first report for local government bodies published by PSAA, and it summarises the results of auditors’ work at 509 principal bodies and 9,755 small bodies for 2014/15. The report covers the timeliness and quality of financial reporting, auditors’ local value for money work, and the extent to which auditors utilised their statutory reporting powers.
The timeliness and quality of financial reporting for 2014/15 remained broadly consistent with the previous year for both principal and small bodies. Against a background of financial challenges, the sector is clearly working hard to achieve appropriate standards in its stewardship of resources.
Auditors at 97 per cent of principal bodies were able to issue the opinion on the 2014/15 accounts by 30 September 2015, with 23 bodies receiving an unqualified audit opinion by 31 July 2015. For the second year in a row there have been no qualified opinions issued to date to principal bodies. The number of qualified conclusions on value for money arrangements remained consistent with the previous year at 4 per cent.
For small bodies, auditors were able to issue their opinion on the annual return by 30 September 2015 at 99 per cent of parish councils and internal drainage boards. This is consistent with the previous year. The number of qualified opinions issued by 30 September 2015 to parish councils increased from 11 per cent for 2013/14 to 14 per cent for 2014/15, but decreased for internal drainage boards from 16 per cent to 7 per cent.
To accompany the report, PSAA has published a list of the qualified 2014/15 opinions for small bodies. The list identifies those parish councils and internal drainage boards where auditors issued a qualified opinion on the 2014/15 annual return, and whether the opinion was also qualified in either of the previous two years. The list also provides an update on the 99 small bodies where the auditor was not able to issue an opinion on the 2014/15 annual return by 30 September 2015.