Home > Your Council > Agenda and minutes





Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Allan Siao Ming Witherick  020 8207 7806

Items
No. Item

33.

Membership

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

 

Minutes:

There had been no changes in membership of the Committee.

34.

Communications and Apologies

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

(b)  Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

All Members were present.

35.

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

36.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 18 January 2018 (attached) and 23 May 2018 (to follow).

 

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

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2018 and 23 May 2018 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

37.

External Audit Plan Progress Report 2017/18 - Ernst & Young, External Auditors pdf icon PDF 585 KB

The purpose of this report is to provide the Audit Committee with an overview of the stage reached in the Ernst & Young 2017/18 audit and ensure it is aligned with the Committee’s service expectations.

Minutes:

The External Audit Manager, Ernst & Young, reported on their progress against the 2017/18 Audit.

 

They noted that changes under the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 had resulted in the accounts being closed a month earlier and the timescale for the External Audit report brought forward by two months.  Although this had inherent risks a programme of activity had allowed a significant proportion of the work to have been completed in advance.

 

The only area of significance was the material changes in the valuation of Bushey Golf and Country Club and Elstree Film Studios.  The valuation of the Bushey Gold and Country Club was being reviewed by the Ernst & Young Internal Valuer due to its specialist nature.

 

Finally they reported that the dates for site visits had been set and they were currently on target to hit the July Audit Committee as planned.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the 2017/18 Audit Progress Report from Ernst and Young be noted.

38.

Annual Audit and Certification Fees 2018/19 - Ernst & Young, External Auditors pdf icon PDF 298 KB

This report summarises the overall assessment by Ernst and Young of the Council’s management arrangements for the certification process and the fees set as a result.

Minutes:

The External Audit Manager, Ernst & Young, reported on the Annual Audit and Certification Fees letter for 2018/19.

 

As part of the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA) scheme, set up after the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, it had been agreed that Ernst & Young would be the appointed External Auditor for Hertsmere Borough Council for the five year period of 2018/19 to 2022/23.

 

They noted that the indicative fees had been reduced by over 20% from 2017/18 and this reflects the risk-based approach to audit planning set out in the National Audit Office’s Code of Audit Practice and would cover:

  • Audit of the financial statements.
  • Value for money conclusion.
  • Whole of Government accounts.

 

This was based partly on there being no significant changes year on year and the level of controls and assurances already in place.

 

The Committee noted the indicative fee the Council would be charged for Ernst & Young to undertake the year-end audit for 2018/19 of £38,012 and the planned audit fee for 2017/18 of £49,366.

 

The planned fee for 2017/18 for the certification of housing benefit subsidy claim was noted to be £24,170 however there had been some extended testing necessary this year, which would incur additional cost.  For 2018/19 these certification works no longer fall under the PSAA scheme however the Council had separately appointed Ernst & Young to undertake these works for the same five year period as their PSAA appointment. The planned fee for these certification works for 2018/19 was noted as £13,284.

 

It was also noted that the Council group accounts would incur an additional fee.

 

The 2018/19 Audit Plan would be issued by Ernst & Young early in 2019 and would 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 2017/18 and 2018/19, set out in the Ernst & Young letter, report A/18/09, be noted.

 

2)    the presentation of the Audit Plan for 2018/19 to the Committee in January 2019, be noted.

[During the following item Councillor P Hodgson-Jones arrived.]

39.

Annual Assurance Statement 2017/18 and Internal Audit Annual Report - Shared Internal Audit Services (SIAS) pdf icon PDF 305 KB

This report provides the Committee with:

·         Details the Shared Internal Audit Service’s (SIAS) overall opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of Hertsmere Borough Council’s (the Council) control environment. Reference is made to significant matters and key themes.

·         Summarises the audit work that informs this opinion.

·         Shows the outcomes of the self-assessment against the Public Sector Internal Audit standards (PSIAS) incorporating the requirements of the Quality assurance and Improvement Programme (QAIP).

·         Shows SIAS’s performance in respect of delivering the Council’s audit plan.

·         Presents the 2018/19 Audit Charter.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had a report before them which detailed the Shared Internal Audit Service’s (SIAS) overall opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of Hertsmere Borough Council’s control environment. It also set out the outcome of the self-assessment against the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS) which incorporated the requirements of the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme (QAIP). The report went on to summarise the audit work that informed that opinion, and showed SIAS’s performance in respect of delivering the Council’s Audit Plan. Finally it presented the 2018/19 Audit Charter.

 

The SIAS Audit Manager reported that they were able to provide Substantial Assurance for Financial Systems and Moderate Assurance for Non-Financial Systems.  This was due to a few areas of weakness having been identified but it was not thought to be a direction of travel.

