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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

19.

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 the Committee.

 

20.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Keates and Kieran to their first meeting of this Committee. He then explained that the Anti-Fraud progress report would be taken after the Statement of Accounts presentation at agenda item 5.

 

There were no apologies for absence.

 

21.

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 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 disclosable pecuniary interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

 

Minutes:

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

 

22.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 32 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 9 April 2013 and 22 May 2013.

 

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 meetings held on 9 April 2013 and 22 May 2013 be approved and signed as correct records, subject to the 9 April minutes showing Councillor Graham as also present and a correction made to the spelling of Councillor Worster’s surname.

 

23.

Presentation of the 2012/13 Statement of Accounts pdf icon PDF 197 KB

This report presents the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2012/13 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 2012/13 for external audit. The Head of Finance and Business Services then made a presentation to the Committee and particularly drew attention to the surplus of £619,941. The Director of Resources said that this outcome reflected the effective partnership between Members and officers.

 

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. During debate Members asked that attention be paid to the presentation of information on the Local Authority Mortgage Scheme. The Chairman suggested that a note be added to explain the purpose of these funds.

 

 RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the Statement of Accounts 2012/13 be noted and approved for submission for external audit, subject to the presentation of information on the Local Authority Mortgage Scheme being amended, and

 

(2)       authority be delegated 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.

 

24.

The Audit Plan for Hertsmere Borough Council pdf icon PDF 395 KB

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

 

Minutes:

Grant Thornton, the Council’s External Auditor, submitted the Audit Plan for this authority. The Plan sought to understand the challenges and opportunities the Council was facing, along with the impact of key developments in the sector. The Plan went on to identify two presumed significant risks applicable to all audits under auditing standards. There were no specific risks for this authority. The Committee was informed that following interim audit work, there were no issues to bring to their attention.

 

The Plan consisted of the following four matters: network and financial systems password configuration; financial systems password encryption; network intrusion prevention and detection systems, and acknowledgement of security and IT policy by staff.

 

Following a question by the Chairman on the provision of advice on securing savings, the Grant Thornton representative said they would not give advice and it was for the Council to compare itself to others to obtain a measure of its performance.

 

RESOLVED that the Grant Thornton Audit Plan for Hertsmere Borough Council be noted.

 

25.

Audit Fee letter pdf icon PDF 181 KB

This letter sets out details of the external audit fee for the Council along with the scope and timing of external audit’s work and details of their team.

 

Minutes:

The Audit Commission had set its proposed work programme and scales of fees for 2013/14. In a letter to the Council Grant Thornton set out details of the 2013/14 audit fee for the Council, along with the scope and timing of their work.

 

The Council's scale fee for 2013/14 had been set by the Audit Commission at £64,921 which compared to the audit fee of £64,921 for 2012/13. The scale fee covered: an audit of the Council’s financial statements; a conclusion on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources (the value for money conclusion) and work on the whole of the government accounts return.

 

RESOLVED that the audit fee of £64,921 be noted.

 

26.

Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and Audit Charter pdf icon PDF 138 KB

 

Report ???   aims to provide the Council with information relating to the new Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS), and includes the SIAS Audit Charter.

Minutes:

In May 2011, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (CIIA) agreed to collaborate in the development of the internal audit profession in the public sector.  As a result, national Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS), based upon the mandatory elements of the global CIIA’s International Professional Performance Framework were developed. The PSIAS were effective from 1 April 2013 and consisted of: a definition of Internal Auditing; a Code of Ethics; and Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.

 

In response to the new standards, the Shared Internal Audit Service had developed a Charter which defined the purpose, authority and responsibility of the internal audit activity.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the report of the Shared Internal Audit Service on the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards be noted and the new Standards adopted,

 

(2)       the Shared Internal Audit Service Audit Charter be adopted as part of compliance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards 2013, and

 

(3)       the assurance from management that there have been no inappropriate scope or resource limitations on internal audit activity be noted.

 

27.

Annual Assurance Statement and Internal Audit Annual Report pdf icon PDF 205 KB

This report provides internal audit’s overall opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment. It also summarises the performance of the internal audit service during 2012/13.

 

Minutes:

The Committee was informed that the purpose of this Shared Internal Audit Service report was to: document and communicate internal audit’s overall opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment, comment on significant matters and key themes; summarise the audit work from which the opinion is derived and summarise the performance of the internal audit service.

