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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Allan Siao Ming Witherick  020 8207 7806

No. Item



To receive details of any change in Membership of this Committee notified since the agenda was printed.


Councillor Turner substituted for Councillor Barker.


Communications and Apologies for Absence

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

(b) Apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Barker.


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.




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.




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.




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




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.




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.



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


Minutes pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 30 July 2018.


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


The minutes of the meeting held on 30 July 2018 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

[At 7.38pm during the next item Councillors RZ Butler and P Hodgson-Jones joined the meeting.]


Anti-Fraud Annual Report 2017/18 - Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report covering the work of the Council and the Shared Anti-Fraud Service in delivering the Anti-Fraud Plan 2018/19.


Report A/18/24 provided the Committee with details of anti-fraud performance against the Council’s Anti-Fraud Plan 2018/19. 


The Committee queried whether some of the measurements could prove contradictory.  Work to publicise successful savings from detecting fraud and introducing countermeasures was designed to act as a deterrent.  A separate measure covered fraud detected and prevented would become more challenging with an overall reduction fraud.  The Committee felt that this therefore represented a crude set of targets to measure a mature service.  Officers stated that the targets were being reviewed to ensure their relevance as currently the level of fraud detected and prevented was used to demonstrate value for money of the service and ensure a clear, deliverable target.


RESOLVED that the work of the Shared Anti-Fraud Service in delivering the  Anti-Fraud Plan 2017/18 be noted.


Progress Report - Shared Internal Audit Services (SIAS) pdf icon PDF 448 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report provides:

a)    the progress made by the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) in delivering the Council’s 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan as at 12 October 2018,

b)    changes to the 2018/19 Audit Plan,

c)    the implementation status of previously agreed audit recommendations,

d)    an update on performance management information as at 12 October 2018.


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 12 October 2018; proposed amendments to the 2018/19 Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 12 October 2018.


The attention of the Committee was drawn to the CCTV report which, as a joint service, would be monitored through Stevenage Borough Council Audit Committee as the hosting council and the CCTV Joint Executive Committee.  The Committee queried the number of high priority recommendations that had been made.  Officers responded that although the concerns were significant the CCTV partnership was functional and the issues were not considered critical as they did not impact on the workings of the authority as a whole.  The Committee were keen that the governance and accountability recommendations should be owned by the Council.


The Committee considered the recommended changes to the Audit Plan including the inclusion of audits in to Debt Recovery services.  Concern was raised with the audits which had been cancelled and Officers reassured the Committee that these would be retained on the list of future potential audits.


RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/18/25) be noted and the amendments to the Audit Plan be approved.


Annual Audit Letter Year Ended 31 March 2017/18 (EY) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider the ATTACHED report detailing results and conclusions of the audit procedures for the year ended 31st March 2018 by the external auditors, Ernst & Young.


The External Auditor presented the Annual Audit Letter for the year ended 31 March 2018.  The majority of the information had been seen by the committee previously as part of the reporting of the financial statements audit.  The overall result was positive with an unqualified audit opinion and no further statutory reporting needing to be undertaken.

They highlighted that the fees reported showed the Planned Fee, and the increase to cover work on the consolidated group accounts and the specialist professional valuation of the Bushey Golf & Country Club.  These increases would now be sent to the PSAA (Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd) as the regulator to be approved for invoicing.


The Committee queried why the group accounts did not form part of the Planned Fee.  Officers responded that when the original contract was awarded the fee for the group accounts audit had not been included but would be incorporated during the next tender process.


Clarification was sought as to the process which would be used for the pension valuation as the value had been revised during 2017/18 and led to increased costs.  The External Auditor noted that the overall basis had not changed and whilst it was recognised that the valuation would always be an estimate, the two numbers had been materially different.  The Committee formally requested a clear statement from the External Auditors for the process to be applied going forward.


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


Local Government Audit Committee briefing (EY) pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To receive the ATTACHED briefing paper produced by Ernst & Young for Local Government Audit Committees.


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.


The External Auditor drew the Committees attention to the impact of the retail slow down on authorities which had invested in commercial space and the consultation on a CIPFA Resilience Index.


The Committee saw the value of a Resilience tool, but recognised the difficulty and limitations any such measure might suffer.  They felt that the Council had moved away from reliance on the central funding provided by the Revenue Support Grant and had in the past reviewed operational resilience with staffing being a key aspect of this.

Officers supported this position and that service delivery was more important than pure financial resilience with reserves invested wisely.


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


Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Prudential Indicators Mid-Year Review Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 173 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report on the Treasury Management mid-year review 2018/19, attached at Appendix 1, for recommendation to Council for information.

Additional documents:


Officers presented the report on the Treasury Management mid-year review 2018-19 (Appendix 1) for review and scrutiny by the Committee.


The Committee were pleased that there had been an increase in investment income, however they noted that the full year forecast was lower than this would have indicated.  Officers responded that this was a prudent forecast and that the first half investment returns had benefitted from higher cash flow levels than originally anticipated.


RESOLVED that the Audit Committee, as the Council’s nominated body, recommend to Council for noting the Treasury Management mid-year review 2018/19 attached at Appendix 1.


Note: This will be presented to Full Council with the annual Treasury Management Strategy in February.


Risk Management Progress Update pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To consider the report marked to FOLLOW which reviews and updates the Strategic Risks facing this Authority.

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report reviewing and updating the strategic risks facing the authority.  This included two appendices which were dispatched after the production of the agenda.


The Committee queried the reduction in likelihood of the risk of “Data Protection & Information Management” [SO11].  They were mindful of the recent data breaches reported in the press and the fines being imposed.  Officers clarified that the reduced likelihood represented the improvements and safe guards which had been put in place through internal systems and training.

The external risks with regards to data loss through hacking were encompassed in “Cyber risks” [SO23] which retained a higher likelihood but slightly lower impact.  It was agreed that the two risks would be kept under review.


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

1)    The new risk of “Travellers Encampments” [SO31].

2)    The reduction in likelihood of the risk of “Data Protection & Information Management” [SO11].

3)    That the “Newberries Car Park” [SO22] risk has been reinstated by the Corporate Governance Group.


Dates of Future Meetings

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

·         30 January 2019

·         30 May 2019

·         30 July 2019


The next meeting was scheduled for 30 January 2019 at 7.30pm.


Any Other Non-Confidential Business Which the Chair Considers Urgent

In accordance with S100b(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, amended by the Access to Information Act of 1985, no urgent business may be raised unless it has been approved by the Chair.  The item and reason for urgency must be announced at the start of the meeting.


There was none.