 

Only limited assurance opinion was given on the General Data Protection Regulations audit, although it was recognised that there had been progress subsequent to the report to address this.  Seven of the fourteen non-financial systems reviewed had been given moderate assurance audits.

 

In terms of the SIAS targets although not all were achieved the outcomes were considered to be positive given the restructure of the service.  The amount which had been achieved was more than sufficient to support the Annual Assurance opinion.

 

During discussion of this item, the Corporate Director gave formal notice that the scope and resources given to SIAS had not been subject to inappropriate limitations in 2017/18.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)    The Annual Assurance Statement and Internal Audit Annual Report be noted.

 

2)    The results of the self-assessment required by the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS) and the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme (QAIP) be noted.

 

3)    The SIAS Audit Charter for 2018/19 subject to the minor changes including the addition “and ultimately provides assurance to the public” in 1.1 as a key stakeholder and at 8.2 the sentence “The Audit Committee may also ensure that there is appropriate communication of, and liaison with internal audit matters as required from the wider publicly elected Member body.” be accepted.

 

4)    The assurances provided by the Corporate Director that the scope and resources for Internal Audit were not subject to inappropriate limitations in 2017/18 be accepted.

40.

Annual Governance Statement 2017/18 - Shared Internal Audit Services (SIAS) pdf icon PDF 82 KB

This report explains how the Council has maintained sound governance during the 2017/18 financial year, how it meets various legislative requirements and identifies any significant governance issues.

·         HBC Annual Governance Statement 2017-18 - Covering Report

·         Appendix 1-HBC Draft Annual Governance Statement 2017-18

·         Appendix 1A-HBC Draft Annual Governance Statement 2017-18 Action Plan

·         Appendix 2-HBC Local Code of Governance update May 2018

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director introduced the Annual Governance Statement for 2017/18 to the Committee. The Statement explained how the Council had maintained sound governance during the 2017/18 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 to be considered later in the meeting, and that these documents provided information on the Council’s general performance in 2017/18.

 

The Corporate Director highlighted that assurance had been provided with actions at several different levels through continuous monitoring, for example through Performance Management Boards and Heads of Service signing Management Assurance Statements.

 

The Annual Governance Statement process had identified six issues for inclusion in the 2017/18 Action Plan.  This was composed of the four significant governance issues included in the 2016/17 Annual Governance Statement Action Plan:

a) Cyber Security

b) Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity and Resilience

c) General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

d) Newberries Car Park Development

With the addition of two new areas in recognition of the pressures facing the Borough.

e) Homelessness and Temporary Accommodation

f) Workforce Capacity, Succession Planning and Use of Temporary Staff

It was recognised that the first three issues were interlinked and that after an external review had led to a cloud strategy for backup which would help improve resilience.  Good progress had also been made on GDPR.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

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

 

2)    the Action Plan associated with the Annual Governance Statement be noted.

 

3)    subject to any changes required prior to their signing, the Annual Governance Statement be included in the Statement of Accounts 2017/18.

41.

Internal Audit Plan Report 2018/19 - Shared Internal Audit Services (SIAS) pdf icon PDF 179 KB

This report provides the Committee with details of the proposed Hertsmere Borough Council Internal Audit Plan for 2018/19.

Minutes:

The Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) submitted a report which detailed the proposed Hertsmere Borough Council Internal Audit Plan for 2018/19. This Plan set out the programme of audit work for the year ahead and formed part of the Council’s assurance framework. In presenting the report, the SIAS Audit Manager highlighted that in line with other partners there had been a 10% reduction in the number of days allocated.  This had been achieved through reducing contingency and reductions across the Audit Plan as a whole.  The number of days allocated remained at the upper end for a district and borough council and this was in line with previous agreements.

 

It was noted that the Internal Audit Plan for 2018/19 had already been given preliminary provisional approval by Officers so that delivery could begin due to the timing of the Audit Committee meetings.

 

Members queried the methodology used for the measurement of Client Satisfaction performance objective and were informed that this was based on the results of customer satisfaction surveys issued with final audit reports, with the SIAS Audit Manager actively investigating any areas which performed below average.

 

RESOLVED that the Hertsmere Borough Council Internal Audit Plan for 2018/19 be approved.

42.

Progress Report - Shared Internal Audit Services (SIAS) pdf icon PDF 184 KB

This report provides the Committee with:

a)    the progress made by the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) in delivering the Council’s 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan as at 18 May 2018,

b)    changes to the 2018/19 Audit Plan,

c)    the implementation status of previously agreed audit recommendations, and

d)    an update on performance management information as at 18 May 2018.

