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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

211.

Membership

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

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that, since the last meeting of this Committee, Councillor Ash, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, had resigned as a Councillor of Hertsmere Borough Council. The Committee therefore had a vacancy among its membership and currently lacked a Vice Chairman.

212.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

The meeting noted that the Corporate Director, Ms Sajida Bijle, had submitted apologies as she was unable to attend the meeting. Also the Committee noted apologies from the Council’s external auditors for their absence.

213.

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.

214.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 31st July 2017.

 

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 held on 31 July 2017 be confirmed as a correct record.

215.

Annual Audit letter pdf icon PDF 2 MB

The Council’s external auditors, Ernst & Young, have advised Hertsmere of the results and conclusions of their audit procedures for the year ended 31st March 2017. This report provides the detail of their findings.

 

 

Minutes:

In the absence of the External Auditor, the Head of Finance and Business Services introduced the Annual Audit Letter that had been prepared by Ernst and Young, the Council’s external auditors.

 

The Committee was pleased to note that, after completion of audit procedures for the year ended 31 March 2017, Ernst & Young had found that Hertsmere’s financial statements gave a true and fair view of the financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2017. They had also concluded that Hertsmere had in place proper arrangements to secure value for money in the use of resources.

 

The meeting noted that the audit of the Council’s 2016-17 accounts had been one of the most successful in Hertsmere’s history.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Annual Audit Letter from Ernst & Young, the Council’s external auditors, was noted.

216.

Local Government Audit Committee briefing pdf icon PDF 706 KB

Attached for the information of the Committee is the latest briefing paper produced by Ernst & Young for Local Government Audit Committees.

 

 

Minutes:

The Committee received a briefing booklet from Ernst and Young entitled ‘Local Government Audit Committee briefing’. This booklet was intended to support Audit Committees in their work and reported on technical issues as well as wider matters of potential interest to Audit Committee Members.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the briefing report be noted.

217.

Shared Internal Audit Services - progress report pdf icon PDF 503 KB

This report provides the Committee with (a) the progress made by the Shared Internal Audit Service in delivering the Council’s 2017/18 Internal Audit Plan as at 8th September 2017, (b) the findings for the period 15th July 2017 to 8th September 2017, (c) the proposed amendments required to the approved 2017/18 Audit Plan, (d) the implementation status of previously agreed audit recommendations, and (e) an update on performance management information as at 14th September 2017.

 

Also attached is the first Shared learning paper.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) submitted a report to the Committee detailing progress made by SIAS on: delivery of the Council’s 2017/18 Internal Audit Plan as at 8 September 2017; findings for the period 15 July 2017 to 8 September 2017; proposed amendments to the 2017/18 Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 14 September 2017.

 

The Committee was informed that, as of today, 29% of the 2017/18 Audit Plan days had now been delivered.  

 

The attention of the Committee was drawn to the large volume of information presented to each meeting of this Committee on the implementation status of high priority recommendations. It was suggested that it was not necessary for the Committee to receive the full history of each recommendation at every meeting. Members agreed that less information could be provided and suggested that future reports be specific about the next management action and its implementation date. It was also requested that a list of missed implementation dates be included. The Internal Auditor suggested that the next progress report be submitted to the Committee in the new format, with Members being invited to offer their view on its suitability.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/17/28) be noted and the amendments to the Audit Plan be approved, and

                              

(2)       the format of the progress report be varied with the next meeting of this Committee being asked to decide on the suitability of the new report.

218.

Housing Benefit (subsidy) Assurance Progress for 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

This report explains the revised arrangements for the appointment of an independent accountant to conduct specific testing requirements for the housing benefit assurance process from 2018/19.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report A/17/30 explained the revised arrangements for the appointment of an independent accountant to conduct specific testing requirements for the Housing Benefit (Subsidy) assurance process from 2018/19 onwards. It was recommended that a report be submitted to Full Council seeking approval of an exception to the contract procedure rules to allow a five year contract to be awarded as set out in Appendix A of the report

 

The meeting noted that it was proposed that Ernst & Young be recommended to Council as the independent account.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the Council be recommended to award a contract to Ernst and Young LLP for the Housing Benefit Subsidy Assurance Process for five years from 2018/2019 and that the Audit Committee recommends the attached draft report (Appendix A) is presented to Full Council for approval, and

 

(2)       Appendix A to Report A/17/30 be approved as the report to Council to secure the appointment of an independent accountant to conduct specific testing requirements for the Housing Benefits (Subsidy) assurance process from 2018/19 onwards.

219.

Risk Management Progress report pdf icon PDF 148 KB

The report reviews and updates the Strategic Risks.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received information on a review of Hertsmere’s strategic risks and noted a proposal to reduce the impact of the “Newberries Car Park development Scheme”.

 

The Committee noted that the next review date of the “Introduction of changes in the Housing and Planning Act” would be added.

 

RESOLVED that the Council’s current strategic risks be noted, in particular the reduction in the impact of the “Newberries Car Park Development Scheme”.

220.

Any other business

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded the Committee that Councillor Ash, appointed as Vice Chairman for the 2017/18 Municipal Year, had resigned as a councillor. He invited nominations from persons wishing to serve as Vice Chairman of this Committee and it was

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Paul Hodgson-Jones be appointed Vice Chairman of the Audit Committee for the remainder of the 2017/18 Municipal year.

221.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 18th January 2018 at 7.30 p.m. in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of this Committee was scheduled to take place on 18 January 2018 at 7.30 p.m. in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.