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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

503.

Membership

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

Minutes:

In the absence of the Chairman, Councillor Winters the Vice Chairman took the Chair.

 

504.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf Councillor Worster.

 

505.

Declarations of Interest

Members are required to declare any disc losable 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 disc losable 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 disc losable pecuniary interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

           

           

           

 

Minutes:

No Member had an interest to declare on the items of business on the agenda for the meeting.

 

506.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 40 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 27 September 2013.

 

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 27 September 2012 be approved and signed as a correct record.

 

507.

External Auditor Recommendations - planning update report pdf icon PDF 31 KB

This report advises Members of progress made with the implementation of recommendations in the Planning Services Review 2010/11.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment reported on progress with implementation of the agreed recommendations in a Planning Services review report produced by the Council’s external auditors. The Committee noted the current status of each of the 8 recommendations.

 

In reply to a question, the meeting noted that by May the new I.T. system would be substantially in place.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)          the information contained in the report of the Director of Environment be noted, and

 

(2)       a further report on progress with the implementation of the recommendations of the audit of the Planning Services be submitted to the 11 July 2013 meeting of this Committee.

 

508.

External Auditor's Recommendations - Officers update report pdf icon PDF 33 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 provided the Committee with an update on progress with the implementation of agreed recommendations made by the Council’s external auditors.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Head of Finance be noted.

 

509.

Annual Audit Letter 2011/12 pdf icon PDF 100 KB

The Annual Audit Letter from Grant Thornton advises the Council of key issues arising from work they have carried out at this Authority during 2011/12.

 

Minutes:

The Council’s external auditor, Grant Thornton, submitted their annual audit letter which summarised the key issues arising from the work they had carried out during 2011/12. The letter provided a brief overview of the key messages to the Council and other stakeholders.

 

The auditors had found that the Council’s 2011/12 accounts gave a true and fair view of the Council’s financial affairs and of the income and expenditure recorded by the Council. Also the Council had made proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources for the year ending 31 March 2012.

 

The Committee noted that the auditors had given an unqualified audit opinion ahead of the 27 September 2012 deadline.

 

RESOLVED that the information in the report of Grant Thornton, the Council’s external auditor, be noted.

 

510.

Certification Work 2011/12 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Grant Thornton, acting as agents of the Audit Commission, is required to certify the claims submitted by the Council to various Government Departments and other agencies. This report summaries the overall assessment of the Council’s management arrangements in respect of the certification process.

 

 

Minutes:

Grant Thornton, the Council’s external auditors acting as agents of the Audit Commission, was required to certify the grant claims submitted by the Council. For the financial year 2011/12, claims and returns amounting to £87.4m had been made. Grant Thornton had found that all claims had been submitted on time and that the Council was performing adequately in terms of the accuracy of claim forms.

 

Two significant findings had been made in respect of the National Non Domestic Rates return and the Certification of the housing benefit and council tax benefit subsidy return.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the information contained in the report of the Council’s external auditor, Grant Thornton, be noted and

 

(2)       the Council follow the proper processes for the award of empty property relief and hold documentation to support the relief awarded in every case.

 

511.

Planned Audit Fee for 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 98 KB

The letter from Grant Thornton sets out its proposed work programme and scale of fees for 2012/13.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received notification from Grant Thornton of the proposed work programme and scale of fees for 2012/13. The Council’s scale fee for 2012/13 was £64,921, compared to £108,202 for 2011/12, a reduction of 40%.

 

RESOLVED that the planned audit fee of £64,921 and proposed work programme for 2012/13 be noted.

 

512.

Risk Management pdf icon PDF 38 KB

This report will update the Committee on the Council’s risk management work. A copy of this report WILL FOLLOW.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources reported to the Committee with an update on the Council’s risk management arrangements. Over the past months a review of the Council’s risk management process had been carried out and the Council’s Management team had reviewed the strategic risk register. The Council’s insurers Zurich Municipal had also worked with the Council to identify strategic risks and the top strategic risks were detailed in the appendix to this report.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Director of Resources be noted.

 

513.

Internal Audit Progress Report (SIAS) pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Report A/13/03 provides information on progress made by SIAS in delivering the 2012/13 Internal Audit Plan; findings for the 14 September to 14 December period: proposed amendments to the approved Audit Plan; the implementation status of previously agreed Audit recommendations, and an update on performance management information as at 14 December 2012.

 

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 14 September to 14 December 2012; proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 14 December 2012.

 

The SIAS report listed the reports and assignments that had been completed. It was suggested that in future only those with an assurance level of moderate or worse should be reported, with an explanation of the findings.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/13/03) be noted.

514.

Anti-Fraud Report pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Report A/13/06 provides the Committee with information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Team in September to December 2012.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Investigating Officer reported to the Committee with information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud team in the period September to December 2012. It was noted that the temporary investigator had now left the post and that he team was now being asked to look into fraud in services areas other than benefits. The team had been involved in some large fraud cases which had resulted in appearances at the Crown Court, such work was time consuming and the number of general prosecutions had diminished as a result.

 

Overpayments of £422k had been identified, and currently there were 16 prosecutions in progress all of which had required additional officer time.

 

Following a question, the Head of Finance and Business Services undertook to determine whether or not the cost of employing a part time staff member would be outweighed by the likely amounts recovered.  

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the Investigations Officer (report A/13/06) be noted.

 

515.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 9 April 2013 at 7.30pm in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

Minutes:

Noted that the next meeting of this Committee will take place on Tuesday 9th April 2013.