Venue: Connaught Room - Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 1SE. View directions
Contact: Ian Ford 01255 686584
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 Councillor Steady (with Councillor Chapman substituting).
To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on 28 March 2019.
The minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee, held on 28 March 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 a periodic report on the Internal Audit function for the period March 2019 to June 2019 and the Acting Audit and Governance Manager’s Annual Report for 2018/19 as required by the professional standards.
There was submitted a report by the Council’s Acting Audit and Governance Manager (Craig Clawson) (report A.1) which provided a periodic update on the Internal Audit function for the period March 2019 to June 2019, together with his Annual Report for 2018/19 as required by the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS). The report A.1 was split into four sections as follows:-
(1) Internal Audit Plan Progress 2018/19;
(2) Annual Report of the Acting Audit and Governance Manager;
(3) Internal Audit Plan Progress 2019/20; and
(4) Internal Audit Charter.
(1) INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN PROGRESS 2018/19
It was reported that a total of nine audits had been completed in the March 2019 to June 2019 period. As at 31 March 2019, 87% of the audit plan had been completed. The Internal Audit Plan was a rolling programme and there was always an expectation for some audit reviews to progress into the next financial year. However, resourcing issues had challenged the team’s capacity to deliver a higher percentage of the plan by 31st March 2019.
The Committee was informed that, as at the 30 June 2019, 97% of the plan had been completed. Only two audits remained outstanding, with the majority of fieldwork on those completed. The audits still in progress were Housing Repairs and Maintenance and Housing Allocations. With the addition of an external resource the team had been able to catch up with the audits from the 2018/19 whilst the external contractor commissioned on a daily rate completed some of the 2019/20 audits.
Members were reminded that the PSIAS required an audit opinion on Risk Management and therefore a corporate review of the Council’s risk management arrangements had been undertaken during the year and was ongoing. Senior Management continued to monitor strategic risks on a regular basis with the Audit Committee’s input throughout the year. This assurance allowed Internal Audit to work with Senior Management and the Council’s Fraud and Risk Manager to concentrate on reviewing the overall risk appetite of the Council and to support implementation of departmental risk management at an operational level.
The Internal Audit function had issued satisfaction surveys for each audit completed. In the period under review 100% of the responses received had indicated that the auditee was satisfied with the audit work undertaken.
As previously reported, the Internal Audit Team had been operating with reduced capacity due to one Officer being on long term sick leave and another on maternity leave. The capacity of the Internal Audit Team was currently 2 FTE with an apprentice supporting where she could. The Audit Committee had previously suggested that Officers explore the use of an external contractor or employ a temporary agency Auditor for a fixed term.
The Committee was informed that Officers had explored both scenarios and had decided that the best way forward was to utilise a framework set up by Croydon London Borough Council in partnership with a professional services company, Mazars LLP. This Council had commissioned work from Mazars ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To present to the Audit Committee the updated Corporate Risk Register.
There was submitted a report by the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive (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 presented to the Committee every six months with the last such occasion being in January 2019. The following table summarised the position at the end of the latest review period with updated information provided within the Register (Appendix B to the report) where necessary:-
The Risks amended were:-
(1) Risk 2c – Community Leadership Projects = Action owner amended due to an Officer leaving the Council.
(2) Risk 1c – Ineffective communication/management of information = Update on the current situation provided.
(3) Risk 6a – Loss of sensitive and/or personal data through malicious actions/loss due to theft and/or hacking = Update on the current situation provided.
It was reported that during 2017/18 a review had been carried out by the Council’s internal audit team relating to risk management. The following table set out the recommendations identified and the current position against each action:
· The Annual Governance Statement 2018/19 for approval.
· The External Auditor’s Audit Completion Report for the year ended 31 March 2019, which includes the management representation letter, for consideration and approval, to enable a final opinion on the accounts and value for money arrangements to be formally issued by the External Auditor.
· The Statement of Accounts 2018/19 for consideration and approval for publication by the end of July 2019.
There was a report submitted by the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive (report A.3) which presented:-
(i) the Annual Governance Statement 2018/19 for approval;
(ii) the External Auditor’s Audit Completion Report for the year ended 31 March 2019 (which included the management representation letter, for consideration and approval, in order to enable a final opinion on the accounts and value for money arrangements to be formally issued by the external Auditor; and
(iii) the Statement of Accounts 2018/19 for consideration and approval for publication by the end of July 2019.
(1) ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT 2018/2019
The Committee was informed that the Annual Governance Statement 2018/2019 had been revised to include the final opinion of the Acting Audit and Governance Manager. Appendix A to the Officer’s report set out the revised Annual Governance Statement 2018/19.
Therefore, the Annual Governance Statement was presented to the Committee for consideration and approval which included the necessary authorisation for the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council to sign it.
(2) STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2018/2019 AND EXTERNAL AUDITOR’S AUDIT COMPLETION REPORT
It was reported that the pre-audited Statement of Accounts for 2018/19 had been approved for publication by the Council’s Section 151 Officer (the Head of Finance, Revenues and Benefits) at the end of May 2019. In addition, the pre-audited Annual Governance Statement 2018/19 had been approved for publication by the Council’s Management Team also at the end of May 2019.
Members were made aware that each year the Council’s External Auditors were required to prepare an annual report setting out the outcomes from their review of the Statement of Accounts (including the Annual Governance Statement) and the Council’s value for money arrangements. The Audit Committee was then required to consider the content of that annual report and approve for publication the final audited Statement of Accounts and Annual Governance Statement.
The Committee was advised that a draft management representation letter which sets out certain management representations was included as Appendix D to the External Auditor’s Audit Completion Report. The Audit Committee were also required to separately approve this letter and to authorise the Head of Finance, Revenues and Benefits and the Chairman (or in his absence the Vice-Chairman) of the Committee to sign it before it was forwarded on to the External Auditor.
Once the above tasks were completed the External Auditor could conclude the audit by finalising and formally issuing their audit opinion along with the certification of the accounts.
Although the External Auditor had substantially completed their audit of the 2018/19 accounts a small number of activities remained outstanding (as set out on page 35 of the External Auditor’s Audit Completion Report). However, the External Auditor currently planned on issuing an unmodified audit opinion in respect of the Financial Statements and on the Council’s arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources.
However, one adjustment had been required (details were set out on pages 19 to 20 of the Audit Completion Report) and there had also been an ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Future Meetings of the Committee - Venue and Start Time
The Committee will decide whether to request the Chairman of the Committee to change the venue and/or the start time of its meetings having had regard to the wishes of Members and the operational requirements of the Council’s External Auditor.
The Committee gave consideration whether to change the venue and/or the start time of its meetings.
Having had regard to the wishes of Members and the operational requirements of the Council’s External Auditors:-
RESOLVED that the usual venue for meetings of the Committee be changed from the Council Offices, Weeley to the Town Hall, Clacton-on-Sea and, additionally, that the usual start time for the meetings be moved from 7.30 p.m. to 10.30 a.m.
Members were aware that ROALCO, the Council’s external contractor for repairs and refurbishment of the Council’s housing stock, had recently gone into liquidation. At the request of the Chairman, the Head of Finance, Revenues and Benefits Services circulated to Members a briefing note on the Council’s operational response to this event, which note had been prepared by the Council’s Head of Building and Engineering Services.