"All government bodies have a duty to maintain and retain records to support their financial transactions. The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency faces a significant challenge in harmonizing the financial systems of its predecessor organisations. It is vital that it remedy the weaknesses in its financial systems following the merger, to ensure adequate records are in place and avoid future qualification."
Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 16 July 2012
Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor General, has qualified his audit opinion on the 2011-12 accounts of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency. This is because the Agency could not provide him with sufficient evidence to demonstrate the completeness and accuracy of income totalling £17.57 million earned from the provision of animal health services.
The Agency was formed on 1 August 2011 by the merger of two bodies, Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency. Throughout 2011-12, the accounting records of these two bodies were maintained on separate financial systems and were combined to produce the 2011-12 financial statements of the Agency. Common accounting policies were adopted and these included a change to the income accounting policy for the former Animal Health.
Animal Health did not retain sufficient information to support charges raised in relation to animal health services. Testing by the NAO of issued invoices found that, in some cases, the supporting spreadsheets or databases had either not been retained or did not agree with the details on the invoices.
The animal health services were provided to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the devolved administrations.