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Posted by: John Brace | 4th November 2015

KPMG (external auditors) advise councillors that report nearly finished on objection to Merseytravel’s 2014/15 accounts

KPMG (external auditors) advise councillors that report nearly finished on objection to Merseytravel’s 2014/15 accounts

                                                   

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee 3rd November 2015

John Fogarty speaking at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee 3rd November 2015 about risk management

John Fogarty speaking at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee 3rd November 2015 about risk management

Risk management was a subject John Fogarty tried very hard to be interesting about by making topical references to Thomas Cook, TalkTalk and Volkswagen, however he was completely unaware that he was being upstaged by a couple in the background flirting while waiting for the lift (as pictured above).

That is the most interesting introduction I can make to a write-up of yesterday’s Audit Committee meeting. You can read the reports for the public meeting on Merseytravel’s website.

The one Wirral Council councillor on the Audit Committee (Cllr Mike Sullivan) wasn’t present and didn’t send his apologies. The other five councillors on the Committee were there (the Chair Cllr Anthony Carr (Sefton Council), Deputy Chair Cllr Nina Killen (Sefton Council), Cllr Andy Moorhead (Knowsley Council), Cllr Rob Polhill (Halton Borough Council) and Cllr Pam Thomas (Liverpool City Council).

On the agenda were three main items a presentation by John Fogarty (Treasurer to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) on risk management, a quarterly update on internal audit work and the final item was a report from the Treasurer on the final accounts for 2014/15 (which had two appendices the draft report to those charged with governance from the external auditors KPMG and the Annual Audit Letter 2014/15.

Although one of those reports only mentions one formal objection (I referred to the objection I made here), there is still another formal objection to the accounts.

As Merseytravel and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority are audited separately (although this Audit Committee covers both bodies), I would guess that this relates to the matter discussed at Merseytravel’s meeting on the 1st October 2015 and minuted in this way (Members means councillors)Finally the Director advised of an objection raised by a member of the public in relation to a historical item from the accounts relating to the internal transfer of funds between two Merseytravel services. The outcome of this matter could be reported to Members once resolved. Councillor Abbey asked that it be placed on record that such complaints did result in a cost to council taxpayers as they required investigation by external auditors.

The external auditors (KPMG) confirmed at yesterday’s meeting that they are in the process of writing a report on that matter and hope to report back soon, however did confirm that the matter the objection related to doesn’t pass the threshold of materiality.

Due to the unresolved objection, the accounts haven’t been closed by the statutory deadline of the 30th September 2015.

There is not much else interesting I could write about the Audit Committee meeting (although video of the meeting can be watched below).

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee 3rd November 2015

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Responses

  1. Indeed Cllr abbey and will you and your colleagues be making good this loss to the public purse as it is your task to spot such errors?

    • I’ve no idea the details of what the other objection is about (I’ll just have to wait for the report). My objection was easily resolved by adding a missing name to the accounts to make them legal.

      However Cllr Abbey is just one of twenty councillors on the Merseytravel Committee that considered the 2014/15 accounts.

      So far the talk at public meetings about that objection is that it’s in relation to something from decades ago.

      Therefore it may relate to a decision made well before Cllr Abbey started on the Merseytravel Committee (or its predecessor bodies).

      The cost as you are probably aware is met from the public purse, not by councillors personally (although obviously councillors contribute to Merseytravel’s budget like everyone else through council tax and other taxes anyway).

    • I will add to this, if the sole Wirral Council councillor on the LCRCA/Merseytravel Audit Committee doesn’t turn up to yesterday’s public meeting or send his apologies, accounting can hardly be a great political priority for the Wirral Labour Group can it?

      • well that is what I did mean. I do clearly recall a meeting of the AGM of the Leasowe Millenium centre where Cllr abbey presided in 2011.
        The meeting had no accounts distributed and the Board was hard pushed to be able to provide just one copy for myself and a member of the Centre. The object was to discover whether the company was solvent but no accounting officer attended to answer questions.

        Mr Abbey was flummoxed in that he said nobody had ever before objected to not having the accounts submitted for approval to the Members but we pointed out the requirements of the Companies Acts 2006.

        The above and the non-attendance of a councillor at the Merseytravel committee is exactly what is wrong with local government. Perhaps readers will remember the large sums lost on the 08 card leading to the resignation of the Merseytravel CEO. Of course using public apathy the authorities that be managed to sweep it under the carpet and all (mal) feasors and others got paid at the ratepayers expense.

        • What was the name of the company (or charity) that it was an AGM of in 2011?

          Looking at what Cllr Abbey was appointed to then, it would seem to be the Leasowe Play, Youth & Community Association Management Committee?

          There’s a registered charity of that name (702959), see the Charity Commission website entry, but I don’t see a company of that name.

          Does the Companies Act 2006 apply to charities?

          As that charity had an income of less than £25,000 to report to its 2011 AGM, the accounts for that year are not on the Charity Commission website. However the spending for that year was £173 more than the income was.

  2. Don’t you just love it when one get on their high horse and moans about the cost to taxpayers etc, but is quite happy to waste millions over the course of the year and not bat an eyelid!

    As for the person who didn’t turn up they should be fined!
    If you where late for work etc your wages would be docked and maybe given other sanactions so why the hell do these get away with it!

    • Councillors are paid the same whether they turn up or don’t turn up.

      I think (I presume it’s still in effect) there is a legal requirement though that if a councillor doesn’t turn up public meetings for a continuous six month period that they lose their seat and a by-election is triggered.

      I suppose if you’re using your job analogy that would be the equivalent of being sacked and having to reapply for the job.


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