Why did 2 missing words from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 2014/15 accounts end up costing YOU £4,755?

Why did 2 missing words from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 2014/15 accounts end up costing YOU £4,755?

Why did 2 missing words from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 2014/15 accounts end up costing YOU £4,755?


Councillor Phil Davies (Chair) at a meeting earlier this year of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

In the interests of openness and transparency here is an email I’ve just written. We’ll see what happens tomorrow morning. You can read the objection that led to the KPMG (the external auditors for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) increasing their bill by £4,755 here.

Councillor Anthony Carr (Chair) anthony.carr@councillors.sefton.gov.uk
Councillor Nina Killen (Deputy Chair) nina.killen@councillors.sefton.gov.uk
Councillor Andy Moorhead andy.moorhead@knowsley.gov.uk
Councillor Rob Polhill rob.polhill@halton.gov.uk
Councillor Mike Sullivan mikesullivan@wirral.gov.uk
Councillor Pam Thomas pamela.thomas@liverpool.gov.uk

Subject: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee meeting (3rd November 2015) item 6 LCRCA Final Accounts 2014/15

Dear all,

I have read the reports for tomorrow’s meeting and as you are the people on the Audit Committee there to represent the people of Merseyside I wish to make the following points to you.

If you wish me to explain at the public meeting itself why I made the objection I am happy to do so, but as you will understand in this email what I stated in the objection is the tip of a larger iceberg.

Firstly, the same error was also made in the Merseytravel accounts (I think since Merseytravel’s Audit and Governance Sub-Committee was disbanded you are also responsible for Merseytravel’s accounts too). I know someone else made an objection to the Merseytravel accounts (I didn’t), but had I made the same objection to the Merseytravel accounts too as this would’ve added an extra ~£5k to your audit costs.

As it’s never been made clear to me if the same error in Merseytravel’s accounts was also corrected, I would appreciate an answer to that point.

There are other points about the accounts that I did not raise in my objection, that you as the Audit Committee should be made aware of.

The accounts for 2014/15 and accompanying reports refer to the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015. However the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 only apply to financial years from 2015/16 onwards, therefore this is another error.

Finally, I am concerned that the system of internal controls at the LCRCA, the external auditor or the councillors approving the accounts did not spot this or the matters relating to my objection.

I hope at the meeting tomorrow you will exercise some scrutiny as to what happened and why and put into place controls to prevent it happening in the future.

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

P.S. I will clarify what it stated on page 11 of the auditor’s report.

The accounts in their original form didn’t comply with legal requirements. It’s been acknowledged by the auditors and officers they were wrong. The point about the external auditors applying to the court for a declaration that the accounts are unlawful is therefore moot as they’ve been changed.

However it is important that councillors consider the reasons behind the objection in a public interest report, otherwise the people tasked with corporate governance will be in the dark as to what was wrong, why it had to be changed and be aware to check for this next year. I hope I have made this clear.

P.P.S On another audit related note, as the LCRCA now has a website, the Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015 make it a legal requirement that certain information is published on its website (such as payments over £500 for example the payment to the auditors).

Currently this is being done on Merseytravel’s website, which makes it very hard to find the LCRCA payments amongst the Merseytravel ones. I would like the Audit Committee to please find out why this information isn’t published on the LCRCA website as it would aid with better openness and transparency about what the LCRCA is doing.

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