Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Keith Simmons Email: or Telephone  01255 686580

No. Item


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 Councillors Fairley and King.  No substitutes were appointed.  Councillor Miles also apologised for being unable to attend the meeting until 11.10am.


Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Thursday 27 January 2022.


The Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on Thursday 27 January 2022 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 


In response to questions, the Committee was advised that an update on the implementation of the new Planning Enforcement Policy (Minute 25 of 27 January 2022 refers) would be part of the follow up work by Internal Audit and reported to a future meeting of this Committee.  The Committee was further advised that the Council had opted in to the appointed person arrangements made by the Public Sector Audit Appointments following the recommendation of this Committee (Minute 26 of 27 January 2022 refers) and the approval of Council. 


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 no Questions on Notice on this occasion.


Report of the Internal Audit Manager - A.1 - Internal Audit Plan 2022/2023 pdf icon PDF 198 KB

To seek the approval of the Audit Committee for the 2022/2023 Internal Audit Plan.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of the Internal Audit Manager (report A.1) which sought its approval of the 2022/23 Internal Audit Plan, as required bythe Public Sector Internal Audit Standards. 


It was reported that the 2022/23 Internal Audit Plan had been developed using a risk based approach, taking account of the Council’s Corporate Objectives, Corporate Risks and Emerging Risks. The plan had been collated based on the information gained from liaising with Directors, Heads of Service and departments in order to target those areas that could benefit from an independent review of processes and procedures to determine potential efficiency gains and improved technology/software requirements or if the function had not been audited for a substantial period of time due to it being considered of lower risk historically.  .


Members were made aware that the establishment for the Internal Audit function was currently four full time equivalents (fte) as a recent restructure now meant there were four full time members of staff with the part time Audit Technician post having being changed to a full time post. That post was due to be advertised and, all being well, subsequently appointed to.  In response to questions, the Internal Audit Manager advised that he considered the total direct budget for the service for 2022/23 (in the sum of £178,930) was sufficient and that he hoped the vacancy referred to would be filled by the time of this Committee’s meeting in June 2022.


The level and range of coverage was considered sufficient for the Internal Audit Manager to be able to provide an annual opinion on the Council’s assurance framework.


The Committee was informed that the proposed plan had been developed based on the current resource available and the team’s adaptation to innovative and leaner ways of working. The number of audit days proposed was 450 which remained unchanged from the 2021/22 audit plan. The plan had been created with the following in mind:-


·      a leaner more practical audit plan had been developed using a risk based approach, knowledge of all operational processes within service areas, historical assurance opinions and an understanding of where procedural changes had occurred around the Council;


·      a hybrid structure of both internal and external resource would provide additional resilience within the team as well as provide different experience, skills transfer for more junior staff and access to a hub of audit resource; and


·      the impact of COVID-19 would be assessed within all auditable areas identified to ensure a consistent level of assurance could be provided.


A detailed breakdown of the proposed Audit Plan was included in Appendix A to the report. The plan provided an outline of the work currently proposed to be undertaken during the 2022/23 financial year. In order to continue to provide a proactive and flexible approach, the Plan was considered to be ‘indicative’ of the work currently intended. The Internal Audit Plan needed to be flexible in order to ensure that Internal Audit resources were directed where they were most needed, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Report of Assistant Director (Partnerships) - A.2 - Response to Report of Ofsted following Inspection of Career Track pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To provide the Audit Committee with an overview of the organisation’s improvement actions following the Ofsted inspection of Career Track between 3rd and 5th November 2021.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of the Assistant Director (Partnerships) (report A.2) which provided it with an overview of the organisation’s improvement actions following the Ofsted inspection of Career Track undertaken between 3rd and 5th November 2021.


It was reported that Career Track had had its first full inspection by Ofsted between 3rd and 5th November 2021. Career Track had previously had a successful Ofsted Monitoring Visit (a more ‘light touch’ inspection in June 2019). The full report following the November Inspection had been published on 24th December 2021 and was attached as Appendix A to the Officer report. The findings of the report had graded Career Track as ‘Requiring Improvement’. Although this was a disappointment there had been much that was positive in the report as it had contained a detailed section about things that were being done well and it had been especially complimentary about the dedication and care of the team for the apprentices and about the commitment the apprentices showed towards their learning and development. The emphasis was now on what was needed to make things better.


