The London Borough of Hounslow has responded to The Chiswick Calendar’s exclusive story that the accountancy firm which is currently auditing their accounts has concerns about their finances.
Hounslow’s draft accounts have been published by the council already and are available to look at online, but as we reported on Tuesday 16 July, Mazars say the audited accounts will not be ready for publication by 31 July, the date on which they are supposed to be published, because they have identified ‘potentially material issues’ which they need longer to look at.
The accountancy firm told me: ‘As a result of identifying potentially material issues with the Council’s draft accounts, it has been determined that we will not be able to give our opinion on the Council’s accounts or our conclusion on the Council’s arrangements for securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources (Value For Money arrangements conclusion), by 31 July’.
Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Cabinet Member for Finance, Hounslow Council, told us: “The council is in the first year of its contract with its new auditors, Mazars, and although we have spent time getting used to each other’s working methods, it should come as no surprise that this has inevitably brought some delays to the process.
“The council has agreed jointly with the Auditor that it would be appropriate to delay the publishing of the final audited accounts from the July to the September meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee. This will allow the auditor and in-house team to complete their work to provide assurance over the council’s accounts to both the Auditor and the council’s own Chief Financial Officer.
“Since the audit is not yet complete, both Mazars and the council agree that it is not possible to conclude that there are “material concerns” and this statement is not accurate.”
The statement from Mazars flagged up that there were ‘potentially material issues’ with the Council’s draft accounts. Whether they will continue to express concern once they’ve done more work remains to be seen.
Photograph above: Interior of Hounslow House, where LB Hounslow is based