Dear Norfolk County Council,

I am writing to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Please confirm who your local authority has appointed as external auditor for the financial year 2016/17.

Please provide a list of all accounting firms which have advised or continue to advise the local authority on each of its PFI contracts. I am interested in companies which have provided legal, financial, governance and audit advice at any stage of the PFI project from initiation through procurement to operation.

Please provide documents showing the local authority’s current protocols around determining and declaring conflicts of interest in relation to its external auditors.

Have there been any incidences of potential or actual conflict of interest in relation to the local authority’s external auditors? If so please disclose all relevant documentation relating to this, which may include but not be restricted to emails, memos, reports and declarations of conflict of interest.

Yours faithfully,

Megan Ingles

Information Management, Norfolk County Council

Good Afternoon,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request ENQ 348543

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 received on 5 June 2017.

Lewis Freeman will be dealing with your request.
 
We have up to 20 days in which to deal with your request. If we require clarification regarding your request, we will contact you to explain this. The 20 working day period will then start from the day that we receive your clarification.
 
You will also be informed in advance if there is a charge for supplying copies of the information.

Please also be aware that, if the requested information contains references to any third parties, we may need to consult these individuals about the release of their personal data before making a decision whether or not to release the information to you.

We will also provide an explanation if any information is not released to you.

Should you have any queries regarding your request, please contact the team by email [email address] or by telephone 01603 222661.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Cooper
Business Support Assistant (Compliance Team)
Information Management and Technology
County Hall
Martineau Lane
Norwich
NR1 2DH

show quoted sections

Information Management, Norfolk County Council

Dear Megan

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Clarification Required ENQ348543

 

I refer to your request for information dated 05 June 2017.

 

I have looked carefully at your request and I am afraid that I am unable
to identify and locate the information requested without further detail
from you. I would therefore be grateful if you could clarify your request.
In particular, please could I ask that you advise on a timescale for the
information that you required under question 2 & 4 as this is not clear,
i.e. how far back do you wish us to check our records for historical use
of accounting firms and over what period of time would you like us to
check for incidents of conflict of interest?

I would be happy to discuss your request with you if you think that this
would help.

 

Once you have clarified your request, we will be able to process your
request. If clarification is not received by 03 July 2017 I will assume
that you do not wish to continue with your request and will close my file.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Lewis Freeman

Information Compliance Officer

 

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Dear Information Management,

Question 2. This question relates to those accounting firms that have been involved in advising the local authority on PFI contracts. I imagine that there will have been a number of firms engaged during procurement and that the number and level of ongoing engagement will have reduced significantly since that time. My main interest with this request is to understand any potential conflict of interest with the council's current external auditors so I would be happy if you were to limit your response to accountancy firms in an advisory role rather than any specifically legal advisors.

Question 4. I am interested in potential or actual conflict of interest in relation to this year's external auditors only, if your external auditors have changed one or more times in the past few years it is not necessary to provide this information for each of those.

I hope this has answered your question, if not I would find it helpful to take you up on your offer of a conversation to discuss this.

Many thanks

Yours sincerely,

Megan Ingles

Information Management, Norfolk County Council

Dear Megan

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 –Information Request ENQ348543

 

I refer to your request for information dated 05 June 2017 and clarified
22 June 2017.

 

The search for the information has been completed and I am pleased to
supply you with the following information:

 

Please confirm who your local authority has appointed as external auditor
for the financial year 2016/17.

 

Ernst & Young LLP are the appointed auditors for the financial year
2016-17.

 

Please provide a list of all accounting firms which have advised or
continue to advise the local authority on each of its PFI contracts. I am
interested in companies which have provided legal, financial, governance
and audit advice at any stage of the PFI project from initiation through
procurement to operation.

 

The only accountancy firm involved in the Authority’s PFIs is E&Y (now
EY).  For completeness the following legal firms acted as advisors:

Salt Barns: Mills & Reeve

Schools: Cameron McKenna

Street Lighting: Addelshaw Goddard

Waste: Sharpe Pritchard

 

Please provide documents showing the local authority’s current protocols
around determining and declaring conflicts of interest in relation to its
external auditors.

 

Have there been any incidences of potential or actual conflict of interest
in relation to the local authority’s external auditors? If so please
disclose all relevant documentation relating to this, which may include
but not be restricted to emails, memos, reports and declarations of
conflict of interest.

 

Please see below link that refers to our June 2017 Audit Committee
reporting that includes the External Auditor’s audit plan for 2016-17, the
contents of which describe the protocols around determining and declaring
conflicts of interest, together with an overall assessment.  These are
public documents:

 

[1]click here for June 2017 Audit Committee report see pages 38 and 39 of
the External Auditor’s Annual Plan 2016-17.

 

If you are dissatisfied with our handling of your request you have the
right of appeal through the Council’s internal review procedure by setting
out the grounds of your appeal in writing to:

 

[2][email address]

or Information Compliance Team

Room B18

County Hall

Martineau Lane

Norwich

NR1 2DH

 

An appeal should be submitted within 40 working days of the date of this
notice and should be identified as "FOI Appeal".

 

If you are dissatisfied after pursuing the complaints procedure, you may
apply to the Information Commissioner under Section 50 of the Act for a
decision whether your request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of Part I of the Act.  Refer to the ICO
Website at: [3]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ for advice on how to report a
concern.  Or you can write to them at:

 

First Contact Team

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane, Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Lewis Freeman

Information Compliance Officer

Information Management Service

Norfolk County Council

County Hall

Martineau Lane

Norwich

NR1 2DH

 

 

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