Local Councils, Internal Drainage Boards and other
Smaller Authorities in England
Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2017/18 Part 3
To be completed by:
• all smaller authorities* where either the higher of gross income or gross
expenditure exceeded £25,000 but did not exceed £6.5 million; and
• any other smaller authorities that either:
• are unable to certify themselves as exempt; or
• have requested a limited assurance review.
Guidance notes on completing Part 3 of the Annual Governance and
Accountability Return 2017/18
1. Every smaller authority in England that either received gross income or incurred gross expenditure
exceeding £25,000 must complete Part 3 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return at
the end of each nancial year in accordance with Proper Practices.
2. The Annual Governance and Accountability Return is made up of three parts, pages 3 to 6:
•The annual internal audit report is completed by the authority’s internal auditor.
•Sections1and2 are to be completed and approved by the authority.
•Section3 is completed by the external auditor and will be returned to the authority.
3. The authority must approve Section 1, Annual Governance Statement, before approving Section 2,
Accounting Statements, and both must be approved before 2 July 2018.
4. An authority with either gross income or gross expenditure exceeding £25,000 or an authority with
neither income nor expenditure exceeding £25,000, but which is unable to certify itself as exempt, or
requesting a limited assurance review, must send to the external auditor:
• the Annual Governance and Accountability Return Sections 1, 2 and 3, together with
• a bank reconciliation as at 31 March 2018
• an explanation of any signicant year on year variances in the accounting statements
• your notication of the commencement date of the period for the exercise of public rights
Annual Internal Audit Report 2017/18
Unless requested, do not send any original records to your external auditor. Your external auditor will ask
for any additional documents needed.
Once the external auditor has completed and is able to give an opinion on the limited assurance review,
the Annual Governance and Accountability Return including Section3–ExternalAuditorReportand
Certicate will be returned to the authority.
Publication Requirements
Smaller authorities with either income or expenditure exceeding £25,000 must publish on a public website,
under the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015, the Annual Governance and Accountability Return:
• Section1–AnnualGovernanceStatement2017/18, page 4
• Section2–AccountingStatements2017/18, page 5
• Section3–TheExternalAuditorReportandCerticate2017/18, page 6
Notice of the period for the exercise of public rights and other information required by Regulation 15 (2),
Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
It is recommended as best practice, to avoid any potential confusion by local electors and interested
parties, that you also publish the Annual Internal Audit Report, page 3.
Page 1 of 6Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2017/18 Part 3
The Annual Governance and Accountability Return constitutes the annual return referred to in the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
Throughout, the words ‘external auditor’ have the same meaning as the words ‘local auditorin the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
*for a complete list of bodies that may be smaller authorities refer to schedule 2 to Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
Page 2 of 6
*More guidance on completing this annual return is available in Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities
in England – a Practitioners’ Guide to Proper Practices, which can be downloaded from www.nalc.gov.uk or from
www.slcc.co.uk or from www.ada.org.uk
Guidance notes on completing Part 3 of the Annual Governance and
Accountability Return 2017/18
The authority must comply with Proper Practices in completing Sections 1 and 2 of this Annual Governance and
Accountability Return. Proper Practices are found in the Practitioners’ Guide* which is updated from time to time
and contains everything needed to prepare successfully for the nancial year-end and the subsequent work by
the external auditor.
Make sure that the Annual Governance and Accountability Return is complete (i.e. no empty highlighted boxes),
and is properly signed and dated. Avoid making amendments to the completed Annual Governance and
Accountability Return. Any amendments must be approved by the authority, properly initialled and accompanied
by an explanation. If the Annual Governance and Accountability Return contains unapproved or unexplained
amendments, it may be returned and additional costs will be incurred.
The authority should receive and note the annual internal audit report prior to approving the annual governance
statement and before approving the accounts.
Use the checklist provided below to review the Annual Governance and Accountability Return for completeness
before sending it to the external auditor.
Do not send the external auditor any information not specically requested. However, you must inform your
external auditor about any change of Clerk, Responsible Finance Ofcer or Chairman, and provide relevant email
addresses and telephone numbers.
Make sure that the copy of the bank reconciliation to be sent to your external auditor with the Annual Governance
and Accountability Return covers all the bank accounts. If the authority holds any short-term investments, note their
value on the bank reconciliation. The external auditor must be able to agree the bank reconciliation to Box 8 on the
accounting statements (Section2,page5). An explanation must be provided of any difference between Box 7 and
Box 8. More help on bank reconciliation is available in the Practitioners’ Guide*.
Explain fully signicant variances in the accounting statements on page 5. Do not just send a copy of the detailed
accounting records instead of this explanation. The external auditor wants to know that you understand the reasons
for all variances. Include complete numerical and narrative analysis to support the explanation.
If the external auditor has to review unsolicited information, or receives an incomplete bank reconciliation, or
variances are not fully explained, additional costs will be incurred.
Make sure that the accounting statements add up and that the balance carried forward from the previous year
(Box 7 of 2017) equals the balance brought forward in the current year (Box 1 of 2018).
Please enter the authority’s name only in Section 3 on Page 6. Do not complete the remainder of that section,
which is reserved for the external auditor.
The Responsible Financial Ofcer (RFO), on behalf of the authority, must set the commencement date for the
exercise of public rights. From the commencement date for a single period of 30 consecutive working days, the
accounts and accounting records can be inspected. Whatever period the RFO sets it must include a common
inspection period – during which the accounts and accounting records of all smaller authorities must be available
for public inspection – of the rst ten working days of July.
The authority must publish the information required by Regulation 15 (2), Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015,
including the period for the exercise of public rights and the name and address of the external auditor.
Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2017/18 Part 3
Completionchecklist– ‘No’ answers mean you may not have met requirements
All sections
Section 1
Section 2
Sections 1 and 2
Internal Audit Report
Have all highlighted boxes have been completed?
For any statement to which the response is ‘no’, is an explanation provided?
Has an explanation of signicant variations from last year to this year been provided?
The bank reconciliation as at 31 March 2018 is agreed to Box 8?
Has an explanation of any difference between Box 7 and Box 8 been provided?
Have all highlighted boxes have been completed by the internal auditor and explanations provided?
Has all additional information requested, including the dates set for the period
for the exercise of public rights, been provided for the external auditor?
Trust funds – have all disclosures been made if the authority is a sole managing
trustee? NB: do not send trust accounting statements unless requested or instructed.
Has the authority’s approval of the accounting statements been conrmed by
the signature of the Chairman of the approval meeting?
Yes No
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