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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms A and B, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood

Contact: Democratic Services  020 8207 7558

Items
No. Item

117.

Membership

To receive details of any changes in membership of the Committee notified since the agenda was printed.

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that Councillor Eni had replaced Councillor Hodgson-Jones as a member of this Committee.

 

118.

Communications and Apologies

(a)            Communications (if any) relating to business on the agenda.

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Noted that Councillor Hodgson-Jones was unable to attend this meeting.

 

119.

Declarations of Interest

Members are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests they or their spouse/partner have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.  Members must also declare any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they have in any matter to be considered at this meeting. The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the member concerned.

 

Members must clearly state to the meeting the existence and nature of any disc losable pecuniary interest, other pecuniary interest or non-pecuniary interest and the agenda item(s) to which it/they apply.

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests are prescribed by the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 as follows;

 

Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation

 

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

 

Sponsorship

 

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by a member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

 

Contracts

 

Any contract which is made between the relevant person (and a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant authority— (a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and (b) which has not been fully discharged.

 

Land

 

Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant authority.

 

Licences

 

Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the relevant authority for a month or longer.

 

Corporate tenancies

 

Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge) - (a) the landlord is the relevant authority; and (b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.

 

Securities

 

Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where - (a) that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the relevant authority; and (b) either (i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or (ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In cases of disclosable pecuniary interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

 

Minutes:

No Members had an interest to declare in relation to the items of business on the agenda for the meeting.

120.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 1st April and 20th May 2015.

 

In accordance with the Constitution, no discussion shall take place upon the minutes, except upon their accuracy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minute of the meetings of this Committee held on 1 April and 20 May 2015, be confirmed as a correct record.

 

121.

Anti-Fraud quarterly report pdf icon PDF 99 KB

This report introduces the new anti-fraud service provided by the Shared Internal Audit Service and details action taken since this service commenced.

 

Minutes:

The Director of Resources reminded the Committee of the circumstances that led to the establishment of the Shared Anti-Fraud Service. Hertsmere had joined Broxbourne; East Herts; North Herts; Stevenage and Hertfordshire County Council in the provision of anti-fraud services, following the removal of housing benefit fraud functions from local authorities. This new service would assist these authorities in combatting fraud in council tax discount; Blue Badge misuse; business rates and housing.

 

The report detailed the make-up of the new anti-fraud team and its method of working. The meeting noted that since the launch of the service last month, no fraud activity had been detected in Hertsmere.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Shared Anti-Fraud Service be noted.

 

122.

Presentation of the 2014/15 Statement of Accounts pdf icon PDF 167 KB

This report presents the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2014/15 for recommendation to external audit.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered Report A/15/15 and received a detailed presentation from Officers (attached as Appendix A). A full discussion was held during which a number of questions were raised by members and responded to by officers. The following particular points were noted:

 

-      that the path for finalisation of these accounts included approval by this Committee on 21 September and submission to Council on 25 November 2015;

 

-     that a report on the financial performance of the Council was regularly submitted to meetings of the Scrutiny Committee throughout the year;

 

-     that officers would provide Councillor Eni with details of the “Other minor variations” as stated on the Environmental Health Financial Monitoring Report;

 

The Committee thanked Officers for a detailed presentation and for the replies to Member questions.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)       the Statement of Accounts 2014/15 (as detailed in Appendix I to report A/15/15) be noted and its submission for external audit be approved.

 

(2)       authority be delegated to the Chief Finance Officer, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Finance and Property Portfolio Holder, to make any appropriate minor changes to the Statement of Accounts prior to its approval by the external auditors.

 

123.

Annual Assurance Statement and and Internal Audit Annual Report pdf icon PDF 350 KB

This report provides internal audit’s overall opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment. It also summarises the performance of the internal audit service during 2014/15, discloses internal audit’s conformance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and includes the Audit Charter.

 

Minutes:

This report documented the opinion of internal audit’s on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment. It went on to summarise the audit work from which the opinion was derived and the performance of the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) in respect of audit work delivered for the Council. Finally the report presented the Audit Charter for 2015/16.

 

The SIAS Audit Manager introduced this report and advised the Committee that the SIAS opinion on financial systems and non-financial systems was “substantial assurance” for both. In the opinion of SIAS the corporate governance and risk management framework substantially complied with the best practice guidance on corporate governance issued by CIPFA and SOLACE.

