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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

238.

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.

 

239.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Morris.

 

240.

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.

 

241.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 935 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 July 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 21 July 2014 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

242.

Anti-Fraud Unit Performance July to September 2014 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

This report provides the Committee with information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Team between April and September 2014.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance Manager and Fraud Investigator reported with information on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Unit in the second quarter of 2014/15.  The total amount of overpayment identified in that period was £217,219 and there had been 6 sanctions and 2 prosecutions.

 

The report also proposed an amendment to the Prosecution and Sanction Policy, so that it included action taken by the Anti-Fraud team in relation to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

 

Members drew attention to the formation of a Single Fraud Investigation Service to tackle benefit fraud. It was anticipate that Hertsmere’s transfer to the new service would take place on 1 May 2015 and that the transfer arrangements would commence in October/ November 2015. Members were aware that the Council benefitted from a high performing Anti-Fraud Unit and wondered if future performance would compare? The Director of Resources said that the Council had no option, the existing benefit anti-fraud services of all local authorities had to transfer to the new service. However the responsibility for investigation of suspected fraud in areas of housing and homelessness; parking services; council tax and planning remained with the Council.

 

In these circumstances Members debated whether or not the Council needed to retain a recovery function after the benefits recovery function had been transferred to the new service.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)   the information contained in the report of the Finance Manager and Fraud Investigator be noted,

 

(2)   the Prosecution and Sanction Policy be approved, and

 

(3)   the Executive be informed that it is the view of this Committee that the Council should, after the establishment of a single fraud investigation service on 1 May 2015, retain a capability to investigate fraudulent use of a Council service and, where necessary, secure recovery.

 

243.

External Auditors' Findings pdf icon PDF 178 KB

This report highlights the key matters arising from the audit of the financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2014. It is also used to report Grant Thornton’s audit findings to management and those charged with governance in accordance with the requirements of International Standard on Auditing 260 (ISA).

 

Minutes:

Mr Westerman of Grant Thornton introduced a report on the key matters arising from the external audit of the Council’s 2013/14 financial statements. The meeting noted that based on a review of the Council’s arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources, Grant Thornton had given the Council an unqualified value for money conclusion. The external auditors had also given an unqualified opinion on the Council’s financial statements, and had found no internal control weaknesses. The auditors thanked the Finance Team for their assistance during the audit.

 

The Committee noted the provision made for business rate appeals and expressed satisfaction with the position adopted by Hertsmere.

 

RESOLVED that the conclusions of the external Auditors in respect of the Council 2013/14 financial statements be noted.

 

244.

Presentation and Approval of Statement of Accounts for 2013/14 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

This report includes the Council’s Statement of Accounts 2013/14 for approval by the Committee following completion of the external audit.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance and Business Services submitted for approval the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2013-14 following their endorsement by external audit. On 21 July 2014, this Committee had scrutinised and noted the draft Statement of Accounts before passing them to Grant Thornton for scrutiny.

 

Since the draft Statement of Accounts was presented in July, no adjustments had been made to the primary statements.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)   the Statement of Accounts 2013/14, as required by the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011, be approved, and

 

(2)   the content of the Letter of Representation 2013/14 to be provided to the auditors, be noted.

 

245.

Internal Audit Progress Report (SIAS) pdf icon PDF 207 KB

This report provides information on progress made by SIAS in delivering the 2014/15 Internal Audit Plan, findings for the period 1 April to 12 September 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 2014/15 Internal Audit Plan as at 12 September 2014; findings for the period 5 July to 12 September 2014; proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 12 September 2014.

 

The Committee noted that 44% of the Audit Plan had been delivered.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/14/24) be noted and the amendments to the Audit Plan be approved.

 

246.

SIAS Annual Report 2013/14 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

This report illustrates the work of the partnership during its third year of activity, highlights key areas of success in the year, describes the performance of the partnership during 2013/14 and looks ahead to the future developments that will continue to deliver the partners’ vision.

 

Minutes:

The Committee had before it the third annual report from the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) and noted that the Service had, in 2013/14, achieved both its key performance targets.

 

The Committee noted the future development plans and the vision statement for SIAS, but wanted to know more about its business plans and future intensions. In particular members wanted to know about the resilience of the service and the anticipated impact of the taking on anti-fraud work.  

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)   the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service Annual report 2013/14 be noted, and

 

(2)    the Committee be informed of the future business plans for the development of the Service; its resilience and the impact of offering an anti-fraud service.

 

247.

Risk Management Update pdf icon PDF 55 KB

This report reviews and updates the Strategic Risk Register.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Risk Manager had undertaken a review of the Council’s strategic risks and reported on a proposal to delete two risks and add one.

 

Measures had been taken to manage the Regeneration and Economic Development risk and it was recommended for removal from the Strategic Risk Register. Also Strategic Partnership could now be removed from the Risk Register as this issue would now be considered an operation risk where relevant.

 

The Committee was recommended to add the Future Development Plans for Elstree Studios as a strategic risk, due to the value of the Council’s investment. The Committee asked that work on this risk be connected with efforts being made to improve the economic prosperity of Borehamwood.

 

Following discussion of the risk matrix, the Committee asked that the impact of the Affordable Housing risk be reduced by moving it from box 13 to box 9. The position of the Business Continuity Management and IT Disaster risk was debated but the conclusion was that it remain in its present position, with consideration being given to the ranking of boxes 7 and 10 being increased to match that of the middle ranking risks.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)   the deletion of the Regeneration & Economic Development risk as a Strategic Risk following recent measures that have been implemented to manage this risk, be noted.

 

(2)   the deletion of the Strategic Partnerships risk as a Strategic Risk and its demotion to an Operational Risks where relevant, be noted.

 

(3)   the addition of a new Strategic Risk for the Future Development Plans for Elstree Studios be noted, and

 

(4)   officers noted the wishes of the Committee as expressed above.

 

248.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

None.

 

249.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 12 January 2015 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 12 January 2015 in the Civic Offices, Borehamwood.