Members themselves referenced the many positive comments about Career Track set out in the Ofsted report.


The Development Plan, as attached at Appendix B to the Officer report, took each of the five inspection categories in turn and stated what was being planned to address each area. The document identified the key milestones and progress by using a RAG (Red, Amber and Green) system.


The Council’s initial response activity had focussed on setting the foundations and getting them in place. This had involved amending the hours and workload of the Training Assessment Team Leader so that she had been freed up to dedicate time to policy and curriculum development with the introduction of the ‘OneFile’ system. To enable this to happen, a temporary Training Assessment Officer role had been created for 30 hours per week until the end of July 2022. That person had taken over the apprenticeship caseload from the Training Assessment Team leader.  More widely, the staffing resource of Career Track was considered sufficient for the numbers of apprentices progressing with the service.  Obviously, it would continue to be monitored and, if numbers of apprentices grew, further staffing resource may be required to match the call on the service.


Members were informed that the services of a specialist company known as SDN (Strategic Development Network) were being utilised for their professional help and advice for policy and curriculum development. SDN were supporting Career Track with consultants/professionals who had also worked alongside and trained Ofsted Inspectors.


As previously stated, the service was rolling out the use of ‘OneFile’, a training software package for the administration and management of apprenticeships. OneFile was used by many apprenticeship providers as it supported the learners more effectively and enabled the provider to better monitor and ensure delivery of the curriculum. Effective roll out of that package would play a significant role in addressing the Ofsted concerns regarding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Report of Assistant Director (Partnerships) - A.3 - Tendring Careline: Recovery after Improvement Notice from TEC Services Association pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To inform the Audit Committee of the recovery actions taken by Tendring Careline after an improvement notice was issued by the TEC Services Association at its last audit of the service.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of the Assistant Director (Partnerships) (report A.3) which informed it of the recovery actions taken by Tendring Careline after an improvement notice had been issued by the Technology Enabled Care Services Association (TSA) following their last audit of the Careline service operated by this Council.


Members were informed that Tendring Careline had been established in 1987 and had been a member of the TSA since 2010. That organisation was the national body of carelines across the UK and, although membership was not mandatory, it offered the most widely recognised accreditation for the telecare industry. Membership of the TSA also included the equipment suppliers used by carelines. The Tendring Careline had been accredited by the TSA since 2012.  In order to be accredited, each Careline service must pass an annual audit by the TSA in which 13 modules were assessed. In September 2021 this Council’s Careline service had been found to be compliant in 12 of those modules but had been issued with an improvement notice for the thirteenth, namely, Technology Enabled Care Monitoring. The full audit report was attached at Appendix A to the Officer report.


It was reported that the Technology Enabled Care Monitoring module within the TSA audit was an assessment of how quickly incoming calls to Tendring Careline were handled by the Control Centre Operators. In order to be passed as compliant the Careline staff should answer 97.5% of all calls within 60 seconds and, in any event, 99% of all calls within 180 seconds. The September 2021 audit of Tendring Careline had found that: ‘KPI’s for calls answered within 60 seconds have only been achieved for 2 months out of the last 18 months. KPI’s for calls answered within 180 seconds have been missed 6 times in the last 18 months’.


Officers felt that there were mitigating circumstances for those statistics. Firstly, the Covid-19 pandemic had had a great impact on staff resources. Between April 2020 and June 2020 numerous Control Centre Operators had caught the virus and had had to self-isolate and numerous others had been considered to be ‘vulnerable’ and had also had to stay at home. At this point in time Tendring Careline had been operating on an old analogue call handling platform which meant that all Operators had to be physically present in the Control Centre which was a relatively small space with no windows and no fresh air circulating so it would have been likely that the virus could be transmitted. The decision had subsequently been taken to close the Control Centre and deploy a new digital call handling platform. This had enabled the Careline Operators to work from home but it had taken many months of online training for the Operators to get back up to speed on the new platform and, in addition, there had also been various problems with staff using the wifi available in their own homes whereby the wifi would ‘drop-out’ and calls could not therefore be answered.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Report of Assistant Director (Finance & IT) - A.4 - Audit Committee Work Programme for 2022/2023 pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To present for approval the Audit Committee’s proposed work programme covering the period April 2022 to March 2023.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered its proposed work programme covering the period April 2022 to March 2023 which had been prepared and continued to reflect the significant element of regulatory / statutory activity required, along with other associated work, which fell within the responsibilities of the Audit Committee.


