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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

184.

Membership

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

Minutes:

There were no changes to the membership of this Committee.

 

185.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for her inability to attend the meeting was submitted on behalf of the Head of Planning and Building Control, Ms Polly Harris Gorf.

 

186.

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 relation to the items of business on the agenda for the meeting.

 

187.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 8 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 10 April and 16 May 2012.

 

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2012 be approved and confirmed as a correct record.

 

188.

Presentation of the 2011/12 Statement of Accounts pdf icon PDF 376 KB

This report presents the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2011/12 for recommendation for external audit.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources sought the permission of the Committee to submit the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2011/12 for external audit. The Head of Finance and Business Services then made a presentation to the Committee and particularly drew attention to; the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2011; the annual accounts process and timetable; International Financial Reporting Standards; financial results 2011/12; balance sheet and reserves; the next steps, and the Annual Governance Statement.

 

The Committee thanked the Head for his presentation and for his work and asked that their appreciation of the work of his staff be passed on to them. The Chairman said the Council’s cash flow statement was very positive and that the liquidity of the Council had been improved over the past twelve months. In conclusion he said this outcome was commendable given the circumstances in which the Authority operated.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1) the Committee notes the Statement of Accounts 2011/12, as set out in Appendix I to report A/12/21, and agrees its submission for external audit.

 

(2) the Committee delegates authority to the Chief Finance Officer, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Finance and Property Portfolio Holder, to make any appropriate minor changes to the Statement of Accounts prior to its approval by the external auditors.

 

189.

Accounts Audit Approach Memorandum pdf icon PDF 222 KB

This report aims to provide additional detail regarding the audit approach of the Council’s external auditors, as well as a response to key risks arising from interim audit work.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received a memorandum from Grant Thornton, the Council’s external auditors, which provided information on their audit approach and detail of key risks from their interim audit work. The Committee noted that a review by the auditor’s IT specialist had not identified any weaknesses that could impact on the Council’s financial statements. The auditor’s had identified control improvements which, if implemented, would strengthen the control environment. The areas concerned were; account security setting, review of user accounts, privilege management access to network, temporary staff access, information security policy, IT risk management, remote access, and generic privileged account.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the memorandum from Grant Thornton be noted.

 

190.

Shared Internal Audit Service - Annual report pdf icon PDF 351 KB

Report A/12/27 highlights areas of success and describes the performance of the Partnership during 2011/12. It then looks ahead to the development of the Partnership in the future.

 

Minutes:

The Audit Manager introduced the 2011/12 Annual Report from the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS). He reminded the Committee that SIAS provided audit services to six Hertfordshire authorities.

 

The report pointed out that the SIAS business model had contributed efficiency savings in the order of £300k for its partnership organisations. Also the risk based approach had delivered high quality value added assurance work with less resource. While the number of actual audit days delivered as a percentage of planned days was 88% for all partnership authorities, it was 96% for Hertsmere.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Services Annual report be noted.

 

191.

Shared Internal Audit Service - Annual Assurance Statement and Internal Audit Annual report pdf icon PDF 228 KB

This report provides internal audit’s overall opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment. It also summaries the performance of the internal audit service.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) which detailed their overall opinion of the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment. The report went on to summarise the audit work from which the opinion was derived and the performance of the internal audit service.

 

From the internal audit work undertaken in 2011/12, it was the opinion of SIAS that there was moderate assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment. This assurance was broken down between financial systems, on which there was substantial assurance, and non- financial system, on which there was moderate assurance. In the opinion of SIAS the Council’s corporate governance and risk management framework substantially complied with CIPFA best practice guidelines.  

 

RESOLVED that the Annual Assurance Statement and Internal Audit Annual report be noted.

 

192.

Shared Internal Audit Service - progress report pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Report A/12/19 provides information on progress made by SIAS in delivering the 2012/13 Internal Audit Plan; findings for the 28 March to 5 July 2012 period; 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 Audit Plan; findings for the period 28 March to 5 July 2012; proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 5 July 2012.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/12/19) be noted.

 

193.

Annual Governance Statement pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Report A/12/25 explains how the Council has maintained sound governance during the 2011/12 financial year and how it meets various legislative requirements.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Audit Manager submitted the Draft Annual Governance Statement for 2011/12 to the Committee. He drew the Committee’s attention to the significant governance issues that had been identified during the year, and these were set out in an appendix to the report. The Audit Manager went on to remind Members that the Statement would be considered by the Executive, where amendments may be made, before being signed off by the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council. The Audit Manager

 

 

RESOLVED that the draft Annual Governance Statement for 2011/12 be approved for submission to the Executive.

 

194.

Risk Management update pdf icon PDF 91 KB

This report advised the Committee of progress made with risk management arrangements at Hertsmere following a recent internal audit report.

 

Minutes:

Following a request from the Committee, the Director of Resources submitted a report which detailed the risk management arrangements at Hertsmere. A recent internal audit of risk management arrangement had returned a ‘moderate’ assurance and the Director had sought support from Stevenage Borough Council to help develop and improve risk management processes at Hertsmere. Stevenage had agreed to provide temporary support from their Performance and Improvement Manager who would report on the current strengths and weaknesses of risk management arrangements at Hertsmere, along with recommendations for improvements. The Committee noted that an improvement report would be made to their September meeting.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Director of Resources (A/12/24) be noted.

 

195.

External Auditor's recommendations - Officers' Update report - Planning Services pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report A/12/26 provides the Committee with an update on progress made on implementing the recommendations agreed in the Planning Services Review.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment reported to the Committee on progress made with implementing the recommendations made by the Council’s external auditors following their review of the planning service.

 

The meeting noted that the replacement of the planning IT system had been approved and the bids received were currently being evaluated. The Director said that implementation of the audit recommendations was now progressing well and all would be addressed by the end of the year.

 

The Committee asked that the Director report progress to their January 2013 meeting.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Director of Environment (A/12/26) be noted and a further progress report be submitted to the Committee’s January 2013 meeting.

 

196.

External Auditors' recommendations - Officers' Update report pdf icon PDF 81 KB

This report advises Members of progress made with the implementation of recommendations made by the Council’s external auditors.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance reported with an update on progress made with the implementation of agreed recommendations in reports produced by the Council’s External Auditors.

 

The Chairman reminded the Committee of advice from the Council’s external auditor’s given at the last meeting; that the use of a spread-sheet as a fixed asset register was acceptable. He asked that the recommendation on this topic be removed from future reports.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Head of Finance (Report A/12/20) be noted.

 

197.

The Anti-Fraud Unit - 2012/13 Progress report pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report A/12/22 provides the Committee with information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Team between April to June 2012.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance reported with a summary of the Anti-Fraud Team’s performance in the period April 2012 to June 2012. The target for the number of cases referred had not been met because of delays by DWP in releasing matches. Also targets for the number of cases investigated and the number of sanctions issued had not been met because officers had been redirected to carry out two internal investigations. All other 2012/13 targets had been met.

 

The Chairman asked that an explanation of how unallocated cases are allocated a risk rating be made to the next meeting. He also asked that information on carried forward amounts be included in future reports on the Team’s performance.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Head of Finance (Report A/12/22) be noted.

 

 

198.

Any other business

Minutes:

None.

 

199.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 27 September 2012 at 7.30pm in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

Minutes:

Noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 27 September 2012.