The Committee noted that the Annual Audit and Inspection Letter, issued in March 2008 by the Audit Commission, had provided an overall summary of the Audit Commission’s assessment of the Council. This followed the most recent Comprehensive Performance Assessment, the findings and conclusions from the audit of the Council for 2006/07, and inspections undertaken since the last Annual Audit and Inspection Letter. The letter had been appended to the agenda as it had to be formally placed before the Committee.
The external audit manager, Anne Ockleston, was invited to present her report. She believed that there was now a more positive message about the Council's performance. The Council had a sustained focus and had done much to clarify and further its objectives. This clarity of purpose had improved cohesiveness across the Council, which was well placed to improve its performance further. She considered that the Council should monitor the outcomes of the Improvement Plan agreed with Capita and make plans to meet the changed requirements for financial statements and the Annual Governance Statement. Looking ahead, she believed the Council and its partners needed to work closely to ensure it was ready for the new Comprehensive Area Assessment.
The Use of Resources assessment score had improved from two out of four in the previous year to three out of four in the last assessment, a fifty percent improvement. Members welcomed this news.
In answer to questions from Members, the auditor reported that there was no direct overlap between the various assessments undertaken by the Audit Commission, so comparison of scores was not easy.
In order to prepare for the new Comprehensive Area Assessment, Members asked the external auditor to provide additional information.
that the Audit and Inspection Letter issued by the Audit Commission in March 2008 be formally received and that further information on the new Comprehensive Area Assessment be sought from the Audit Commission.
(Time: 3.45pm to 4.00pm)
The Executive received and considered the Audit and Inspection letter 2006/07 submitted by the Audit Commission. Members concluded that, in general, the Audit and Inspection Letter was complimentary to the Council, although it was accepted that some improvements were needed. The Executive discussed the possibility of updating and improving its assessment score. It was recognised that resources would have to be reallocated from another service if Members wished to improve its performance assessment and this would need to be set as a corporate priority. Members concluded that as this would require additional resource that could be better spent on providing front-line services. It was recognised that the Council's performance was better than it had been able to demonstrate in the past and this was one area that needed improvement.
that the Audit and Inspection Letter 2006/07 be noted.