Aidan Rave departure prevents SKDC from getting auditor approval
Outside auditors have refused to give South Kesteven District Council a clean bill of financial health.
Accountancy company Grant Thornton says it first needs to assess the impact of the departure of senior council bosses, including the former chief executive Aidan Rave, before it passes judgement.
The company told SKDC: “We have decided to delay issuing our value-for-money conclusion. This is to enable us to consider whether there are any implications for our assessment of the council’s governance following the very recent announcement of the departure of the chief executive, which also follows the recent departure of the section 151 officer. We will complete the necessary work as quickly as possible to enable us to provide our value for money conclusion and certify completion of the audit.”
Grant Thornton also told the council it could not complete the audit and issue a certificate until its work on assessing the council’s “arrangements for securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources” are completed.
The company added: “We are satisfied that these matters do not have a material effect on the financial statements.”
The matter is revealed in a report prepared for a recent meeting of the governance and audit committee. It follows opposition councillor Phil Dilks raising the potential impact the departure of Mr Rave and other senior managers at last month’s meeting of the full council. It also came before the sudden resignation this week of Matthew Lee, as leader of the ruling Conservative Group.
Coun Dilks (Ind-Deeping St James) recalled his microphone was cut off at the meeting when he raised the question, but 'hey presto' Grant Thornton is asking the same.
He told the Journal: “I feel my question was absolutely vindicated by the external auditor. It’s an outrage I was prevented from asking the same question. The Tories cannot turn off his microphone. He will get the answers I was asking for.”
An SKDC spokesman said: “Although this is a first for South Kesteven District Council, it is not unusual for there to be delays or additional questions in relation to local authority value for money arrangements. However, we welcome the additional scrutiny, and stand ready to work with Grant Thornton as they complete our audit.
“A full report to council will be presented to the governance and audit committee at the appropriate time.”