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Brentwood Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Army Reserve Centre, Clive Road, Warley, CM13 3UJ

Contact: Zoe Borman 

Items
No. Item

142.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Hirst, Cllr Mrs McKinlay, Cllr Chilvers and Cllr Dr Barrett.  Cllrs Poppy, Bridge and Nolan were substituting respectively.  There was no substitute for Cllr Dr Barrett.

143.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 254 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee held on Tuesday 18th June 2019 were approved as a true record.

 

144.

Statement of Accounts and Annual Governance Statement 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report presents the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2018/19. These accounts have been signed by the Director of Corporate Resources on 31st May 2019. They have been published on our website and have been subjected to the relevant inspection period under section 26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. No written notice of objection had been received.

 

On 25th June, the formerly Interim Chief Finance Officer, received a phone call from our External Auditors, EY LLP, explaining that their planned Audit which was to commence the week beginning 1st July would be delayed and would need to be rescheduled after 31st July. A meeting was arranged with the Chair of Audit and Scrutiny and the External Auditors to explain the situation and a letter was received dated 3rd July to notify the Council in writing.

 

External Auditors have expressed their disappointment with this position and recognise the impact this has on the Council’s resources, reputation and that this position is through no fault of the Council and its finance team. A reschedule of the Audit has been proposed as soon as possible after 31st July, but no dates have yet been received or confirmed at the time this report was published.

 

The authority will publish on our website, before the 31st July, the unaudited Statement of Accounts, the Annual Governance Statement and the Narrative Statement, without a certificate or opinion from the local auditor, and accompany these documents with a Notice explaining the reasons for the delay of the audit.

 

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

 

Mr Neil Harris was present and reiterated what was said in the report stating that the reason for the delayed audit was no fault of the Council and its finance team, but due to Ernst & Young’s resource restraints and to safeguard audit quality.  Mr Harris gave assurance that the Council were not in breach of any statutory requirements.

 

Members raised concerns regarding value for money in relation to their partnership working with other authorities.  Mr Harris saw no reason why Brentwood were not giving value of money and saw no significant risks in this area.

 

With regard to Planning and Licensing, page 36 in the report, Members asked whether Brentwood Council could be self-financing, which currently as the figures show, is not.  Mr Harris agreed to take this question offline and report back to the Director of Corporate Resources to feedback to the Committee.

 

Cllr Cloke asked for a breakdown of the Transformation services which the Director of Resource will provide directly to committee members outside of the meeting.

 

It was noted that the Appendices to the recommendations had been referred to incorrectly.  Subject to these being amended, a vote was taken by a show of hands and it was RESOLVED:

 

1.         The Annual Governance Statement 2018/19 attached in Appendix B is approved and signed by the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 144.

145.

Internal Audit Progress Report pdf icon PDF 343 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report intended to inform the Audit and Scrutiny Committee of

progress made against the approved internal audit plans for 2018/19 and

2019/20, which were approved by the Audit and Scrutiny Committee in

March 2018 and March 2019 respectively.

 

The report had been finalised since the last Committee and a

summary of the findings was included in the progress report:

 

·         Main Financial Systems

 

The executive summary of the audit is included in Appendix A –

Progress report.

 

The full report is available on request.

 

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

 

Ms Janine Combrinck was present and summarised the report.

 

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

 

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

 

Reason for Recommendation

 

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

 

 

146.

Internal Audit Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 408 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Overall, we were able to provide moderate assurance that there is a sound

system of internal control, designed to meet the Council’s objectives and

that controls are being applied consistently. In forming their view the Council have taken into account that:

 

·         The Council has performed broadly in line with budget regarding financial performance.

 

·         The Council has continued to demonstrate sound financial

management with moderate assurance opinions provided on the design and operational effectiveness in the audits on corporate projects and key financial systems.

 

In respect of the design of the controls, an opinion of moderate assurance

was provided for seven out of the ten assurance audits where reports

have been issued, substantial assurance was provided in three areas.

These opinions are an improvement compared with 2017-18.

 

In respect of the design and operational effectiveness of the controls,

opinion of moderate / moderate assurance was provided for five of the ten

assurance audits where reports have been issued, substantial assurance

was provided in four areas, and in limited assurance in one area. These

opinions are an improvement compared with 2017-18.

 

The Council has specifically requested audits into known areas of risk and

new areas of concern i.e. the Housing Department and PCI/DSS

compliance.

 

Management has responded positively to reports issued and action plans

have been developed to address the recommendations raised.

 

We have confirmed that 71% of recommendations due for implementation

by the date of reporting had been completed. Management has provided

assurance that a further 19 (24%) have been implemented, we are

awaiting evidence to verify this.

 

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

 

Mr Rubins was present at the meeting and summarised the report.  He reported that good progress had been made by the Council given the financial pressures it is currently facing. However, work is needed to improve implementation of recommendations on a timely basis and the auditors will be working with the Council on this to ensure improvement in this area.

 

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

 

1.         That the Committee receives and notes the contents of the report.

 

Reasons for Recommendation

 

To review the results of the internal audit reviews undertaken during the year and highlight key themes and areas for consideration arising from the work of internal audit.

147.

Risk Management Report pdf icon PDF 304 KB

To follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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.

 

Following on from a request at the Regulatory and Governance Committee on 6 March 2019, attached at appendix C is the complete Operational Risk Register for the Housing Department.

 

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

 

Members raised concerns over the level of insurance regarding subsidence.  Mrs Van Mellaerts will come back to Members regarding this point outside of the meeting.

 

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

 

1.         To agree the amendments to the Strategic Risk Register, as shown in Appendix A, and that the risk scores recorded for each risk accurately represents the current status of each risk.

 

2.         To agree the risk scores recorded for the high-level Operational Risks, as shown in Appendix B.

 

3.         To agree the risk scores recorded for the Housing Operational Risks, as shown in Appendix C.

 

Reasons for Recommendations

 

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 on the ongoing changes.

 

In addition, the Risk and 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.

 

 

148.

Scrutiny Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 78 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 recommendations in the report.

 

Following a full discussion 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. 

 

149.

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 20:05