Agenda and minutes

Performance, Governance and Audit Committee - Thursday 9th January 2020 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Committee Services 

No. Item


Chairman's Notices


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


Apologies for Absence


An apology for absence was received from Councillor B S Beale, MBE.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 408 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 28 November 2019,

(copy enclosed).


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 28 November 2019, be confirmed.


Disclosure of Interest

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


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


Councillor Mrs P A Channer, CC declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Essex County Council on issues in the Audit report around flooding.


Councillor M F L Durham, CC declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of  Essex County Council on issues in the Audit report pertaining to flooding.  



Public Participation

To receive the views of members of the public on items of business to be considered by the Committee (please see below):


1.               A period of ten minutes will be set.


2.               An individual may speak for no more than two minutes and will not be allowed to distribute or display papers, plans, photographs or other materials.


3.               Anyone wishing to speak must notify the Committee Clerk between 7:00pm and 7:20pm prior to the start of the meeting.


No requests had been received.


Internal Audit Progress Report pdf icon PDF 212 KB

To consider the report of the Interim Section 151 Officer, (copy enclosed).


Additional documents:


Prior to the presentation of the above report the Chairman advised the Committee that the current audit situation was being considered first under Agenda Item 6. Internal Audit Progress Report and then the  historic situation under Item 7. Historic Audit Actions Report. All changes approved under Item 7 would be reflected in the next Internal Audit Follow-up of Recommendations report at the February Committee.  


The Committee then considered the report of the Interim Section 151 Officer that provided, by way of appendix 1 and 2, reports issued by BDO LLP, the Council’s Internal Auditors.


The Audit Manager from BDO LLP took the Committee through the reports starting with the Audit Progress Report December 2019. She advised that the IT Disaster Recovery and Main Financial Systems reports had been issued in draft and would be submitted to the February Committee meeting. The Workforce Management, Flooding Risk Management and Network Security reports were in fieldwork as of  week commencing 6/1/20 and that all changes to the Internal Audit Plan agreed with management, were listed on page 19 of the Audit Progress Report. 


With reference to the Follow Up of Recommendations report she said that there were no new recommendations due for follow-up in this committee cycle. It had been agreed to review old recommendations and close them off if appropriate, as reflected in  Agenda Item 7 Historic Audit Actions report. These changes would be reflected in the next iteration of the Follow Up of Recommendations report.


Councillor Nunn opened the debate by asking why the Committee was sitting given the lack of items of business on the agenda. The Chairman advised that the main bulk of the work would be considered at the 27 February Committee and that tonight’s agenda served as an advance outline of that. Furthermore, decisions made on Item 7 on this agenda will impact the content of reports at the next meeting.  


In response to questions raised the Audit Manager reported the following:-


Ø  That limited effectiveness of procurement and contract management had been considered at the meeting on 28 November 2019. The assessment that it was moderate in design demonstrated that controls in place were good, but there had been some exceptions to the effectiveness of certain controls e.g. contract management. Work was now underway to ensure that all correct documentation was in place in relation to contract management.


Ø  That operational effectiveness of controls was monitored by checking staff were following the policies and procedures in place. For this meeting none of those recommendations were due for reporting as Internal Audit, together with management, were going through a period of reassessment to determine if they were still applicable following the restructure. From February2020 the Committee would receive reports on those that are still applicable together with an appropriate update on the status of each recommendation.


The Chairman put the recommendations to the Committee and they were agreed.


RESOLVED that the Committee considered and commented on:


(i)              the Internal Audit Progress Report December 2019 at appendix 1,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 646.


Historic Audit Actions Report pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance (copy enclosed).


Additional documents:


The Committee considered the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance that provided a proposed review of historic audit recommendations.


The Programmes, Performance and Governance Manager took the Committee through the report and appendix. She explained the rationale for the report in that the systems previously used for monitoring audit recommendations had changed therefore timely to undertake some housekeeping around historic audit recommendations.  Addressing the table at appendix 1 she advised Members that some of the recommendations would be subsumed into new recommendations and historic actions were being recommended for removal as they had been superseded by other ongoing work. The historic recommendations were largely around Channel Shift and transformation and had already been completed through the Transformation work.    


In response to questions on the appendix regarding historic recommendations proposed for removal and how related work would be taken forward, Officers responded as follows:-


Ø  Planning 16/17  - that this would be delivered as part of the Transformation Structure under the responsibility of the process improvement team and planning officers.


Ø  That as a result of the substantial changes and reengineering of systems and processes in the last year, recommendations dating back to 16/17 had been  subsumed into the transformation programme as they had naturally been overtaken by the transformation work.


Ø  That all transformation work was monitored and reviewed by the Transformation Board and Members had access to the information through the minutes on the I Drive; gateway reviews; update reports to Members and reports to Council.


Ø  That Flood Risk Management would be reported back to the Committee in April 2020 and the Lead Specialist Place, Damian Ghela had responsibility for this going forward. The Director of Service Delivery agreed he would update Members further by email following the meeting.


Ø  That there were still two recommendations outstanding regarding Safe and Clean Environment and the Director of Service Delivery agreed he would update Members further following the meeting.


A debate ensued where Members expressed concern regarding a lack of clarity around those recommendations that were being removed, what they were being replaced with, those recommendations that would form part of the new Audit Plan and who was responsible in each area. It was further noted that there was no wish to revisit what had already been done but rather than remove them, retain the threads of the existing process until a new one was in place.


The Chairman, noting these concerns, said that it may have been better for the sake of clarity, to outline how particular items would be covered going forwards. She then put the recommendation to the Committee that Members approve the proposed revisions, including removal of audit actions, which had been addressed as part of the transformation work. This was not agreed.


Councillor A S Fluker, acknowledging the issues raised in the debate proposed that the item be deferred, and a short report be submitted to a future committee outlining what was going forward in the new audit plan and what items/recommendations  ...  view the full minutes text for item 647.


Any other items of business that the Chairman of the Committee decides are urgent


There were none and the meeting closed at 8pm.