The need for the work programme of the Committee to include updates on the Career Track and Careline matters reported to this meeting (Minutes 32 and 33 refer respectively) was referred to in the consideration of this matter.


The Chairman also drew attention to the delays being experienced in receiving External Audit reports.  Written explanations from the External Audits in relation to those delays should be submitted to the Committee’s meetings where they occur so that they can form part of the public record.


RESOLVED that the proposed Work Programme for 2022/23 be approved, updated for the matters considered earlier at this meeting and referencing the need for External Audit statements where delays in reporting from them occurred and that the Programme be implemented accordingly.



Report of Assistant Director (Finance & IT) - A.5 - Corporate Risk Update pdf icon PDF 158 KB

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

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the updated Corporate Risk Register, which had last been submitted to it in September 2021.


Members noted that the Corporate Risk Management Framework had remained unchanged at this time though a review of the framework had unfortunately been delayed and would now be reported to the Audit Committee in June 2022.


The table set out below detailed all amendments to the Risk Register since it had last been considered by the Committee in September 2021:-


Risk Register Item

Amendments / Comments


New Risks Identified




Risks Removed




Risk Scores Amended


Item 6b - Disconnection from PSN Network – inherent risk score reduced from 20 to 12, due to end of lifecycle.



Risk under review





Risks Amended

Item 1a - Failure to effectively manage assets – update on main text.


Item 1b - Catastrophic IT network failure – change in service delivery target, increased from 85% to 90%.


Item 1c - Ineffective communication / management of information – update on main wording relating to cybersecurity.


Item 1d - Ineffective Cyber Security Physical and Application (software) Based Protection Management – updates to main wording relating to cyber security initiatives.    


Item 2d - Ineffective delivery of Transforming Tendring project – update on main wording relating to main office site work being completed.


Item 5a - Financial Strategy – Current action wording updated


Item 6b - Disconnection from PSN Network - change in wording to reflect the inherent risk being reduced.  End of lifecycle.


Item 9a - Ineffective Emergency Planning – change to main wording and change of responsible officer.


Item 9b - Ineffective Business Continuity Planning – update to main text.



At its meeting held in September 2021, two further potential emerging risks had been highlighted to the Committee, namely:


·      Shortage of Global Supplies

·      Failure to Deliver Key Contracts


In terms of the second point, a report had been considered earlier in the meeting in respect of the Careline Service.


In terms of the first point, it was reported that this had continued to present a significant risk, especially in respect of computer processing chips and the impact from on-going global events. However, this continued to be managed via earlier procurement planning and remaining alert to market conditions.


The Committee was advised that the Fraud and Risk Team continued to oversee the Council’s Risk Management supported by the Council’s Internal Audit Team. The table below set out the work currently being undertaken:-


 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.


The Fraud and Risk Manager continues to work with Management Team to effectively promote the importance of operational risk management within the Council, and continues to attend management team meetings (via Teams) on a quarterly basis and provides monthly updates for any urgent matters identified. 

One to one meetings will continue to take place between Senior  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Exclusion of Press and Public

The Committee is requested to consider passing the following resolution:-


“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Agenda Item 11 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act.”



It was moved by Councillor Coley, seconded by Councillor Alexander and:-


RESOLVED that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Agenda Item 11 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act.


[Note: Following the passing of this resolution, and before proceeding, the Chairman of the Committee confirmed with officers that the live broadcast and recording of the meeting had ended.]



Report of Assistant Director (Finance & IT) - B.1 - Risk Based Verification Policy

To seek the necessary annual approval of the Council’s Risk Based Verification Policy.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that, following the annual review for 2022, the Risk Based Verification Policy, as set out in Appendix A to item B.1 of the Report of the Assistant Director (Finance & IT), be approved.