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Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Aphrodite Lefevre (Director & Engagement Lead for BDO LLP, the Council’s appointed External Auditors).
To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on
The minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee, held on 26 September 2019, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
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.
There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.
Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 38
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.
There were none on this occasion.
To provide the Committee with a periodic report on the Internal Audit function for the period September to December 2019.
There was a report submitted by the Council’s Internal Audit Manager (Craig Clawson) (report A.1) which provided a periodic update on the Internal Audit function for the period September to December 2019. The report was split into two sections as follows:-
(1) Internal Audit Plan Progress 2019/20; and
(2) Quality Assurance Improvement Programme.
(1) INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN PROGRESS 2019/20
It was reported that a total of eleven audits had been completed since the previous update given to Members in September 2019. A further ten audits were at the fieldwork stage and another four audits had been allocated to be completed.
Nine of the eleven audits had received a satisfactory level of assurance, however; two audits; Planning Enforcement and Housing Repairs and Maintenance, had received an overall audit opinion of ‘Improvement Required’.
As there were a number of audits that were continuous or consultative, the Internal Audit Manager had provided the following summary of progress:-
Office Transformation Programme
The transformation board continued to meet on a regular basis to review progress with the Office Transformation Programme. No significant issues had been raised regarding operational processes or internal controls.
Digital Transformation Programme
At the last digital transformation meeting attended by Internal Audit, no operational or internal control concerns had been raised within the meeting. Cloud migration was the current priority within the programme.
The next phases of the programme had been discussed. As there was a lot of work being carried out within the Council depot as part of the Northbourne Security Review (which Internal Audit were supporting) it had been raised at the meeting that a new field management software was due to be implemented which would improve the efficiency of day to day operations and provide an electronic solution for Job and workflow management, scheduling and resource management and parts and stock management. It had been agreed that the IT Team would be involved in the process and determine how the new system would work with the Council’s self-service objectives.
As reported at the previous meeting of the Committee, the Project Management Board was now in place with projects being assessed under the previously reported headings and criteria in order to ensure adequate assessments of projects were undertaken to ensure all relevant information was available prior to the progression of a project.
No significant issues had been identified to date and the feedback from Officers had been positive as it had allowed constructive challenge to take place and further development of business cases prior to approval and progression.
Northbourne Security Review
As reported above, Internal Audit had been supporting the Head of Building and Engineering Services in improving the security arrangements of Northbourne Depot. An electronic gate was shortly due to be installed whereby only authorised personnel would have access. Improved CCTV was also being installed covering all areas of the Depot. A new field management system was also to be implemented in order to improve stock control, job and workflow management and scheduling efficient, logistical workloads.
Quality ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
To present to the Audit Committee the updated Corporate Risk Register.
There was submitted a report by the Council’s Head of Finance, Revenues and Benefits & Section 151 Officer (report A.2) which presented for the Committee’s consideration the updated Corporate Risk Register.
Members were reminded that the Corporate Risk Register was regularly updated, and submitted to the Committee every six months, with the last such occasion being in July 2019. At that meeting the Committee had agreed a change to the format of the Risk Register. That new format was reflected in the current Risk Register which was attached as Appendix A to the aforementioned report.
The following table summarised the position at the end of the latest review period with updated information provided within the Register where necessary:-
Corporate Risk Management Framework
Members were made aware that this was currently being reviewed in order to reflect the new risk register format and would be presented as part of the next six monthly risk update. However, there were no underlying changes that had a direct impact on the management / control of risk within the Council.
Corporate Risk Register
It was reported that since the Corporate Risk Register had been reported to the Committee in July 2019, no new risks had been identified. However, all existing risks identified would continue to be reviewed throughout the year and any necessary changes would be reported to the meeting of the Committee due to be held in July 2020.
For completeness, the following table set out all amendments to the risk register since it had last been considered by the Committee in July 2019:-
Having considered the information provided it was:-
RESOLVED that -
(a) the updates provided to the current Corporate Risk Register be noted; and
(b) the Committee be updated on any changes to the risk ratings/scores in relation to Risk 2f – Garden Communities.
An update will be given on the progress against outstanding actions identified by the Committee.
There was submitted a report by the Head of Finance, Revenues and Benefits & Section 151 Officer (report A.3) which presented to the Committee the progress on outstanding actions identified by the Committee.
The Committee was informed that there were usually two appendices to this report which would contain: 1) updates against general issues previously identified by the Committee; and 2) updates against the Annual Governance Statement that the Committee had agreed at its July meeting each year.
Members were made aware that, as there were no outstanding actions in respect of general issues identified by the Committee, only updates against the Annual Governance Statement had been included and were detailed in Appendix A to the report.
It was reported that, to date, there were no significant issues arising from the above, with work remaining in progress or updates provided elsewhere on the agenda, where appropriate.
Councillor Placey reminded the Committee that, at its last meeting, it had decided that a letter should be sent in the name of the Chairman of the Committee to strongly urge all Members to attend all Members’ Briefings and that such letter also requested feedback from non-attending Members as to the reasons why they were unable/unwilling to attend Members’ Briefings. However, such letter had not yet been sent.
Having considered the above and having discussed the contents of the report and its appendix it was:-
RESOLVED that -
(a) the progress made against the Annual Governance Statement actions be noted; and
(b) a letter should be sent jointly in the names of the Chairmen of this Committee and of the Standards Committee to strongly urge all Members to attend all Members’ Briefings and that such letter also:-
(1) requests feedback from Members as to the reasons why they were unable/unwilling to attend Members’ Briefings;
(2) requests their suggestions on how the organisation of those Briefings could be improved e.g. arranged on different days and/r at different times of the day; and
(3) inform Members that the letter has been sent because this Committee is concerned about the reputational risk to the Council arising from low Member attendance at the Briefings together with the financial cost to the Council of arranging such Briefings.