“Council accounts audit to be delayed by ‘issues’ at external auditors Grant Thornton”

Grant Thornton are EDDC’s external auditors. They were EDDC’s auditors who found nothing untoward for EDDC after the disgraced ex-Tory councillor Graham Brown affair:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/03/06/external-auditors-watchdogs-or-bloodhounds/

“Grant Thornton’s issues have meant that Teignbridge District Council’s accounts will not be audited on time.

The council’s statement of accounts and financial records for the 2018/19 financial year were due to be audited by the external auditors Grant Thornton during June and July.

However, Cllr Alan Connett, portfolio holder for corporate resources, told Monday’s executive committee that the no date for when the audit would take place was yet known.

He said: “We anticipated that the audit would be taking place in July but we have been told by them that they are unable to do so because of pressures at their end. We are organising when the audit will be done but Grant Thornton will be providing a letter of exoneration to us to make it clear it is down to their internal issues and so no-one thinks that the council is to blame.”

Cllr Stephen Purser questioned whether the council would be penalised in any way or would be censured by the government if the accounts were not audited by the July 31 deadline.

In response, Cllr Connett said: “I was concerned about this but I am assured there is no penalty for us. Grant Thornton will provide a ‘letter of comfort’ that sets out their issues and what caused the issues and that the council are not at fault. We are where we are. They are the appointed auditors for us, but we will express our concern about this and hope the letter comes to us soon.”

Grant Thornton have recently faced heavy criticism of their audit practises bakery chain Patisserie Valerie last year admitted to a significant accounting fraud that its external auditors failed to spot, with Grant Thornton remaining under investigation by the UK accounting watchdog over its work for Patisserie Valerie.

The firm also received its largest fine of £3m from the accounting watchdog last August, and was ordered in January to pay a landmark £21m negligence claim in relation to its audit of Assetco, a business that once leased London its fire engines. Its audit of FTSE 250 government contractor Interserve is under scrutiny by the accounting regulator.

The firm at the start of June appointed a new head of audit – Fiona Baldwin – the second time in 12 months an appointment to that role had been made.

An independent review into its accounting operations to improve standards has since been announced by the firm. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/council-accounts-audit-delayed-issues-3045592