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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Ingrave Road, Brentwood, Essex CM15 8AY

Contact: Zoe Borman 

Items
No. Item

343.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Chilvers and Cllr Fulcher was substitute.

344.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 467 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Audit and Scrutiny meeting held on 9th October were signed as a true record.

 

Members asked for an update on when the Constitution Working Group was going to meet.  Mr Summers will advise officers of this.

345.

Audit Results of Statement of Accounts 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council’s External Auditors, Ernst & Young have substantially completed their audit of the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2018/19. This report presented their conclusions and the final Financial Statements.

External Audit proposed to issue an unqualified audit opinion for the Statement of Accounts 2018/19 and an unqualified value for money conclusion.

 

Mr Neil Harris was present at the meeting and summarised the report.  He thanked officers and the finance team for their input and support throughout the audit.

 

Members were appreciative of officer’s work in relation to the Statement, however, they raised concerns regarding the difference in valuation of the investment property amounting to £242K.  Mr Harris confirmed the Council had responded appropriately ensuring a revised valuation was sought.  Measures have been put in place for an earlier valuation of SAIL assets for future audits.

 

Regarding audit fees, Members were assured that negotiations were taking place to ensure an appropriate fee was obtained reflecting any additional work and allowing for the lateness of the audit, taking advice from PSAA if necessary.

 

 A motion was MOVED by Cllr Nolan and SECONDED by Cllr Tanner to approve the recommendations in the report.

 

 

Following a full discussion a vote was taken by a show of hands and it was RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY:

 

1.         To consider the Audit Results Report 2018/19 in Appendix A and note the conclusions contained in it.

 

2.         Approve the Letter of Representation in Appendix B, for signing by the Director of Corporate Resources.

 

3.         Approve the Statement of Accounts for 2018/19 in Appendix C, for signing by the Chair of the Committee and the Director of Corporate Resources.

 

 

Reason for Recommendation

To enable the Council to conclude the Statement of Accounts process for

2018/19.

 

 

The Statement of Accounts were signed on behalf of the Council.

346.

Internal Audit Progress Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report was intended to inform the Audit and Scrutiny Committee of progress made against the 2019/20 internal audit plan.

 

The following reports have been finalised since the last Committee:

 

·         Housing benefits (2019/20) (Moderate/Moderate)

·         General Data Protection Regulations Operational (2019/20)

(Substantial/Substantial)

·         Leisure Services (2019/20) (Moderate/Substantial)

 

Janine Combrinck was present at the meeting and summarised the report.

 

Members were pleased with the progress achieved to date in particular with regards the outstanding recommendations.

 

Members requested clarification regarding 17/18 Partnerships rec 3: on page 219 of the report:

 

“The approval status should be verified for all existing partnerships recorded in the Partnership Register.  Where approval was not obtained, the ‘Partnership Checklist’ and ‘Partnership Assessment Tool’ should be completed and submitted for retrospective approval from the Head of Service or relevant Committee as appropriate.”

 

At the end of the meeting, and having looked into the original recommendation, Ms Combrinck was able to confirm to Members that the Council’s partnership policy and procedures states that for any new partnership to be entered into, there has to be approval from the relevant Committee or by the Head of Paid Service.  At that time, there was no evidence of this and therefore retrospective approval had to be sought.  In order for those recommendations to be completed, evidence needs to be shown that the retrospective approval took place.

 

Following a full discussion Members were asked: 

 

1.         That the Committee receives and notes the contents of the Internal Audit Progress Report attached in Appendix A.

 

2.         That the Committee receives and notes the contents of the Internal Audit Follow Up Report attached in Appendix B.

 

 

Reasons for Recommendation

To monitor the progress of work against the internal audit plan.

 

347.

Risk Management pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report updates members of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee on the status of the Council’s 2019 Strategic Risk Register and high-level Operational Risks.

 

One risk on the Strategic Risk Register had been decreased all other risk scores remained the same.

