A letter to be received from KPMG reporting on the grants that they have audited.
Consideration was given the certification of claims and returns annual report 2017/18, provided by the Authority’s outgoing external auditor, KPMG.
Public Sector Audit Appointments required their external auditor to prepare an annual report on the claims and returns certified for each audited body. The letter was KPMG’s annual report for the certification work it had undertaken for 2017/18. Certification work was undertaken on only one claim or return, the Housing Benefit Subsidy claim. The certified value of the claim was £17 million, and the work was completed and the claim was certified on 12 November 2018.
The certification work on Housing Subsidy Benefit claim included:
· Agreeing standard rates, such as for allowances and benefit incomes, to the DWP Circular communicating the value of each rate for the year;
· Sample testing of benefit claims to confirm that the entitlement had been correctly calculated and was supported by appropriate evidence;
· Undertaking an analytical review of the claim form considering year-on-year variances and key ratios;
· Confirming that the subsidy claim had been prepared using the correct benefits system version; and
· Completing testing in relation to modified schemes payments, uncashed cheques and verifying the accurate completion of the claim form.
The certification work identified a number of errors in the original claim. Where the error could be quantified by testing 100% of the population of potentially affected cases the claim could be amended. Where the population was too large for 100% testing to be practical, a qualification letter was required to explain what the auditor had found. The errors that KPMG found and the way they were dealt with were as follows:
A small number of errors were found in the Rent Rebates and Rent Allowance sample testing, which needed to be reported as the population was too large for 100% testing. They related to the following:
· Incorrect processing of pension payments;
· Incorrect calculation of earnings;
· Incorrect processing childcare costs; and
· Incorrect overpayment classification.
Consequently, no recommendations to the Authority had been made to improve its claims completion process. There were no recommendations made last year and there were no further matters to report regarding the certification work.
Members were advised that KPMG would continue to be the auditor for the subsidy.
With regard to the qualifying letter and the bullet points detailed, members asked whether these were errors, or whether they related to procedure. Officers were not able to provide this information but would liaise with the Revenues and Benefits Manager and provided members with an answer in due course. There were no recommendations from KPMG which would indicate that they were one-off errors.
That the certification of claims and returns annual report 2017/18, provided by KPMG be noted.