 

The meeting noted the internal audit activity in 2014/15 and that it was the intention of the Director of Resources to vigorously pursue the findings of the Corporate Debt Management audit report to secure an improved level of performance in that area.

 

The Director of Resources provided assurance to the Committee that the scope and resources for internal audit were not subject to inappropriate limitations in 2014/15.

 

A member drew attention to the problems I Pad users had had in viewing this agenda and suggested that the Committee Members be allowed to submit any comments they have on this report to the Director of Resources until the end of this month.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the Annual Assurance Statement and Internal Audit Annual Report be noted;

 

(2)       the results of the self-assessment, as required by both the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme, be noted;

 

(3)       the SIAS Audit Charter be accepted, and

 

(4)       note the assurance provided by the Director of Resources that the scope and resources for internal audit had not been subject to inappropriate limitations in 2014/15.

 

124.

Shared Internal Audit Service - progress report pdf icon PDF 219 KB

This report provides information on progress made by SIAS in delivering the 2015/16 Internal Audit Plan; findings for 1 April to 26 June 2015 period; proposed amendments to the approved Audit Plan and the implementation status of previously agreed Audit recommendations.

 

Minutes:

The Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) submitted a report to the Committee detailing progress made by SIAS on: delivery of the Council’s 2014/15 and 2015/16 Internal Audit Plan as at 20 June 2015; findings for the period 15 March 2015 to 20 June 2015; proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 20 June 2015.

 

The Committee noted that 22.5% of the Audit Plan had been delivered.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/15/17) be noted and the amendments to the Audit Plan be approved.

 

125.

Annual Governance Statement pdf icon PDF 109 KB

This report explains how the Council has maintained sound governance during the 2014/15 financial year, how it meets various legislative requirements and identifies any significant governance issues.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources introduced the Annual Governance Statement for 2014/15 to the Committee. The Statement explained how the Council had maintained sound governance during the 2014/15 financial year and how the Council met the requirements of regulation 4(2) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2011. The Director pointed out that this Statement was very closely related to the Statement of Accounts considered early in the meeting, and that these documents provided information on the Council’s general performance in 2014/15.

 

The governance framework, in place for the financial year 2014/15, comprised the systems and processes as well as the culture and values, by which the Council was directed and controlled and through which it accounted to, engaged with and led the community. This framework enabled the Council to monitor the achievement of its strategic objectives and to consider whether those objectives had led to the delivery of appropriate and cost-effective services.

 

The meeting considered the contents of the Annual Governance Statement Action Plan and noted that action had been taken on the Hertsmere Leisure Trust issue.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the Council’s Draft Annual Governance Statement (AGS) and Action Plan be approved.

 

(2)       the Action Plan associated with the AGS be noted.

 

(3)       subject to any changes required prior to their signing, the AGS be included in the Statement of Accounts 2014/15.

 

126.

Risk Management - progress and update report pdf icon PDF 94 KB

This report reviews and updates the Strategic Risks and progress against the Risk Management Strategy. An annual report on risk and opportunities management at HBC during the financial year 2014/15, as outlined in the Council’s Risk Management Strategy, is attached to this report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had before them a report from the Risk Manager which proposed a change in the likelihood of the Data Protection & Information Management risk, and that a new risk of establishment of a development company be added. The report also submitted the Annual Risk Management Report 2014/15 for approval.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the increase in the assessment of the Data Protection & Information Management Risk be agreed.

 

(2)       the addition of a new Strategic Risk arising from the opportunities from the “Establishment of a Development Company” be agreed.

 

(3)       the Annual Risk Management Report 2014/15 be approved.

 

127.

Audit Committee - recent publications pdf icon PDF 326 KB

This paper provides the Audit Committee with information on recent Grant Thornton publications which may be of interest.

 

Minutes:

The representative of Grant Thornton had circulated summaries of the following publications by his company which might be of interest to Members of the Committee: “Spreading their Wings”; Easing the Burden” and “Understanding your Accounts – member guidance”.

 

Noted.

 

128.

Any other business

Minutes:

None.

 

129.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 21 September at 7.30 p.m. in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

Minutes:

The next meeting of this Committee will take place on 21 September 2015 in the Civic Offices, Borehamwood.