 

The Head of Assurance reported a substantial level of compliance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and considered the internal audit service to be effective. It was planned to invite external audit to validate the results of this assessment. Also the Head of Assurance did not consider there to be any significant deviations from the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards which warranted inclusion in the Council’s Annual Governance Statement. The Head also confirmed that during the year there had been no matters arising which threatened the independence of the internal audit function.  The Head of Assurance confirmed that there have been no inappropriate scope or resource limitations on the internal audit function during the year.     

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the Annual Assurance Statement and Internal Audit Annual Report be noted, and

 

(2)       the assurance from management that the scope and resources for internal audit were not subject to inappropriate limitations be noted.

 

28.

Shared Internal Audit Service - progress report pdf icon PDF 259 KB

This report provides information on progress made by SIAS in delivering the 2013/14 Internal Audit Plan; findings for 1 April to 28 June 2013 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 Council’s 2012/13 and 2013/14 Internal Audit Plans as at 28 June 2013; findings for the period 1 April to 28 June 2013; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 28 June 2013.

 

The Committee noted that 22.5% of the Audit Plan had been delivered.

 

Following a question by the Chairman, the Committee noted that the forthcoming review of Members’ Allowances would consider whether or not Members the claiming of allowances by Members should continue or be replaced by the payment of a set amount.

 

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

 

 

29.

Annual Governance Statement pdf icon PDF 131 KB

This report explains how the Council has maintained sound governance during the 2012/13 financial year and how it meets various legislative requirements.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The SIAS Head of Assurance submitted the Draft Annual Governance Statement for 2012/13 to the Committee. The Director of Resources 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 Committee noted 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.

 

RESOLVED that the draft Annual Governance Statement for 2012/13 be approved for submission to the Executive.

 

30.

Risk Management Progress and Update Report pdf icon PDF 58 KB

This report reviews and updates the Strategic Risks and progress against the Risk Management Strategy. An annual report on risk and opportunities management at HBC during the financial year 2012/13, as outlined in the Council’s Risk Management Strategy, is attached to this report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had before them Report A/13/20 which detailed the strategic risks facing the Council and progress with implementing the risk management strategy. Members were reminded that earlier in the year they had asked that an assessment of the likelihood of the External Financial Pressures risk be undertaken. Since then a review of the current risk mitigation measures had taken place and as a result it was proposed that the likelihood of both the ‘External Financial Pressures’ and the ‘Affordable Social Housing’ risks be reduced from a ‘4’ to a ‘3’.

 

Members noted that the risk reports would be updated before their next meeting to reflect the new ratings. Also Members asked for the likelihood of the ‘Affordable Social Housing’ risk to be identified in the commentary on the risk.

 

The Annual Risk Management report for 2012/13 was noted by the Committee, who expressed confidence in the risk based approach and the engagement of managers.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)    the reduction in the likelihood assessment of the Strategic Risks of Affordable Social Housing and External Financial Pressures be noted, and

 

(2)    the annual report on Risk Management for 2012/13 be noted.”

 

31.

External Auditors' Recommendations -Officer Update Report pdf icon PDF 32 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 and Business Services provided an update to the Committee on progress with the implementation of agreed recommendations made by the Council’s external auditors.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report (A/13/15) of the Head of Finance be noted.

 

32.

Anti-Fraud Unit - 2013/14 progress report pdf icon PDF 57 KB

This report provides the Committee with information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Team between April to June 2013.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Unit between 1 April 2013 and 31 May 2013. It was noted that so in 2013/14 £71,675 in overpayments had been identified.

 

Members then discussed the penalties applied by the courts and noted that these usually took the form of fines. For the next meeting, the Chairman asked that information be provided on the cost position of frauds identified in the past, so that the Committee could see the historic costs of recovery and the amounts recovered. Members appreciated that in the short term the Council may be out of pocket but wanted to know how if that position changed in the longer term.  

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)     the information contained in the report of the Investigating Officer be noted,

 

(2)      officers report to the September meeting of this Committee on the costs and income of previously identified fraud cases, as detailed above, and

 

(3)       the Anti-Fraud Work Plan 2013/14 be noted.

 

33.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 7.30 p.m. in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

Minutes:

Noted that the next meeting of this Committee would take place on 26 September 2013.