Venue: Committee Room - Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 1SE. View directions
Contact: Keith Durran Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone 01255 686585
Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.
No apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors on this occasion.
Minutes of the Last Meeting PDF 67 KB
To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Monday, 25 April 2022.
The Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on Monday 25 April 2022 were approved as a correct record and were 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.
No Questions on Notice pursuant to the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 38 had been submitted on this occasion.
Report of the Internal Audit Manager - A.1 - Report on Internal Audit: March to May 2022 and the Annual Report of the Internal Audit Manager PDF 68 KB
To provide the Committee with a periodic report on the Internal Audit function for the period March 2022 – May 2022, as required by the professional standards.
The Committee had before it a report submitted by the Council’s Internal Audit Manager (A.1) which provided a periodic update on the Internal Audit function for the period March 2022 to May 2022 together with the Internal Audit Manager’s Annual Report for 2021/22 as required by the professional standards. That report was split into three sections as follows:-
1) Internal Audit Plan Progress 2021/22
· a satisfactory level of work had been carried out on the 2021/22 Internal Audit Plan in order for the Internal Audit Manager to be able to provide an opinion in his Annual Audit Report.
· two audits from the Internal Audit Plan remained outstanding. All other audits within the plan had been completed with only two receiving an overall audit opinion of ‘Improvement Required’. All other audits within the plan had received a satisfactory level of assurance.
2) Annual Report of Internal Audit Manager
· the Annual Report of the Internal Audit Manager had concluded that an unqualified opinion of Adequate Assurance could be provided.
· the work carried out throughout the year by the Audit Committee, Senior Management and the Internal Audit Team had been in line with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and CIPFA Application Notes (Latest release November 2020).
· there were risks to being able to provide an unqualified opinion in 2022/23 given some identified wider governance issues and the difficulties reaching an overall opinion for 2021/22. This would form a key element of the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) that was currently being prepared along with a number of actions to ensure that adequate progress could be made to avoid a potentially unfavourable opinion in future.
3) Internal Audit Plan Progress 2022/23
· Six audits within the 2022/23 Internal Audit Plan were currently in fieldwork.
INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN PROGRESS 2021/22
The Committee heard how two audits within the 2021/22 Internal Audit Plan remained outstanding (Depot Operations and Strategic Housing). All other audits within the plan had been completed.
A total number of nine audits had been completed during the period April 2022 to June 2022. One report in this period had received an overall opinion of ‘Improvement Required’ (Housing Repairs and Maintenance) with the other eight receiving satisfactory assurance opinions with no significant issues being identified.
It was reported that Internal Audit had continued to provide advice on internal control, risk management and governance arrangements on a consultative basis. Further to completing audits within the agreed plan, the Team had attended meetings regarding Procurement, Career Track and Careline. The Team also allocated some time throughout the year liaising with departments and advising on an ad-hoc basis.
The Committee was reminded that the audit plan was fluid, which ensured that Audit worked with services to reaffirm audit priorities continuously throughout the year.
Audit officers remained focussed on delivering the message that they were here to support services.
Members were aware that the Internal Audit Team issued satisfaction surveys for each audit completed. In the period under review 100% of the responses received had indicated that ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Report of the Assistant Director (Finance & IT) - A.2 - Table of Outstanding Issues PDF 37 KB
To present to the Committee the progress on outstanding actions identified by the Committee along with general updates on other issues that fall within the responsibilities of the Committee.
The Committee had before it a report on the progress of outstanding actions identified by the Committee along with general updates on other issues that fell within the responsibilities of the Committee (report A.2).
Members were reminded that a Table of Outstanding Issues was maintained and reported to each meeting of the Committee. This approach enabled the Committee to effectively monitor progress on issues and items that formed part of its governance responsibilities.
Members also heard that updates were set out against general items and the Annual Governance statement within Appendices A and B respectively and 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.
Statement of Accounts 2020/21
It was reported that the Statement of Accounts 2020/21 remained subject to the conclusion of the work of the External Auditor. At the time of this Committee meeting, the associated report of the External Auditor had yet to be received as they continued their necessary audit work.
At the last meeting of the Committee, the External Auditor had provided a report which had detailed reasons for the aforementioned awaiting conclusion and had stated that the audit was not sufficiently progressed to enable the Audit Completion Report to be submitted, citing increasing pressures on the sector and unrealistic target dates. At the present time, it was hoped to bring this item to the September meeting of the Committee.
The Committee was informed that this Authority had not conducted any RIPA activity in the last quarter and that it was rare that it would be required to do so.
The Covert Surveillance Policy and Procedure Manual pursuant to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and Use of Social Media in Investigations Policy and Procedure had been finalised and had been published in May and June 2022 respectively.
Housing Void Rate
Members recalled that the housing void rate issue would now be managed through the Financial Performance Reports and it had consequently been removed from the Table of Outstanding Issues. However, if issues arose in the future they would be brought to this Committee as necessary.
The Committee was informed that the Government had provided a further response to Local Audit Framework: technical consultation, as detailed in the Redmond Review on 31 May 22. This was a culmination of the Government’s response into the effectiveness of external audit and transparency of financial reporting in local authorities and detailed the first steps taken towards a more co-ordinated local audit system, in which key players worked together to address challenges as they arose.
The response confirmed that the new regulator, the Audit Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA) would act as system leader for local audit. Ahead of ARGA’s establishment, shadow arrangements would start at the Financial Reporting Council. Additionally, measures had been announced to ease immediate timeliness issues and to reduce the financial burden which increased audit requirements had placed on councils. ... view the full minutes text for item 6.