External auditors and valuers
Following their appointment in 2013, Ernst & Young LLP (EY) successfully completed their second audit in respect of the 2014/15 financial year. The objective of the audit plan was to build on EY’s increased familiarity with the business and ensure it remained focused and challenging. Again, this latest audit was successfully completed. The Audit Committee's annual review of EY’s performance also confirmed they had delivered a high quality audit and are performing well in their role.
A significant focus of the Committee’s work relates to the half year and full year valuation of the Group’s property portfolio as the output and movements represent a key contribution in determining the Group’s results and certain executive remuneration. The portfolio valuations have to date been carried out by three external valuers, namely, Knight Frank (as principal valuer), Jones Lang LaSalle (in relation to X-Leisure) and CBRE (in relation to Bluewater).
In line with good governance and best practice, the Group’s portfolio valuation requirements were recently put out to competitive tender. The outcome was that CBRE have been appointed as the principal valuer and they will be undertaking the Group’s portfolio valuations going forward, commencing with the half year valuation effective as at 30 September 2015.