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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

654.

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.

 

655.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Kieran and the Director of Resources.

 

656.

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 the items of business on the agenda for the meeting.

 

657.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 32 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 13th January 2014.

 

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 13 January 2014 be approved and signed as a correct record.

 

658.

Anti-Fraud Unit Performance update report and Fraud Plan 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

This report provides the Committee with information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Team between April 2013 and 21 March 2014, and submits the Fraud Plan 2014/15 for approval.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Fraud Investigator introduced his report and drew attention to the Anti-Fraud Work Plan for 2014/15 and information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Unit up to 21 March 2014. It was noted that the amount of overpayment identified for the year so far was £395,018. There had been 26 sanction and 13 prosecutions.

 

The Committee was reminded that it was the Government’s intention to establish a single fraud investigation service to tackle benefit fraud. This new service would be implemented from October 2014 to March 2016, with each local authority transferred during that period. No information was yet available on when Hertsmere would transfer. The investigation of non-welfare fraud would remain with local authorities.

 

Members asked for more information on the transitional arrangements to better understand the implications of this change. They particularly wanted information on the financial arrangement on how existing cases would be dealt with.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1) the Hertsmere Borough Council Anti-fraud Work Plan 2014/15 be approved, and  

 

(2)  the information contained in the report of the Fraud Investigator be noted.

 

659.

Certification Report 2012/13 Grant Thornton pdf icon PDF 273 KB

This report summarises the overall assessment of the Council’s management arrangements for the certification process and draws attention to significant matters in relation to individual claims.

 

Minutes:

The Council’s external auditors Grant Thornton were required to certify certain claims and returns submitted by the Council. The Committee noted that two claims and returns for 2012/13 relating to expenditure of £89.5m had been certified. The key messages from this work were noted and that two qualification letters had been issued. The auditors commented that clear working papers had been provided to them and comprehensive working papers were provided to support the return.

 

RESOLVED that the certification report 2012/13 provided by Grant Thornton, be noted.

 

660.

Audit Plan 2013/14 - Grant Thornton pdf icon PDF 406 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. The Committee was informed that following interim audit work, there were no issues to bring to their attention.

 

The Plan contained two priority matters: no user access review being conducted and unauthorised access attempts not being logged, investigated and follow-up actions documented.

 

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

 

661.

Risk Management Progress Report and Strategy pdf icon PDF 54 KB

This report reviews and updates the Council’s Strategic Risk Register.  A proposed new Risk and Opportunities Management Strategy is attached to this report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report A/14/08 reviewed and updated the strategic risks of the authority, and proposed a new Risk and Opportunities Management Strategy.

 

It was noted that the Affordable Housing risk had been re-assessed and the conclusion was that the current assessment of the risk remain unaltered. Also the Workforce Capacity risk had been reviewed but the current assessment should remain. The likelihood assessment for the Reclamation of the Mound at Elstree Studios had been reduced, as the project was now 82% complete and remained on target for completion in May 2014.

 

Currently the Council had a separate Risk Management Strategy and guidance documents. It was proposed that these documents be combined into a Risk and Opportunities Management Strategy. It was noted that the policy statement had not been revised.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the reduction in assessment of the Strategic Risk of the Reclamation of the Mound be approved, and

 

(2)       the revised Risk and Opportunities Management Strategy be noted.

 

662.

SIAS 2014/15 Internal Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 148 KB

This report provides the Committee with the proposed Hertsmere Borough Council Internal Audit Plan for 2014/15.

 

Minutes:

The Shared Internal Audit Service submitted a report proposing the adoption of the Hertsmere Borough Council Internal Audit Plan 2014-15. The Plan set out the programme of internal audit work for the year ahead and formed part of the Council’s wider assurance framework. Members noted that the Plan provided for the same number of audit days as the 2013/14 Plan.

 

RESOLVED that the Hertsmere Borough Council Internal Audit Plan 2014-15 be approved.

 

663.

SIAS Progress report pdf icon PDF 203 KB

This report provides information on progress made by SIAS in delivering the 2013/14 Internal Audit Plan, findings since January 2014, 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 14 March 2014; findings for the period 1 April to 14 March 2014; proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 14 March 2014.

 

The Committee noted that 88% of the Audit Plan had been delivered.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/14/10) be noted.

 

664.

New Accounting Standards and Review of Accounting Policies pdf icon PDF 67 KB

This report provide the Committee with information on the requirement to prepare valuations of land and buildings and to account for pension scheme liabilities and expected returns on pension scheme assets in accordance with the International Accounting Standards and the International Financial Reporting Standards.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Finance and Business Services provided Members with information on the requirement to; prepare valuations of land and buildings in accordance with International Accounting Standard 16 and to account for pension scheme liabilities and for expected returns on pension scheme assets in accordance with International Accounting Standard 19. Recommendations concerning changes where appropriate to accounting policies and associated disclosures to be made in the annual accounts were also made. The Committee was advised of the eventual requirement to prepare valuations of property in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standard 13, recommended to retain the Council’s current accounting policies, except where they were affected by the accounting standards referred to above.

 

RESOLVED that

 

-       the accounting policy and disclosures in respect of valuations of land and buildings.  These clarify that the value of the council’s properties on the balance sheet must be sufficiently up to date to ensure that it does not differ materially from that which would be determined using fair value (the amount that would be paid for an asset in its existing use) at the end of each reporting period, as set out at paragraphs 3.1 to 3.4 of report A/14/12;

 

-       the accounting policy for accounting for pension scheme liabilities and for expected returns on pension scheme assets.  This ensures that, when calculating the anticipated return on pension scheme assets, the council uses a rate equivalent to the discount rate used when measuring scheme liabilities and further clarifies the way in which this rate is estimated. In addition, disclosures in respect of scheme assets must now be considerably expanded; the assets must be broken down into classes that distinguish between the nature and risk of those assets and further broken down by those with and without a quoted price in an active market. A restatement of the accounts for 2012/13 will be necessary. Background information and the recommendation itself, is set out at paragraphs 3.5 to 3.12 of Report A/14/12; and

 

-       the retention of the Council’s other existing accounting policies without change, as set out at paragraph 4.1 of report A/14/12.

 

665.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

 

666.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 21st July 2014 at 7.30pm in the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

 

Minutes:

Noted that the next meeting of this Committee would take place on 21 July 2014.