Agenda and draft minutes

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Items
No. Item

54.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Bray (with no substitute).

55.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on 27 September 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee, held on 27 September 2018, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

56.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Personal Interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.

57.

Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 37

Subject to providing two working days’ notice, a Member of the Committee may ask the Chairman of the Committee a question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the Tendring District and which falls within the terms of reference of the Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were none.

58.

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive - A.2 External Audit Report - Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To present the External Auditor’s certification of claims and returns annual report 2017/18.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At the request of the Committee Chairman Agenda item 6, report A.2 was the first to be discussed by the Committee,

The Committee had before it a report (A.2) which presented the External Auditor’s certification of claims and returns annual report 2017/18. Chris Hewitt, Audit Manager for Ernst and Young attended the meeting to explain the report further to the Committee.

In summary, the key outcomes from the annual report were set out as below;

·         The Housing Benefit Subsidy claim was subject to audit certification by the Councils External Auditor in 2017/18.

·         The External Auditor’s detailed report was attached to this report. A qualification letter has been issued although there has been only a marginal effect on the subsidy receivable.

·         To date no response has been received from the Department for Works and Pensions in response to the External Auditor’s qualification letter. Although they have not done so in previous years, the DWP may require the Council to undertake further work or claw back subsidy that has been paid. As there have only been a limited number of relatively minor issues identified this risk is low.

Having considered the External Auditors report it was RESOLVED that;

a)    the contents of the External Auditor’s certification of claims and returns annual report 2015/16 be noted.

 

59.

Report of the Audit and Governance Manager - A.1 - Report on Internal Audit pdf icon PDF 184 KB

To provide the Committee with a periodic report on the Internal Audit function for the period September – December 2018.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

PERIODIC REPORT ON INTERNAL AUDIT – SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2018

 

The Councils Acting Audit and Governance Manager (Craig Clawson) provided a periodic report on the Internal Audit Function for the period of September to December 2018.

The Acting Audit and Governance manager informed the Committee a total of nine audits had been completed in the period in question, of which four had been given Substantial Assurance, four have been rated Adequate Assurance and one had been rated improvement required. No audits had been raised Significant Improvement Required.

The Committee was informed that the audit completed in the period under review which had received an ‘Improvement Required’ opinion and which therefore required reporting to members was-

Facilities Management (FM)

It was reported that the scope of this review was to cover all facilities across the council and ensure that all were compliant with mandatory maintenance including periodic Health and Safety requirements. A number of significant issues along with associated actions have been identified, some of which have already been addressed.;

 

It was also reported that, with regards to the Bank Account audit, although this did not receive an ‘Improvement Required’ opinion overall, there was one significant issue identified in respect of the paperwork required to support credit card payments which required further attention. It has been agreed that the Head of Finance, Revenues and Benefits Services will distribute an email reminding staff of the correct process to follow when submitting credit card payment details and if the lack of supporting documentation continues, their use of the Corporate Credit Card will be withdrawn.

 

The Committee was reminded, that at its previous meeting there had been one significant issue reported –“Development Management. Retention of Funds by Third Party Company (Income Management)” which had been addressed within this report.

 

 

The Committee was made aware that with regards to the Transformation Board Project currently taking place no significant issues have been highlighted in terms of audit. There have been some changes in delivery with the ‘digital transformation’, however the expected outcomes remain the same. The IT and Corporate Resilience Manager has ensured that key stages are to be signed off throughout the project. It has been reported that 95% of the Network Re-Design budget has been used however, the IT and Corporate Resilience Manager has advised that the additional budget required is not significant and can be managed through existing service budgets.

 

60.

Report of the Corporate Director (Corporate Services) - A.3 - Table of Outstanding Issues pdf icon PDF 64 KB

An update will be given on the progress against outstanding actions identified by the Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had before it a report (A.3) of the Deputy Chief Executive presenting to Members the progress on outstanding actions identified by the Committee.