Minutes:

The Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) submitted a report to the Committee detailing progress made by SIAS on: delivery of the Council’s 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan as at 18 May 2018; findings for the period 1 April 2017 to 12 May 2017; proposed amendments to the 2018/19 Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 18 May 2018.

 

The SIAS Audit Manager gave a verbal update that 47 days (13% of the days) had been completed and that this had been a busy period with the issue of a large number of final audit reports to inform the Annual Assurance Statement.

 

Attention was drawn to the High Priority recommendations contained in Appendix B.  This included new recommendations linked to the work on the General Data Protection Regulation.  It was noted that the medium priority areas covered in Appendix C were not yet implemented and still ongoing.

 

Finally they informed the Committee that in Appendix E the assurance and priority levels had been revised.  For the top Assurance Level this had been changed from “Full” to “Good” to better reflect the classification.  A new recommendation Priority Level of concern, “Corporate: Critical” had also been created in recognition of the fact that although most reviews were undertaken at a service level some issues which might be identified could represent a wider corporate level concern.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/18/13) be noted and the amendments to the Audit Plan be approved.

43.

Presentation of the 2017/18 Draft Accounts pdf icon PDF 116 KB

This report presents the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2017/18 for recommendation to external audit.

 

Appendix 1 [Draft Statement of Accounts 2017/18] will follow. Due to the substantial size of this appendix, it will be circulated electronically. Would any Councillor who wants a hard copy of this appendix, please let the Democratic Services Manager know.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had before it a report presenting the Council’s draft Statement of Accounts for 2017/18 for noting before it is signed off for submission to external audit.  According to The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015, amended by Statutory Instrument 234, the Chief Financial Officer must, by the 31 May following the year end, sign and date the Statement of Accounts and confirm that they present a true and fair view of the financial position as at 31 March and for the year then ended, this was a month earlier than previous years.  The statutory period for public inspection had also been increase from 20 to 30 working days which must include the first 10 working days in July.  The public inspection dates were set as the 1 June to the 12 July 2018.

 

The fully audited accounts would then return to the 30 July 2018 meeting of the Committee to be approved and the Chair of the Audit Committee would be asked to sign them off.

 

The Interim Financial Services Manager provided a detailed presentation on the Council’s finances and in particular highlighted changes since the Year-end Financial Monitoring Report which had been presented to the Operations Review Committee on the 30 April 2018.  This included the most recent allocation of year end funds.

 

During debate the Committee asked for clarification on the accounting for the Revenue Support Grant and were informed that this was part of the General Fund Grant but was due to be phased out by 2019/20.

 

Members were informed by officers that the Council had financial processes in place which were active throughout the year to allow the accounts to be finalised properly and promptly.  The Corporate Director had been provided regular updates to give them confidence in the year end processes and were able to recommend submission for external audit.

 

RESOLVED that the draft Statement of Accounts for 2017/18 be noted and their submission to external audit be approved.

44.

Risk Management Progress Update pdf icon PDF 113 KB

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

This includes the Risk & Opportunities Management Strategy

2018 – 2021 as Appendix B.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report reviewing and updating the strategic risks facing the authority.  Attention was drawn to a number of changes which had been made in particular the grouping of a number of similar risks to form “Asset Development [SO29]”.

 

Compliance with the revised Planning Legislation [SO14] had been reviewed and reduced following the restructure of the Planning Team.  However the Workforce Capacity [SO14] risk had increased due to difficulties recruiting.

 

A Member raised a query over the lack of a Review Date in the new collated concern Asset Development [SO29].  Officers responded that due to its nature it would be reviewed on a regular basis as part of the risk management process but it would not have a specific completion or end date.

 

RESOLVED the current strategic risks be noted and in particular the following amendments and additions as detailed in the report:

 

1)    The increase in the assessment of “Workforce Capacity [SO14]” (increase in impact).

 

2)    The withdrawal of the “Newberries car park development scheme [SO22]; “Establishment of a Development Company [SO20]” and “Future Development Plans for Elstree Studios [SO18]”.

 

3)    The new risk of “Asset Development [SO29]” (to encompass those listed above).

 

4)    The reduction in the assessment of “Compliance with revised planning legislation [SO21]” (reduction in likelihood).

 

5)    The committee notes the updates made to the Risk & Opportunities Management Strategy following the annual review.

45.

Date of Future Meetings

Future meetings are scheduled to take place at 7.30pm at the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, as follows:

·         30 July 2018

·         25 October 2018

·         30 January 2019

·         30 may 2019

·         30 July 2019

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 30 July 2018 at 7.30pm.