Agenda and minutes

Audit and Governance Committee
Thursday, 14th March, 2019 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

65.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

66.

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.

67.

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.

68.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2018 as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2018 be approved as a correct record.

69.

Update on the 2018/19 External Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To receive and comment on the External Auditors planned work for the audit of financial statements and the value for money conclusion for 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Gareth Davies of Mazars presented an update on the 2018/19 External Audit Plan.

 

Work had been undertaken to on the documentation of controls in the Council’s key financial systems and detailed audit work had commenced on the 2018/19 VFM conclusion.  

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Update on the 2018/19 External Plan be received.

70.

Certification Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To receive and comment on the Certification letter for the Housing Benefits Subsidy claim.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report which provided a summary of key findings that had been identified during the External Auditor’s certification process for 2017/18 claims and returns.

 

A copy of the Certification Letter for the Housing Benefits Subsidy claim had been appended to the report.  Grant Thornton had not identified any errors which required extending testing or reporting to the DWP.

 

REOSLVED:

 

That the Certification Letter for the Housing Benefits Subsidy claim be received.

71.

Members Code of Conduct: Standards Report pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To note the numbers and outcomes of complaints made under the Code of Conduct for Members between 1 September 2018 and the end of February 2019.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the reports which detailed the number and status of Member Code of Conduct complaints received in relation to Cheshire East Councillors and Town and Parish Councillors during the period 1 September 2018 to 28 February 2019.

 

The report broke down complaints received with regard to the number of complaints made against Cheshire East Councillors and Town and Parish Councillors; the paragraph of the code alleged to have been breached and the outcome of each complaint, where completed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the reports be noted.

72.

Procedural Advice

The Interim Executive Director of Corporate Services to provide verbal advice relating to procedural matters.

Minutes:

The Interim Executive Director of Corporate Services informed the Committee that there was a Member Code of Conduct complaint that would be required to be heard by the Hearing Sub Committee.

 

The Hearing Sub Committee would be made up of three members from the pool of 15 members plus an Independent Person.  Training would be provided before the Sub Committee met.

73.

Internal Audit Interim Report pdf icon PDF 245 KB

To consider a summary of Internal Audit work undertaken between October and December 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the progress against the Internal Audit Plan 2018/19 and received the updated Internal Audit Charter for approval.

 

A number of changes to the Internal Audit Charter Chapter 6 – Organisation, were reported to the Committee, which had come about due to the restructure of Corporate Services.  These being:

 

1          Amend paragraph 6.1 to read

“The Head of Audit and Risk will report functionally to the Audit and Governance Committee and administratively (i.e. day to day operations) to the Director of Governance and Compliance.”

 

2          amend paragraph 6.2 to read

“The Director of Governance and Compliance will be responsible for ensuring that the Head of Audit and Risk is managed in accordance with the Council’s HR Policies and Procedures.”

 

3          insert an extra paragraph as follows after paragraph 6.5 and renumber remaining paragraphs

“6.6       The Head of Audit and Governance will have direct access to the Council’s Section 151 Officer who has statutory responsibility as proper officer under Section 151 of the Local Government Act 1972 for ensuring an effective system of internal financial control and proper administration of the Council’s affairs.”

           

4          new number paragraph 6.8 amend the job title ‘Corporate Manager’ to ‘Head of Audit and Risk’.

 

The Committee sought clarification on when the Head of Audit and Risk would be appointed and in response were informed the position would be advertised shortly and it was hoped that they would be in post by end of June.

 

RESOLVED:  That

 

1          the Internal Audit Progress report be noted; and

 

2          the updated Internal Audit Charter be approved.

74.

Internal Audit Plan 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To approve the summary risk based Internal Audit Plan for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the draft Internal Audit Plan 2019/20 for approval. 

 

The report detailed the key themes that had emerged which included:

·         providing assurance that previously identified significant control weaknesses have been effectively and efficiently addresses and improved

·         providing assurance on the progress and nature of improvement activity across Procurement, Commissioning and Contract Management

·         reviewing key delivery areas associated with high value financial values and high level customer interaction

 

The Committee suggested that the New Homes Bonus Grants scheme should be included in the Place audit work. 

 

RESOLVED:  That

 

1          the Internal Audit Plan 2019/20 be approved; and

 

2          note that the plan will be developed and refined throughout the forthcoming year as a number of factors progress and the impact on the current structure and level of resource become known.

75.

Maladministration Decision Notices from Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman – September – November 2018 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

To consider and note a report on the Decision Notices issued by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) 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 September and 30 November 2018.

 

It was reported that three 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. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

76.

The Audit and Governance Committee Work Plan pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To consider the forthcoming Work Plan for 2019/20, to ensure comprehensive coverage of the Committee’s responsibilities.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

Council, at its meeting on 13 December 2018, had approved the Committee’s updated Terms of Reference and the Work Plan had been updated to align with these Terms of Reference.

 

It was noted that the Risk Management Update, scheduled for this meeting, had been deferred to a future meeting.

 

It was proposed that an Annual Monitoring Officer report be brought to the Committee.  The report would provide assurances on a number of the Monitoring Officer’s statutory responsibilities over the previous financial year.  Appendix B to the Report set out an outline of content for the annual report.

 

It was suggested that the Members Code of Conduct be added to the work programme to review what information was included in the report to the Committee and if necessary amend the Committee’s Terms of Reference.

 

RESOLVED:  That

 

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

 

2          an Annual Monitoring Officer report be developed and included in the Work Plan.

77.

Contract Procedure Rule Non-Adherences pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To receive an update on the quantity and reasons for non-adherences approved between the 1 October 2018 and the 31 January 2019.

Minutes:

The Committee consider a report on the number and reasons for Waivers and Non-Adherences (WARNs) which had been approved between 1 October 2018 and 31 January 2019.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

78.

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 Paragraphs 1 and 2 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 items 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 the Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 and the public interest would not be served in publishing the information.

79.

Contract Procedure Rules Non-Adherences

To note the approved WARNs issued between the 1 October 2018 and the 31 January 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the WARNs be noted.