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Agenda and minutes

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

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Items
No. Item

336.

Membership

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

Minutes:

No changes of membership had been made since the publication of the agenda.

 

337.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

The Chairman was sad to report that Councillor Ron Morris had passed away on 23 September, he was Vice Chairman of this Committee and had previously been Chairman of this committee.

 

 

338.

Declarations of Interest

Members must clearly state the nature of the interest, and indicate whether it is Personal or Personal and Prejudicial.  The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the Member concerned.

 

Personal interests: A personal interest arises in relation to any matter which might reasonably be regarded as affecting, to a greater extent than other Council Tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the authority’s area, the well‑being or financial position of the Member or of a relevant person.

 

Where that interest arises solely from membership of, or position of control or management on a body to which the Member has been appointed or nominated by the Council or another body exercising functions of a public nature then, provided they do not also have a prejudicial interest, Members need only declare a personal interest at a meeting when they address the meeting on that business.

 

Personal and Prejudicial interests: A Member has a personal and prejudicial interest in a matter if the interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the Member’s judgement of the public interest.  In these cases the Member concerned must declare the interest and withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.  Members with such interests may, however, attend the meeting for the purpose of making representations, answering questions or giving evidence relating to the business where the public have a similar right.

 

Further details and full definitions of personal and prejudicial interests are set out in the Councillors’ Code of Conduct (Section 5.1 of the Constitution).

Minutes:

No Member had an interest to declare in any of the items of business on the agenda.

 

 

339.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 14 June 2011.

 

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 14 June 2011 be approved and signed as a correct record.

 

340.

Presentation and Approval of Statement of Accounts for 2010/11 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

This report presents the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2010/11 for noting by the Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of Officers (A/11/23) introduced the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2010/11 for noting by this Committee. The Committee was reminded that new legislation asked that the Chief Financial Officer must, by 30 June following the year end, sign and date the Statement of Accounts and certify that they present a fair and true view of the Council’s financial position. Also the Statement of Accounts must be approved by Council following the external audit and no later than 30 September following the year end.

 

The Council’s Approval of Statement of Accounts Committee had, at their meeting on 11 July, approved the accounts for submission to the Council’s external auditors. This audit resulted in a number of minor adjustments being made and these had been incorporated in the final accounts, which were now before this Committee.

 

Members noted that in future the task of approving the accounts prior to audit and presentation to Council could fall to the Audit Committee, and agreed that a recommendation be made to Council to bring this about. If this change was approved by Council then the dates of future meeting of this Committee should be carefully considered to fit with the new responsibilities.

 

The Head of Finance and Business Services presented the accounts to the Committee and made particular mention of the change to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), pointing out key accounting changes in the treatment of  investment properties; property, plant and equipment; accrued employee costs and capital and revenue grants received. He went on to point out presentational changes to the statement in respect of: movements in reserves statement; comprehensive income and expenditure account; investment properties; reserves split between usable and unusable; increased disclosure in the notes to the accounts and group accounts.

 

The Committee noted that the external auditor had found that the Council’s working papers were excellent; the transition to IFRS had been well managed; no significant adjustments were necessary and were pleased that unqualified opinion would be given.

 

RESOLVED that (1) the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2010/11 be noted and submitted to Council for information, and (2) Council be recommended to discontinue the Approval of Statement of Accounts Committee and add its powers and duties to those of the Audit Committee.

 

341.

External Auditors' Annual Governance Report pdf icon PDF 239 KB

This report highlights the key issues arising from the Council’s financial statements for the year ending 31 March 2011.

 

Minutes:

Mr Westerman from Grant Thornton the Council’s external auditor, reported to the Committee on the key issues that had arisen from the Council’s financial statement for the year ended 31 March 2011. He pointed out that the transition to preparing accounts under IFRS was well managed by the Council and that the Council continued to produce good quality accounts which were reflected in the small number of adjustments made to the draft accounts. He anticipated providing an unqualified opinion on the Council’s financial statements.

 

On value for money Mr Westerman said that he was satisfied that, in all significant respects, the Council had put in place proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources for the year ending 31 March 2011.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the external auditor be noted.

