Audit report

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FENLAND District Council has continued to manage its finances extremely well over the past year, despite the significant extra burdens that have been placed on it.

It has been congratulated for its efforts by a team of independent auditors.

In its Annual Audit Letter for 2010/11, PricewaterhouseCoopers said that its audit had been carried out “against the backdrop of the most significant changes to local government financial reporting in recent memory”.

“These changes have combined to place a considerable additional burden on both the finance and audit teams and we are extremely grateful to the finance team for their hard work in ensuring that the draft accounts were prepared to a high standard and for their assistance throughout the audit,” the auditors said.

“The proactive nature of their relationship with us has helped ensure that the audit was completed on time and with only disclosure related changes required to the accounts. This is a significant achievement for the Council.”

The auditors found that all the proper arrangements were in place to secure “economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources”, leading them to issue “an unqualified value for money conclusion”.

They said there were no areas of concern about either the council’s annual governance statement or its systems of internal financial control. Proper arrangements were in place to monitor those systems’ adequacy and effectiveness.

Cllr John Clark, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for financial management, said: “We’re obviously delighted by this report. As the auditors themselves say, this is a significant achievement for the council and I’d like to thank staff for all the hard work they have put in.

“The report shows that robust mechanisms are in place to ensure that all our finances continue to be extremely well managed. We knew that to be the case – now it has been officially confirmed by outside, independent assessors.”

Cllr Florence Newell, chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee, added: “A year ago the auditors predicted – rightly – that we would face significant financial challenges and that the accounts process would be more complex given the current economic climate.

“This report shows clearly that we have succeeded in meeting those challenges and that we continue to look after our resources extremely effectively. Great credit is due to all the staff involved and I’d like to congratulate them.”