Agenda and minutes

Audit and Governance Committee
Thursday, 6th December, 2018 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Suite 1,2 & 3, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions

Contact: Rachel Graves  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

52.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors G Baxendale and T Dean.

53.

Declarations of Interest

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

54.

Public Speaking Time/Open Session

In accordance with paragraph 2.32 of the Committee Procedural Rules and Appendix 7 to the Rules a total period of 10 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the Committee on any matter relevant to the work of the body in question.

 

Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes but the Chairman or person presiding will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned where there are a number of speakers. Members of the public are not required to give notice to use this facility. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours’ notice is encouraged.

 

Members of the public wishing to ask a question at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given.

 

 

Minutes:

There were no members of the public present.

55.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2018 as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2018 be approved as a correct record. 

56.

External Audit Plan - 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To receive the External Audit Plan for the year ending 31 March 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Audit Plan for the year ending 31 March 2019, which set out the work to be carried out by the Council’s External Auditors Mazars.

 

Gareth Davies of Mazars outlined the work, detailed in the Appendix to the report, which included auditing identified significant risks, Value for Money arrangements and the audit fees.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Audit Plan for 2018/19 be received and the audit fees be noted.

 

57.

Draft Treasury Management Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To receive an update on the contents of the Council’s draft Treasury Management Strategy and the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered an update on the Council’s draft Treasury Management Strategy and the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement 2019/20.

 

The Treasury Management Strategy detailed the activities of the Treasury Management function in the forthcoming year 2019/20.  The Strategy reflected the views on interest rates of leading market forecasts by Arlingclose, the Council’s advisor on treasury matters.

 

The Treasury Management Strategy formed part of a range of financial strategies which would be reported as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy to Cabinet and full Council in February 2019.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the draft Treasury Management Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Statement 2019/20 be received.

58.

Annual Governance Statement and Code of Corporate Governance Review pdf icon PDF 328 KB

To consider the update on the issues reported in the 2017-18 Annual Governance Statement,  the process for the production of the 2018/19 Annual Governance Statement and the review of the Council’s Code of Corporate Governance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered an update on the issues reported in the 2017-18 Annual Governance Statement and on the process for the production of the 2018-19 Annual Statement and the review of the Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

Appendix A to the Report detailed the progress on the items included in the 2017/18 Annual Governance Statement.  Table 1 in the report set out a summary of the recommendations to the Committee on which items should be considered as completed or managed, and can be monitored via local monitoring arrangements and which required further monitoring via the Annual Governance Statement.

 

The 2018/19 Annual Governance Statement would be prepared in line with the requirements of updated CIPFA/SOLACE guidance and carried out against the principles identified in the current Code of Corporate Governance, which was approved by Cabinet in January 2017. 

 

RESOLVED:  That the Committee

 

1        note and endorse the updates provided on the issues reported in the 2017/18 Annual Governance Statement, including the recommendations to the Committee on whether items remain in the Statement; and

 

2        endorse the process for the production of the 2018-19 Annual Governance Statement, including the proposals for reviewing the Code of Corporate Governance.

59.

Mandatory Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider whether or not any outside organisations as being organisations which, by virtue solely of being members of the same, Councillors must declare and/or register an interest in under Cheshire East Council Member Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on whether or not any outside organisation should be considered as being organisations which, by virtue of solely being members of the same, Councillors must declare and/or register an interest in under the Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

In response to the invitation at the last meeting to suggest any organisation which should be included and why, three representations had been received.  One representation was against prescribing particular organisations as members were responsible for making appropriate declarations under the existing provisions of the Code.  The two other representations related solely to Freemasonary and that membership of the Freemasons should trigger a mandatory declaration/registration of interest under the Code.

 

The Committee attention was drawn to the European Court of Human Rights decision in Grande Oriente d'ltalia di Palazzo Guistiniani v Italy (no.1) and Grande Oriente d'ltalia di Palazzo Guistiniani v Italy (no.2) that a law requiring candidates who had been nominated for public office to declare whether they were freemasons violated Articles 11 and 14.  In the light of these decisions the policy for requiring similar declarations of successful candidates for judicial appointments was withdrawn by the then Lord Chancellor.

 

It was noted that the review of the Constitution had considered whether any amendments should be made to the Code of Conduct and had concluded that no mandatory declarations/registrations on account of simple membership of any particular organisation was required.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Committee

 

1        note that there were adequate provisions in the Member Code of Conduct to appropriately deal with conflicts of interest that may arise in decision making; and

 

2        decline to particularise any outside organisation as being organisations which, why virtue solely of being members of same, Councillors must declare and/or register an interest in under Cheshire East Council Member Code of Conduct.

60.

Maladministration Decision Notices from Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman: June – August 2018 pdf icon PDF 232 KB

To receive an update on the Decision Notices issued by the Local Government Ombudsman when their investigations have found maladministration causing injustice to complainants.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the Decision Notices issued by the Local Government Ombudsman between 1 June and 31 August 2018.

 

It was reported that one Decision Notices had been issued which concluded that there had been maladministration causing injustice – details of which were set out in Appendix 1 to the report.  It was confirmed that the Education, Health and Care Plan assessment had now been carried out. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

61.

Committee Work Plan 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 232 KB

To consider the Committee’s Work Plan for the remaining meetings in 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the Committee’s Work Plan for 2018/19.

 

It was noted that the Committee’s updated terms of reference would be considered by Council on 13 December and until approved the previous terms of reference remained in place.

 

A number of items had been rescheduled for the March 2019, details of these were set out in paragraphs 5.7.1 and 5.7.2 of the report.   

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Work Plan be approved and that it be brought back to the Committee throughout the year for further development and approval.

62.

Contract Procedure Rule Waivers and Non Adherences pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To receive an update on the number and reasons for waivers and non-adherences which have been approved between 1 September and 30 September 2018.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the number and reasons for Waivers and Non-Adherences (WARNs) which had been approved between 1 – 30 September 2018. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That  the report be noted.

63.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The reports relating to the remaining items on the agenda have been withheld from public circulation and deposit pursuant to Section 100(B)(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that the matters may be determined with the press and public excluded.

 

The Committee may decide that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items pursuant to Section 100(A)4 of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and public interest would not be served in publishing the information.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item pursuant to Section 100(A)4 of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1, 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 and the public interest would not be served in publishing the information.

64.

Contract Procedure Rule Waivers and Non Adherences

To note the approved WARNS between 1 September and 30 September 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the WARN be noted.