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Is it common practice for councillors to agree the AGAR without sight of internal audit reports?

0 votes
I am a relatively new parish councillor and recently attended the meeting to agree the AGAR for the year ending March 2021.  While working through Section 1, page 4 of the document, we came to point 7 which reads: "We took appropriate action on all matters raised in reports from internal and external audit."  I queried this as I have not seen any internal audit reports nor heard anything of the matters they may have raised.  It was acknowledged in the meeting that these reports aren't circulated to councillors.  
Nonetheless, all councillors (except me) were content to tick the "yes" box on this page and to sign the form off.
Is this common practice?
by (250 points)

4 Answers

0 votes

You are right.  The Council should have received the internal audit report when it was undertaken along with seeing the previous years external audit report when it came back from the auditors.  Sadly what has happened here is that the council are not following their legal obligations and seeing this as literally a tick-box exercise.

In my council, I give out a report that lists all 9 statements and list under each one evidence as to how they can agree 'yes' which I take from the published guidance.  You might want to have a look as to what is actually expected and raise this with your council...

Microsoft Word - practitioners-guide-2020.docx (pkf-l.com)

by (20.5k points)
Agreed wholeheartedly and just to point out that Councillors are RESPONSIBLE for what they agree to. If you agree to the box ticking style without sight of the figures (including budgets and precept bids) then if there are flaws or mistakes then you take the can for negligence
0 votes
Just also to suggest that in future, ask for a recorded vote so that the names of the councillors agreeing the statement are listed and you are recorded as voting against.  It will give you some protection.
by (20.5k points)
Many thanks for the four answers and comments.
This is very helpful, I shall, in future consider asking for a recorded vote and I also feel more confident that I shouldn't just fall in with the general position.
0 votes

Not at all uncommon - I witnessed a PC vote to accept the AGAR even though NONE of them had actually seen any supporting documents prior to the vote AND having been publicly informed of known discrepancies, omissions and anomalies PRIOR to the vote. 4 new Cllr’s elected May 21 and with no responsibility for 20/21 period abstained but in the absence of a named vote are corporately liable. 

Correspondence with the external auditor has already been established with a view to submitting a public challenge and the information received from EA was that PC will be charged £355/hr for time required to deal with public challenge.

Best guess is about 2 days worth of EA time - gusting £6k bill for PC laugh

by (6.3k points)
0 votes
It is common practice but bad practice and a dereliction of duty.
by (32.6k points)

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