 

Of the high level operational risks, four risks has decreased, two risks have increased and there was one new risk, other risk scores had remained the same.

 

Members raised concerns regarding the Planning Portal being unobtainable during the Christmas period.  Officers agreed to investigate as a potential operational risk.

 

 

Following a full discussion

 

Members were asked:

 

1. To note the Strategic Risk Register, as shown in Appendix A.

 

2. To note the risk scores recorded for the high-level Operational

    Risks, as shown in Appendix B.

 

 

Reasons for Recommendation

Risk Management continues to be imbedded quarterly within the Senior

Management Team reports, where Service Heads discuss the top-level risks for their service areas to ensure that the risks are updated to reflect the ongoing changes.

348.

Risk Management - 9th October 2019 pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At the previous Audit & Scrutiny Committee members raised concerns regarding the lateness of the report and asked that it be brought back to the next meeting. The Chair informed members that this was an information only item, the report had been updated to reflect this.

 

The report updated members of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee on the status of the Council’s 2019 Strategic Risk Register and high-level Operational Risks.

 

Two risks on the Strategic Risk Register have been decreased all other risk scores had remained the same.

 

One risk had increased, and one risk had decreased of the high level Operational Risks, other risk scores had remained the same.

 

Officers have carried out an EU Exit risk assessment which was included in Appendix C.

 

 

Members are asked to:

 

1. To note the Strategic Risk Register, as shown in Appendix A.

 

2. To note the risk scores recorded for the high-level Operational

     Risks, as shown in Appendix B.

 

Reasons for Recommendation

Risk Management continues to be embedded quarterly within the Senior

Management Team reports, where Service Heads discuss the top-level risks for their service areas to ensure that the risks are updated to reflect the ongoing changes.

 

The Risk & Insurance Officer will continue to work with risk managers to

maintain the good progress to date and further develop a consistent application of risk management considerations across all operations of the Council.

349.

Formal Complaints & Performance Indicator Working Group pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report submits the report and recommendations of the Formal Complaints and Performance Indicators Working Group for consideration by the Audit & Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

A motion was MOVED by Cllr Nolan and SECONDED by Cllr Tanner to approve the recommendation in the report.

 

Members requested that in addition to investigating complaints by the Council whether the process in relation to complaints against individuals and Members could be reviewed, as some of these complaints were taking a long time to be resolved.  Officers said this could be picked up under the new Director of Law and Governance.

 

A vote was taken by a show of hands and it was RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY:

 

1. To note the Formal Complaints and Performance Indicators Working

Group report, as attached at Appendix A, and agree the recommendations contained within it.

 

Reasons for Recommendation

To ensure the Council provides modern and effective customer services.

350.

Scrutiny Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Constitution requires that the Audit & Scrutiny Committee agrees its Scrutiny work programme at each meeting of the Committee. This report provides an update of the current scrutiny work programme and is set out in Appendix A.

 

In addition, legislation requires that an Annual report is made to the Committee on the work of the Community Safety Partnership. This report is normally made at the March committee each year.

 

At the Audit and Scrutiny Committee on the 18th  June 2019, Min.51 refers, it was agreed that a request form be sent for scrutiny matters be made available to all members immediately following the meetings. This action was undertaken and to date no responses have been received.

 

 

A motion was MOVED by Cllr Nolan and SECONDED by Cllr Tanner to approve the recommendation in the report.

 

Members requested that the relationship with SEPP and other partnerships be added to the scrutiny programme.

 

 

A vote was taken by a show of hands and it was RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY:

 

1. That the Committee considers and agrees the 2019/20 Scrutiny work

     programme as set out in Appendix A.

 

 

Reasons for Recommendation

The Constitution requires that the Audit & Scrutiny Committee agrees its Scrutiny work programme at each meeting of the Committee.

 

351.

Urgent Business

An item of business may only be considered where the Chair is of the opinion that, by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the Minutes, the item should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

 

 

 

                                                                        The meeting concluded at 20.15.