Agenda and minutes

Special, Audit Committee - Thursday 21st June 2018 3.00 pm

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

Contact: Committee Services 

Items
No. Item

202.

Chairman's notices

Minutes:

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

 

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Miss M R Lewis to this meeting as a new member of the Committee and Councillor S J Savage who was in attendance.

203.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were none.

204.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 26 March 2018 (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

(i)              that the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 26 March 2018 be received.

 

Minute No. 930 – Review of Risk Management Policy

In response to a question, it was clarified that the Risk Management Policy would be reviewed every three years.

 

Minute 935 – Internal Audit Update

It was noted that reference to 2015 / 16 in the fourth paragraph under the heading ‘Revised Strategic Internal Audit Plan 2018 – 2021’ should be amended to 2016 / 17.

 

It was noted that resolution (i) of this Minute should be amended to refer to the 2017 / 18 Internal Audit Plan.

 

RESOLVED

 

(ii)            that subject to the above amendments, the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 26 March 2018 be confirmed.

205.

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 non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 5 – Quarterly Review of Risk as he was employed by Essex Police as an Auditor.

206.

Quarterly Review of Corporate Risk pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To consider 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 4 (31 March 2018) on the corporate risks included within the Corporate Risk Register 2017 / 18. 

 

Councillor M S Heard referred to his earlier declaration of interest at this point.

 

There was some discussion regarding the last quarterly review and the resolutions made by the Committee at its meeting in March 2018 (as detailed in the Minutes).  Members were advised that these had been considered by the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) when assessing the risk scores for Quarter 4.  In particular the following risks were discussed:

·                 Risk 03 – Failure to target services and influence partners effectively to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the vulnerable population
The Customers Manager provided an update on the activities being developed, such as a new live well Health and Wellbeing and Strengthening Communities Strategy, along with multi-agency partnership working and the work being done to target vulnerable groups.  Members were reminded that this risk related to failure to identify and target and not about the specific policy.

The Customers Manager confirmed that an update on the various activities and projects being undertaken to support both health and wellbeing and strengthening communities formed part of the Strengthening Communities Vision report being considered by the Council.

Members felt that until there was some evidence that the services were making a difference that the score should not be reduced.

The Director of Resources suggested that the title of this risk be amended to include “and have an effective outcome to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the vulnerable population”.  This was agreed.

Following further discussions it was agreed that this Committee would recommend that the CLT review this risk taking into consideration how it referred to an outcome rather than specific targeting.

 

·                 Risk 05 – Failure to have a clear shared vision regarding Strengthening Communities
It was noted that this risk was not being carried over to the 2018 / 19 Corporate Risk Register on the assumption that a new Strengthening Communities Vision would be adopted.  Concern was expressed that this risk was being removed prior to the adoption of the vision.  The Director of Customers and Community explained that a Working Group made up of both Officers and Members had been working on the Community Strategy which was due to be considered by the Council at its July meeting.  If the Council did not agree that the risk should be removed then it would be revisited at that stage.

In response to a question, the Director of Customers and Community advised that the risk could be held in the risk register until the Council had considered the vison in July and revisit it at the next meeting of this Committee.

·                 Risk 06 – Failure to deliver the required infrastructure to support development arising from the Local Development Plan
The Director of Customers and Community reported that this risk had not been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 206.

207.

Draft Annual Governance Statement pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources presenting the draft Annual Governance Statement (AGS) (attached at Appendix 1 to the report) for approval.

 

It was noted that the purpose of the AGS was to provide assurance that the Council’s governance framework was adequate and effective.  For 2017 / 18 it reflected on governance issues identified as a result of the review of arrangements and by the work of external and internal audit and other agencies.  It also included references to processes currently in place and operating successfully to mitigate the risks associated with those weaknesses.

 

The Director of Resources advised Members that the format of the AGS had been reviewed following benchmarking with other authorities.  Members were requested to send any presentational queries they may have to the Director of Resources.

 

The Committee was advised that the Chairman of the Committee had at the agenda meeting raised the issue of potentially including a risk regarding the Police risk.  In response the Chairman reiterated his request for a risk regarding the Police risk to be included. 

 

Councillor M S Heard declared an interest in this item of business at this point due to being employed by Essex Police.

 

The Director of Resources highlighted three key areas which whilst not considered a significant governance issue were scrutinised by the Committee and therefore they may wish to refer to them within the AGS.  Some suggested wording was then presented to Members.  It was proposed, duly seconded and agreed that the following wording be added as a new section (Section 6) to the AGS:

 

6          Other Issues

 

6.1       The Overview and Scrutiny Committee met eight times in 2017/18.  As part of its Programme of Work, the Committee scrutinised a number of areas and whilst none of the matters discussed were considered a significant governance issue, i.e. one that could affect the future of the Council, some of these areas have been summarised below for transparency:

·         procurement of capital projects, as detailed in paragraph 4.4 above;

·         administration of leases and licences, to ensure the maximum realisable financial benefits for Council assets;

·         agreement of final terms of a lease following delegation by a Committee.

 

6.2       The areas for continued review by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee form part of its 2018 / 19 Programme of Work which is reviewed at each meeting.

 

In response to a question regarding the production of a flow chart detailing the process of decision making, including delegations, the Director of Resources advised that a review of the Council’s constitution was currently underway and this would be considered as part of that review.

 

Following the discussion, the Director of Resources advised that a final version of the AGS would be brought to the next meeting of the Committee for signature.  Between now and the next meeting any issues Members have would be addressed and circulated to the Committee in consultation with the Leader and Deputy of the Council and Chairman of this Committee.  It was noted that attendance by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 207.

208.

Internal Audit Annual Report pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources presenting the Annual Opinion of the Head of Internal Audit (BDO LLP) on the results of and assurance gained from the 2017 /18 internal audit work (attached as Appendix 1 to the report).

 

It was noted that the annual report provided an overall opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the organisation’s risk management, control and governance process.  The Director of Resources reported that overall a moderate assurance had been given.  It was noted that in order to achieve the highest level of assurance (substantial assurance) additional work and evidence would be required, which would have a cost implication to the Council.

 

The Director of Resources highlighted the Elections Improvement Plan referred to within the report and advised Members that she had only received the draft of this report from Internal Audit a few hours prior to the start of this meeting.  It had not been agreed or reviewed by the Council at this stage and the Director of Resources advised she would like to bring it to the next meeting of this Committee.  This was agreed.

 

In response to a question regarding the number of outstanding internal audit recommendations the Director of Resources highlighted what each of these were and provided an update in respect of them.

 

It was requested and agreed that the wording of the recommendation be amended to include the word ‘reflecting’.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)              that the Head of Internal Audit Opinion reflecting on the results of and assurance gained from the 2017 / 18 Internal Audit work be noted;

 

(ii)            that a report on the Internal Audit report on the Elections Improvement Plan be brought to the next meeting of this Committee.