It was reported that the table of outstanding issues had been reviewed and updated since it was last considered by the Committee at its meeting held 27 September 2018. A detailed update was provided following a risk review undertaken by the Council’s insurers that was requested by the Committee. A number of points were raised by the Committee that will be reflected going forward.

It was further reported that there were no significant issues to bring to the attention of the Committee, with updates provided against individual items, as set out in Appendix A to item A.3 of the Report of the Deputy Chief Executive, or elsewhere on the agenda where appropriate.

Having considered the report (A.3) of the Deputy Chief Executive, it was RESOLVED that the progress on the outstanding issues be noted.

 

61.

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive - A.4 Corporate Risk Register - January 2019 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To present to the Audit Committee the updated Corporate Risk Register.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had before them a Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (A.4) which presented to Members the updated Corporate Risk Register, last presented to the Committee July 2018

It was reported that, within the period under review, no new risks had been added to the register, no risks had been removed, one risk score had been amended, no items are currently under review and no items have been amended.

Risk scores have been amended in respect of;

(1)  2a Coastal Defence.

 

It was reported that during the year a review had been carried out by the Council’s Internal Audit Team relating to Risk Management. The following table sets out the recommendations identified and the current position against each of those actions;

 

Agreed Action

 

Current Position

Management Team to promote the importance of operational risk management within the organisation and ensure that Senior Managers implement a process for identifying and mitigating risks in coordination with the Corporate Fraud and Risk Manager.

 

  

Management Team are currently working with the Fraud and Risk Manager to effectively promote the importance of operational risk management within the Council.  The Corporate Fraud and Risk Manager attends Management Team meetings on a quarterly basis and provides monthly updates.  

 

One to one meetings will continue to take place between Senior Managers and the Corporate Fraud and Risk Manager to identify and record key operational risks within their service areas. Support to be provided by Internal Audit if required

One to one meetings have now concluded and feedback received. A deadline has been set for Heads of Service to finalise their departmental risk assessments to conclude this action.

 

Once concluded any required changes to the corporate risk register will be made.

 

Once all departmental risk registers are implemented, the Corporate Fraud and Risk Manager is to embed a quality control process for monitoring business risks and verifying the recorded mitigating controls. This should involve process walkthrough's, reviews of supporting documentation and assessments of target dates / resources required to implement controls

Following on from the comments above, a quality control process will be implemented once departmental risk registers have been finalised.

 

 

Members recalled that at its meeting on 26 July 2018 the Committee requested that Officers review a number of risks to explore whether they should be treated as separate risks within the register given their potential impact on the Council. It was updated that this review has been completed with the outcomes set out below;

 

 

 

 

 

Issue Raised

Outcome from Review

The delivery of the Waste and Recycling Service given recent events elsewhere in the country and the failure of large contractors nationally.

The contractor is considered to be a stable contractor and there are no issues relating to their financial performance. A 7 year extension to the existing contract has recently been negotiated.

 

Item 9b of the corporate risk register addresses the associated general business continuity risk without itemising specific contractual areas.

The delivery of the Planning Service as loss of key staff could contribute towards the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive - A.5 Fraud and Corruption Strategy pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To present to the Audit Committee an updated Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had before it a Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (A.5) which presented to the Committee an updated Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy.

 

The Committee was informed that the Councils Fraud and Corruption Strategy was last updated in 2012. Following various changes, including the recent establishment of a dedicated Corporate Fraud Team within the Council, significant changes to the existing strategy have been required. The Committee considered an updated Anti-Fraud Corruption Strategy at its 26 July 2018 meeting for consultation. The updated strategy incorporated the various elements of Cipfa’s code of practice on managing the risk of fraud and corruption which was adopted by the Committee at its 22 March 2018 meeting.

An updated Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy was before the Committee (as an appendix to item A.5 of the Report of the Deputy Chief Executive) which reflects a number of amendments emerging as part of the consultation process.

Having considered the #Report (A.5) of the Deputy Chief Executive, it was RESOLVED  that the Committee approved the amended Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy.