Date published: 01 March 2019
Inset: Councillor Giles McNeil
West Lindsey District Council has received a glowing report for its financial and regulatory framework for administrating housing benefits.
Independent assessors KPMG produced the certification of claims and returns, annual report 2017/2018, for the Governance and Audit Committee. The certification was for one claim - the Housing Benefits Subsidy claim.
The report, which was presented to councillors at committee, reviewed the following:
The process involved in agreeing standard rates for allowances and benefit incomes
Sample testing benefit claims to ensure the entitlement has been calculated correctly and was supported by appropriate evidence
Undertaking an analytical review of the claim form
Confirming the subsidy claim was prepared using the correct benefit systems
Completing testing in relation to modified scheme payments and verifying the accurate completion of the claim form.
In a letter to Ian Knowles, the Executive Director of Resources at the Council, it stated:
‘Our work did not identify any significant issues and errors and we certified the claim without amendment and no qualification letter.’
Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee, Cllr Giles McNeill welcomed the news, which represents the best possible outcome for the council.
He said: “I am thrilled with the outcome in this report, which demonstrates that we have the right governance and financial knowledge in place.
“This report is to be welcomed, especially when as a council, we claimed more than £22 million from the Department for Work and Pensions, to support local people in need of housing benefit in 2017/18.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this exceptional piece of work, which demonstrated the council has strong financial management. It also makes sure that the housing benefit entitlements for individuals has been calculated correctly, giving them the support and assurance they need when claiming.”
The Governance and Audit Committee is responsible for the following areas:
Corporate governance of the council – monitoring the operation of the constitution
Accounts and audit – approving the statement of accounts
Regulatory framework - monitoring the effective development and operation of risk management
Ethics and standards - promote and maintain high standards of conduct by Councillors and co-opted members.