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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

125.

Membership

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

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that Councillor Barker had replaced Councillor Kelly as a member of this Committee.

 

126.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology was submitted on behalf of Councillor A Sachdev.

 

127.

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 disclosable 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 Member had an interest to declare in relation to the items of business on the agenda for the meeting.

 

128.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 9 May and 18 May 2016.

 

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of this Committee held on 9th May and 18th may 2016, be confirmed as a correct record.

 

129.

External Auditors progress report pdf icon PDF 157 KB

The purpose of this report is to provide the Audit Committee with an overview of the stage reached in the Ernst & Young 2015/16 audit and ensure it is aligned with the Committee’s service expectations.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received a progress report from Ernst & Young, the Council’s external auditors, which provided information on the key deliverables and progress against these. It was noted that work to audit the Council’s statement of accounts would commence on 25 July and wold conclude with the provision of an opinion on whether the financial statements gave a true and fair view of the financial position of the Council. The external auditors had also commenced work to certify Hertsmere’s Housing Benefit grants claim. The total subsidy claimed was £41.4 million. This work had to be completed before 30 November 2016.

 

In response to a question about the impact of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, it was noted that Hertsmere was not the beneficiary of any European Union funding streams.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the progress report from Ernst & Young be noted.

 

130.

Presentation of the 2015/16 Statement of Accounts pdf icon PDF 222 KB

This report presents the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2015/16 for recommendation to external audit.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered Report A/16/19 and received a detailed presentation from Officers (attached as Appendix A). A full discussion was held during which a number of points were raised by members and responded to by officers. The following particular points were noted:

 

-   the path for finalisation of these accounts included approval by this Committee on 7 September and submission to Council on 23 November 2016;

 

-     the fact that Hertsmere generated income was now the major contributor to the Council’s budget;

 

-   the need to delve into the accounts to understand the true cash flow position.

 

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

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)       the Statement of Accounts 2015/16 (as detailed in Appendix I to report A/16/19) 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 on 25 July 2016.

 

131.

Annual Governance Statement 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 161 KB

This report explains how the Council has maintained sound governance during the 2015/16 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 2015/16 to the Committee. The Statement explained how the Council had maintained sound governance during the 2015/16 financial year and how the Council met the requirements of the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015. 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 2015/16.

 

The meeting considered the contents of the Annual Governance Statement Action Plan and suggested that replacement of the word ‘value’ with ‘detection’ would be appropriate in the second paragraph commenting on action number 5 in the Plan concerning Corporate Debt Management/Credit Control. The meeting also recommended a change in emphasis for action number 6 concerning Use of Temporary Staff, through the re-ordering of paragraphs. This would allow the risks relating to loss of skills and knowledge to be given prominence alongside the costs aspects.

 

RESOLVED that

 

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

 

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

 

132.

Annual Assurance Statement and Internal Audit Annual report pdf icon PDF 460 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 2015/16, 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 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 2016/17.

 

The SIAS Audit Manager introduced this report and informed the Committee that, from internal audit work undertaken in 2015/16, an opinion of substantial assurance with financial systems had been formed. He added that the internal audit opinion of non-financial systems was one of substantial assurance. The work of the internal auditor had not identified any significant deviations from standards which warranted inclusion in the Council’s Annual Governance Statement. In response to a question the Director of Resources confirmed that there had been no matters arising which threatened the independence of the internal audit function. The Head of Assurance confirmed that there had been no inappropriate scope or resources limitations on the internal audit function during the year.

 

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 2015/16.

 

133.

Shared Internal Audit Service progress report pdf icon PDF 403 KB

This report provides information on progress made by SIAS in delivering the 2016/17 Internal Audit Plan, implementation status of high priority recommendations as at 17 June 2016, implementation status of previously agreed Audit recommendations and proposed 2016/17 audit start dates agreed with management.

 

Minutes:

The Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) submitted a report to the Committee detailing progress made by SIAS on: delivery of the Council’s 2016/17 Internal Audit Plan as at 17 June 2016; findings for the period 28 April 2016 to 17 June 2016; proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 17 June 2016.

 

Given the time that had elapsed between the date of the Committee report and the date of the meeting, the Audit Manager provided an update on the performance data contained within the report. The Committee noted that 22% of the 2016/17 Audit Plan days had now been delivered, up from the 19% in the Committee report.  

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/16/18) be noted and the amendments to the Audit Plan be approved.

 

134.

Risk Management progress and update report pdf icon PDF 158 KB

This report reviews and updates the strategic risks and proposes new and amended strategic risks. The Committee is asked to note the Annual Risk Management Report 2015/16.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had before them a report from the Risk Manager which reported on progress with the management of the Council’s strategic risks and submitted an annual report on risk and opportunities management at Hertsmere. The meeting noted that there had been no substantial changes to the Council’s strategic risks since the last meeting.

 

Members questioned whether the likelihood and impact of the Newberries Car Park development scheme was correct given that the financial consequences of failure were covered by the Council’s reserves.  Similarly the likelihood of a problem with the development plans for Elstree Studios were mitigated by a waiting list of prospective tenants. A member pointed out that greater information on each risk had been provided in the past and that restoring that more detailed level of information, including risk analysis, would be helpful. 

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       it be noted that no substantial changes had been made to the Council’s strategic risks since the last meeting on 9th May 2016,

 

(2)       the Annual Risk Management report 2015/16 be noted, and

 

(3)       the level of detail previously reported on each of the Council’s strategic risks be restored and this information be supplemented with details of the risk analysis.

 

135.

Any other business

Minutes:

None.

 

136.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 7 September 2016 at 7.30 p.m. in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

Minutes:

The next ordinary meeting of this Committee is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 7th September 2016 at 7.30 p.m. in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.