MINUTES of a meeting held on 26th
Present: Councillor J. Clifford, Mrs. M.
Kelly Owen and C.L. Osborne.
Also present: Councillors H.J. W. James and N.
Moore; Mr. J. Colman, Auditor General.
IN the absence of the Chairman and
Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Councillor C.L. Osborne was elected
Chairman for the duration of the meeting.
272 APOLOGIES FOR
These were received from Councillors Ms. L.
Burnett and E. Hacker.
273 MINUTES -
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the
meeting held on 3rd July, 2007 be approved as a correct
274 DECLARATIONS OF
No declarations were received.
CONSULTATION ON PROPOSED CHANGE OF EXTERNAL AUDITOR APPOINTMENT
Mr. Colman had been invited to appear before
the Audit Committee to discuss his proposal to replace the Wales
Audit Office as the Council’s external auditor.
By way of background, Mr. Colman explained
that it was normal practice for there to be a turnover of Auditors,
the principle being that Auditors should not remain in any one
place for too long. The Wales Audit Office had been the Vale
of Glamorgan’s auditor for 11 years.
Mr. Colman had found himself to be in a
position whereby a number of contracts with audit firms were coming
to an end, and accordingly a new procurement process was
Three firms had been short listed, and shortly
after this, the successful bidder, RMS Robson Rhodes had merged
with Grant Thornton. The award of the contract to RMS Robson
Rhodes had followed a complicated process.
Mr. Colman was advised that the Council had
enjoyed a good, professional relationship with the Wales Audit
Office. The Council was embarking on a number of
initiatives i.e. OneVale, Joint Review and concerns were
expressed that the newly-appointed firm of auditors could be
preoccupied with its merger. Further, it was noted that RMS
Robson Rhodes previous work experience had been based in England,
and Members enquired if it would be aware of the Welsh
Mr. Colman stated that he was glad that the
Council had experienced a good working relationship with the Wales
Audit Office, but nevertheless felt that there was a need for a
In addition to the appointment of the External
Auditor, Mr. Colman stated that he was also responsible for the
appointment of a Council’s Relationship Manager. Whilst the
Auditor and Relationship Manager was often the same person, this
need not be the case. Mr. Colman proposed that the Council’s
previous Relationship Manager, Gill Lewis, would continue to be the
Relationship Manager following the appointment of RMS Robson Rhodes
and that this would ensure an element of continuity in the
Furthermore, Mr. Colman stated that he had
every confidence in the abilities of RSM Robson Rhodes. The
Audit Team would be led by John Goulding and John Roberts.
John Goulding had previously worked for the Audit Commission.
With regard to the “Welsh dimension”, Mr.
Colman advised that, prior to the merger of Grant Thornton and RSM
Robson Rhodes, the Grant Thornton bid had been considered excellent
but for one point, they did not have a team of staff in place, but
would recruit them. The RMS Robson Rhodes bid had also been
considered excellent save for one factor - it did not have a base
in Wales, although its staff had Welsh experience.
Following the merger of the two firms, the bid
from Robson Rhodes appeared to be even stronger, and the
newly-appointed Team would have ample experience of working in a
Lastly, Mr. Colman advised that any changes to
the Audit Team could only be made with his approval, and if the
Auditors did not perform as well as expected, Mr Colman had the
power to cancel the contract.
Having heard Mr. Colman’s comments, Members of
the Committee enquired as to when the new Audit Team would commence
its duties, and were advised that although the contract had yet to
be formally signed, it was anticipated that it may commence from
the 2008/09 financial year (2007/08 audit year).
Finally, Members of the Committee thanked Mr.
Colman for his reassuring comments.
(Note: Councillors James and Moore spoke with
the consent of the Committee.)