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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

221.

Membership

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

Minutes:

The Vice Chairman reported that Councillor Morris had replaced Councillor Goldstein as a member of this Committee.

 

222.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Noted that an apology for absence had been submitted by Councillor Goldstein. Councillor A Sachdev was in the Chair.  

 

223.

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

 

224.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 13th July 2015.

 

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

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of this Committee held on 13 July 2015, be confirmed as a correct record.

225.

Shared Anti-Fraud Service pdf icon PDF 107 KB

This report provides the Committee with information on the performance of the Shared Anti -Fraud Service between April and September 2015.

 

Minutes:

The Shared Anti-Fraud Services submitted their first report to the Committee which provided information on: the progress made by the new Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) since its launch on 1st April 2015; progress on a proposed shared fraud strategy; a proposed county wide SAFS publicity campaign, and the proposed format of future reports.

 

The Business Plan for this service stated that district councils in Hertfordshire, and the County Council, were at significant risk of non-benefit fraud after anti-fraud staff had transferred to the Department for Work and Pensions.  The areas of risk identified were Council Tax Discount, Business Rates and Housing. In response a Shared Anti-Fraud Team across Hertfordshire Councils had been established to deliver a resilient anti-fraud function for all partners. 

 

The SAFS was developing an anti-fraud strategy which would be put to all partners to review and adopt. It was noted that this strategy wold be before this Committee in January 2016.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Anti-Fraud Service Progress Report be noted.

 

226.

External Auditors' Findings pdf icon PDF 489 KB

This report highlights the key matters arising from the audit of the financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2015. It is also used to report Grant Thornton’s audit findings to management and those charged with governance in accordance with the requirements of International Standard on Auditing 260 (ISA).

 

Minutes:

Mr Murray of Grant Thornton introduced a report on the key matters arising from the external audit of the Council’s 2014/15 financial statements. The meeting noted that based on a review of the Council’s arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources, Grant Thornton had given the Council an unqualified value for money conclusion. The external auditors had also given an unqualified opinion on the Council’s financial statements, and had found no control weaknesses. The auditor thanked the Finance Team for their assistance during the audit.

 

RESOLVED that the conclusions of the external Auditors in respect of the Council 2014/15 financial statements be noted.

 

227.

Presentation and Approval of Statement of Accounts for 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

This report submits the Council’s Statement of Accounts 2014/15 for approval by the Committee following completion of the external audit.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance Manager submitted for approval the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2014-15 following their endorsement by external audit. On 13 July 2015, this Committee had scrutinised and noted the draft Statement of Accounts before passing them to Grant Thornton for scrutiny.

 

Since the draft Statement of Accounts was presented in July, the primary statements had been amended to take into account a reduction in the provision for business rates appeals. This provision related to the potential cost of making repayments to business ratepayers who were successful in appealing against their rateable value. 

 

The Finance Manager made a presentation to the Committee in which he provided detail on the 2014/15 financial results and information on the balance sheet and reserves.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)   the Statement of Accounts 2014/15, as required by the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011, be approved, and

 

 (2)   the content of the Letter of Representation 2014/15 to be provided to the auditors, be noted.

 

228.

SIAS Annual report 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 901 KB

This report illustrates the work of the partnership during its third year of activity, highlights key areas of success in the year, describes the performance of the partnership during 2014/15 and looks ahead to the future developments that will continue to deliver the partners’ vision.

 

Minutes:

The Committee had before it the fourth annual report from the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) and noted that the Service had, in 2014/15, achieved both its key productivity measures.

 

The Committee were pleased to note the successful performance of this Partnership and noted that it demonstrated the benefits of partnership working.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service Annual report 2014/15 be noted.

 

229.

Internal Audit Progress report (SIAS) pdf icon PDF 246 KB

This report provides information on progress made by SIAS in delivering the 2015/16 Internal Audit Plan, findings for the period 1 April to 4 September 2015, 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 2015/16 Internal Audit Plan as at 4 September 2015; findings for the period 21 June 2015 to 4 September 2015; proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 4 September 2015.

 

The Committee noted that 40% of the Audit Plan had been delivered. The Director of Resources advised the meeting that particular efforts were being made to address the Corporate Debt Management issues mentioned in the report.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/15/25) be noted and the amendments to the Audit Plan be approved.

 

230.

Annual Audit and Certification Fees 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

In this report the Council’s external auditors, Ernst and Young, advise the Council of the annual audit and certification fess 2015/16.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources reported with information on the Annual Audit and Certification Fees for 2015/16 from Ernst & Young.

 

The Council’s current external auditors, Grant Thornton had been the Council’s auditors for many years but their contractual term was ending after completion of work on the Statement of Accounts 2014/15. Ernst & Young had been appointed as the Council’s new external auditors for 2015/16 and 2016/17. While early meetings had taken place with the new external auditors, they will become more involved following the closure of the 2014/15 accounts.

 

The Committee noted the fees the Council will be charged for Ernst & Young to undertake the year-end audit for 2015/16 and the Certification audit fee works. The total code audit fee for 2015/16 was £49,366. The 2015/16 audit plan will be issued by Ernst & Young early in 2016 and will provide a statement on any significant risks identified and the planned audit procedures to deal with those risks.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the Annual Audit and Certification fees for 2015/16, set out in the Ernst & Young letter attached to report A/15/26, be noted, and

 

(2)       the presentation of the audit plan for 2015/16 to the Committee in early 2016, be noted.

 

231.

Risk Management update pdf icon PDF 85 KB

This report reviews and updates the Strategic Risks facing this Authority.

 

Minutes:

The Committee had before them a report from the Risk Manager which reported on a review of the Council’s strategic risks. While changes had been made to the description and controls surrounding the Future Development Plans for Elstree Studios, no change was proposed to the assessment of that risk.

 

The Committee noted the present assessment of the Establishment of a Development Company risk and asked that further consideration be given to this grading at the next meeting.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)     the risk matrix as at 10 September be noted, and

 

(2)  the further consideration of the Establishment of a Development Company risk be undertaken at the next meeting of this Committee.

 

232.

Any other business

Minutes:

None.

 

233.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 11th January 2016 at 7.30pm in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

Minutes:

The next meeting of this Committee will take place on 11 January 2016 in the Civic Offices, Borehamwood.