Report on the results of auditors’ work 2017/18: Principal local government and police bodies
This is the fourth report published by PSAA and summarises the results of auditors’ work at 495 principal local government and police bodies for 2017/18. This will be the final report under the statutory functions from the Audit Commission Act 1998 that were delegated to PSAA on a transitional basis.
The report covers the timeliness and quality of financial reporting, auditors’ local value for money work, and the extent to which auditors used their statutory reporting powers.
For 2017/18, the statutory accounts publication deadline came forward by two months to 31 July 2018. This was challenging for bodies and auditors and it is encouraging that 87 per cent of audited bodies received an audit opinion by the new deadline.
A total of 431 (87 per cent) principal local government and police bodies received an unqualified audit opinion by the new accounts publication deadline of 31 July. By 30 September the total had risen to 470 (95 per cent) which is the same figure as 2016/17 before the introduction of the new deadline.
The number of qualified conclusions on value for money (VFM) arrangements looks set to remain relatively constant. It currently stands at 7 per cent (32 councils, 1 fire and rescue authority, 1 police body and 2 other local government bodies) compared to 8 per cent for 2016/17, with a further 30 conclusions for 2017/18 still to be issued.
All the opinions issued to date in relation to bodies’ financial statements are unqualified, as was the case for the 2016/17 accounts. Auditors have made statutory recommendations to three bodies, compared to two such cases in respect of 2016/17, and issued an advisory notice to one body.