Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee - Thursday 7th December 2017 3.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber. Maldon District Council Offices, Princes Road, Maldon

Contact: Committee Services 

Items
No. Item

669.

Chairman's notices (please see overleaf)

Minutes:

The Chairman drew attention to the list of notices published on the back of the agenda.

670.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor R Pratt.

671.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 31 August 2017, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 31 August 2017 be approved and confirmed.

672.

Disclosure of Interest

To disclose the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, other Pecuniary Interests or Non-Pecuniary Interests relating to items of business on the agenda having regard to paragraphs 6-8 inclusive of the Code of Conduct for Members.

 

(Members are reminded that they are also required to disclose any such interests as soon as they become aware should the need arise throughout the meeting).

 

Minutes:

Councillor M S Heard declared a pecuniary interest in relation to Agenda Item 5 – Quarterly review of Corporate Risk – as he was employed by Essex Police as an Internal Auditor.  Councillor Heard had been advised that this position may be perceived by the public as prejudicial and he would, therefore, withdraw from the meeting whilst this item was being discussed.

 

Councillor Heard left the meeting at this point.

673.

Quarterly Review of Corporate Risk pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To receive and note the report of the Director of Resources (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources providing an update on the position at the end of Quarter 2 (30 September 2017) on the corporate risks included within the Corporate Risk Register 2017/18.

 

The Director of Resources provided an update of corporate risks that had been removed from the corporate risk register as the risk scores had been reduced to within the Council’s accepted tolerance:

 

·         Risk 6 – Failure to have an adopted Local Development Plan (LDP) – the Council’s LDP had now been adopted;.

·         Risk 12 – Failure of the Council to influence regional partners, to support and encourage economic prosperity and inward investment to the Maldon District – this risk had been reduced since the employment of the Economic Development Manager and following his work with the Haven Gateway and other partners.

·         Risk 19 – Lack of Access to Legal Resource – this risk had been reduced as there were two fixed-term Deputy Monitoring Officers now in place.

 

The Director of Resources drew Members’ attention to section 3 of the report – Summary of Key Issues and the request from Members at the last meeting of this Committee to re-visit certain risks.  The Director of Resources then invited the Director of Customers and Community to speak on this.

 

The Director of Customers and Community advised that the risk regarding resident perception of crime had been redefined.  The report showed how this risk could be mitigated and addressed.

 

Risk: Lack of visible policing undermines confidence in public safety

 

Members were given a copy of the scoring matrix for the corporate risk register and discussed the risk score for this risk.  The main risk to the Council would be one of reputational damage from adverse media coverage.

 

Councillor A K M St. Joseph arrived at this point in the meeting.

 

Members raised concern with the definition of the risk and the Director of Customers and Community advised that the clear message coming from the Community Safety Partnership was around confidence in policing.

 

This item was debated by Members and it was suggested that the risk be redefined as “failing to engage with the public over community safety issues”.  The Director of Customers and Community was asked what the outcomes would be to make this a zero risk and, in response, he stated that it was necessary to see how this risk applied to the Council.  This was a difficult risk to ascertain as it depended on other partners.  The Committee was advised that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee were undertaking a piece of work looking at the relationship with the police, funding and priorities.  If Members wished to retain a corporate risk, then it should be around the Community Safety Partnership and its activities.

 

The Chairman then requested that Members come to a decision on the scoring for this risk.

 

Councillor E L Bamford proposed that the risk be defined as:

 

“Lack of confidence in police partnerships with a view to delivery of public safety particularly in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 673.

674.

External Audit - Audit Letter 2016 / 17 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

 To receive and note the report of the Director of Resources (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources regarding the External Auditor’s Annual Audit Letter 2016/17 attached at Appendix 1 to the Report.

 

The External Audit Manager verbally outlined the contents of Appendix 1 to the report to the Committee and drew Members’ attention to the Executive Summary showing the work undertaken, including that:

 

·         The External Auditors had issued an unqualified audit report and an unqualified value for money report;

·         A report on certification of the Council’s Housing Benefit Claim would be brought to the next meeting of this Committee. 

 

The External Audit Manager then drew attention to the “Focusing on your Future” section of Appendix 1 to the Report and highlighted the following:

 

·         The earlier deadline for production and audit of the financial statements from 2017/18;

·         Changes to accounting standards relating to financial instruments and leases. 

 

An additional fee in relation to additional procedures regarding valuations and the objections to the financial statements received had been agreed with the Council. 

 

RESOLVED that the External Audit Annual Audit Letter 2016/17 be received.

 

675.

Progress Against 2017 / 18 Internal Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To receive and note the report of the Director of Resources (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the report of the Director of Resources, the purpose of which was to report progress to date with regard to work completed and any deviances to, or slippage, on the Internal Audit Plan 2017/18.

 

The Senior Audit Manager advised that 2 audits had been completed since the last report to this Committee.  The Senior Audit Manager then drew Members’ attention to the section on Information Management and advised that Officers had been tasked with looking at the Council’s preparedness for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how systems could be improved.  An action plan had been produced that Officers were working through.

 

The Senior Audit Manager then drew Members’ attention to Contracts Procurement Management and Purchasing which had highlighted the following areas for improvement:

 

·         Purchasing

·         Contracts Register

·         Purchase Cards.

 

In response to a question, the Senior Audit Manager confirmed that recommendations were monitored and would be reported back to Members.

 

The Director of Resources advised the following:

 

·         The issues with Elections were in relation to the PCC election, but systems had been compliant since then;

·         The Contracts Register would be reviewed;

·         The Purchase Cards procedure was currently being updated and a report would be brought to the Finance and Corporate Services Committee just after Christmas.

 

RESOLVED that Members the progress against the 2017/18 Internal Audit Plan be noted.