 

342.

External Auditors' Recommendations - Officers' Update Report pdf icon PDF 24 KB

Report A/11/25 updates Members with progress made by Officers in implementing recommendations made by the Council’s external auditor.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered report of Officers (A/11/25) which provided an update on progress made with implementing agreed recommendations contained in reports by the Council’s external auditors.

 

Arising from the September 2007 Annual Governance report, the Committee noted that the Council would commence implementation of a fixed asset module in October 2011. The Chairman suggested that, once the module is installed, this matter be reported to a future meeting of the Asset management Panel.   

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Audit Manager be noted.

 

343.

Audit Committee Progress Report pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Report A/11/24 provides information on the Shared Internal Audit Service, recent findings, the Audit Plan, the implementation of previous audit recommendations and performance information.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report A/11/24 provided the Committee with (a) progress made by the Shared Internal Audit Service in delivering the Audit Plan; (b) audit findings for the period June to September 2011; (c) proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; (d) implementation status of previously agreed audit recommendations, and (e) a performance management update as at 15 September 2011.

 

The Chairman asked whether there was an increased risk of slippage if the audit plan was, as proposed, increased by 88 days. The Audit Manager acknowledged this risk but said that the revised Plan put more resources into risk areas. Also the risk involved would be managed and it was noted that help would be available from Price Waterhouse Coopers if need be.  

 

In answer to a further question from the Chairman, the Audit Manger said that officers would manage the implementation of the medium and low risk recommendation identified in audit reports. For the future the Committee asked that an annual report be made to them providing full information on the implementation of all audit recommendations. When a high priority audit recommendation was made, the Committee wanted it reported to their next meeting for information.

 

The Chairman pointed out that the Internal Audit report into Environmental Health administration revealed that, in a number of situations, action was commenced to provide a services before payment had been made. He urged officers to look into removing this financial risk by ensuring that work commenced only after full payment had been received. It was suggested that payment in cash not be accepted as it could support the informal economy and involve handling costs for Hertsmere. The Director of Resources undertook to look into these ideas and inform the Chairman on the outcome.

 

RESOLVED that (1) the information contained in Internal Audit report A/11/24 be noted; (2) the amendments to the Audit Plan, as detailed in the report of Internal Audit A/11/24, be approved; (3) Officers make an annual report to the Committee listing all the recommendations made by Internal Audit reports, along with information on their implementation; (4) any internal audit report making a high priority recommendation be submitted to the next Audit Committee meeting for information, and (4) the Chairman be informed of any action taken to secure payment before action is commenced to provide a service.

 

 

   

344.

Anti Fraud Report pdf icon PDF 22 KB

This report provides Members with information on the progress with anti fraud work.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance Manager reported with information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Team during the period April to August 2011. The Committee noted that the Anti Fraud Manager post was currently vacant and that a report on future arrangements would be made to the next Committee. The two remaining fraud staff were on target to identify the target number of fraudulent claims and the target for overpayment.

 

The Committee noted that a recent case had resulted in a 2 n 18 month community order being handed down and that publicity would be given to this sentence as a deterrent.

 

The Chairman suggested that the efforts of Anti Fraud Staff be focused on those cases were the Council would not suffer a reduction of income due to Department of Work and Pensions rules.

 

RESOLVED that (1) the performance of the Anti-Fraud Team between April and August 2011 be noted, and (2) the presentation of information on the work of the Anti-Fraud team be updated to make it more understandable.

 

345.

International Financial reporting Standards: the effect on the valuation of the Council's properties pdf icon PDF 39 KB

This report advises the Committee of work undertaken to classify and value the Council’s properties in accordance with International Finance Reporting Standards.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Finance reported (A/11/28) on work undertaken to classify and value the Council’s properties in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards. The meeting noted that componentisation was a significant change brought in by the new Standards but it only applied to assets of significant value, and that in Hertsmere these were the four leisure centres.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in report A/11/28 be noted.

 

346.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 4 January 2012 at 7.30 p.m. in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

Minutes:

Noted that the next meeting of this Committee would be held on Wednesday, 4 January 2012 and would be preceded by internal audit training.