The Chairman welcomed Mr. D. Evans from the Audit Commission to the meeting.
Mr. D. Evans presented the Audit Commission Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report undertaken during 2009/2010. He informed Members that grant paying Government Departments attached conditions to grants and that the Council had to show that it had met those conditions. The certification work carried out by the Audit Commission involved applying prescribed tests designed to give reasonable assurance that claims and returns were fairly stated and followed specified terms and conditions. The following three claims had been certified:
§ Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
§ National non domestic rates
§ Disabled Facilities grants
The Chairman and Portfolio Holder for Resources expressed concern that a further 20 housing benefit cases had had to be tested, after the initial 20 housing benefit cases had identified an error, an overpayment of benefit of 33 pence. The Chairman and Portfolio Holder for Resources had been surprised that a de minimis had not been set and that due to this error being identified, the Audit Commission had submitted a qualification letter to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Members noted that the fees charged for grant certification work in 2009/2010 for the three claims had significantly reduced. This had been due to the Council’s quality of working papers being improved in all areas.
(a) that the Certification of Claims and Returns – Annual Report be noted;
(b) that officers respond to the Recommendations as set out in the report; and
(c) that the Portfolio Holder for Resources to correspond with the DWP regards no de minimis being set for the testing of claims.