A number of foundation trusts are likely to face “qualifications”, querying the accuracy of their 2010-11 accounts, because of questions over their use of resources, auditors have warned.
Newly published minutes of a May meeting between Monitor and the sector’s main auditors show that some of the accountants present warned that they were “already aware of a small number of FTs audited by their firms that would likely be subject to a qualification on [their] audit certificate[s]”.
This would be because the auditors were not convinced those FTs were securing value for money, efficiency, and effectiveness in their use of resources, the minutes indicate.
According to Monitor guidance, it is “unusual” for FTs to receive a qualified audit certificate or opinion and indicates a “significant issue”.
The May meeting of the regulator’s technical issues forum included representatives from audit firms PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte, and Grant Thompson, as well as the Audit Commission and the National Audit Office.
There was also a “potential” risk that some FTs which took over primary care trusts’ provider arms in 2010-11 could be given qualified audit opinions, the minutes stated.
These would be due to “limitation of scope” – a type of qualification which occurs when an auditor is unable to audit one or more elements of an organisation’s financial statement.
The forum also discussed whether there would be “going concern” qualifications on FTs’ 2010-11 accounts, which are due to be published next month.
The minutes state it was anticipated that audit opinions for some FTs would emphasise issues around “going concern”, for example where there are uncertainties over future cash flows.
“At this point there were no expectations that any foundation trust audit opinion in 2010-11 would be qualified on the grounds of going concern.”