Why did Wirral Council fail to publish its draft Annual Governance Statement by the legal deadline?
A week ago I made an objection to Wirral Council and its auditor Grant Thornton, that prior to the thirty-day inspection period running from 1st June 2018 to 12th July 2018 that the draft Annual Governance Statement hadn’t been published on Wirral Council’s website prior to this 30 day period starting. Publication prior to the 30 day period starting is a requirement of regulations 15(2)(a)(ii) and 15(3) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (when read together).
Wirral Council’s auditors Grant Thornton have been in touch with me this afternoon and state that the draft Annual Governance Statement has now been published on Wirral Council’s website.
In an email from the auditor, he states, “I have raised the matter with the Council and they have confirmed to me that this was an oversight on their part.” and elsewhere in his email he describes it as “an individual failing” (as part of the auditor’s justification not to write a public interest report on it).
Responsibility for publishing the draft Annual Governance Statement before 1st June 2018 falls on Wirral Council’s “responsible financial officer” who is Shaer Halewood (pictured above at a meeting of the Audit and Risk Management Committee earlier this year).
Somewhat ironically page one of the draft Annual Governance Statement for 2017-18 states, “The Council is responsible for ensuring that its business is conducted in accordance with the law”.
The draft Annual Governance Statement details Wirral Council’s response to the 2016 OFSTED inspection of Children’s Services, an ICO Voluntary Audit from 2016 that made 88 recommendations and other governance issues.
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