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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

250.

Membership

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

Minutes:

Councillor Clapper had been replaced as a member of this Committee, for this meeting, by Councillor Graham.

 

251.

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.

 

252.

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 Members had an interest to declare in relation to the items of business on the agenda for the meeting.

 

253.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 37 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 23 September 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 23 September 2014 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

254.

Anti-Fraud Performance Update Report pdf icon PDF 91 KB

This report provides Members with an update on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Team between 1 April and 30 November 2014.

 

Minutes:

The Fraud Investigator reported with an update on the performance of the Anti-Fraud Unit for the third quester of 2014/15. The meeting noted that the total amount of overpayment identified in this last quarter was £139,270 and that the section had obtained 14 sanctions and 2 prosecutions. For the year to date it was noted that 218 cases had been referred to the Unit and that 24 cautions and administrative penalties had been secured.

 

The Committee noted that since late last year, the Council had received real time information indicating discrepancies between wage details of claimants held on Hertsmere systems and that held by HMRC. The discrepancies between these figures had so far resulted in 90 cases being considered for investigation. It was noted that a number of sanctions were expected to result from this work in the forthcoming months.

 

The Chairman suggested that officers make provision for the financial impact of these cases.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report of the head of Finance and Business Services, be noted.

 

255.

Annual Audit Letter 2013/14 pdf icon PDF 241 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 2013/14.

 

Minutes:

The Committee had before them the Annual Audit Letter from the Council’s external auditors, Grant Thornton. The Letter summarised the key findings arising from the work the auditors had carried out at Hertsmere for the year ended 31 March 2014.

 

Grant Thornton found that the Council’s accounts were produced to a high standard and supported by comprehensive working paper trials. The external auditor’s had issued an unqualified opinion on the Council’s 2013/14 financial statements. In their opinion the financial statements gave a true and fair view of the Council’s financial position and of the income and expenditure recorded by the Council.

 

Grant Thornton had also issued an unqualified value for money conclusion, having found that the Council continued to have robust arrangements for financial management and budgetary control. They also found that the Council had an effective framework to address financial pressures and to deliver its financial plans over the medium term.

 

In reply to a question, the Committee noted that work to certify the Council’s housing benefit subsidy claim had been completed satisfactorily.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in Grant Thornton’s the Annual Audit Letter for Hertsmere Borough Council be noted.

 

256.

External Auditors' Recommendations pdf icon PDF 32 KB

This report provides Members with an update on progress that officers have made relating to the implementation of agreed recommendations made by the Council’s external auditors.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In report A/15/02, the Senior Finance Officer advised the Committee of progress made in implementing recommendations made by external auditors. The Committee noted the action taken by officers with work on recommendations concerning accounting policies and estimates and judgements.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the report be noted.

 

257.

Risk Management update pdf icon PDF 60 KB

This report reviews and updates the strategic risks and proposes new and amended strategic risks.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted a report by the Risk Manager which reviewed the Council’s Strategic Risks. The report made proposals to reduce the assessment of the risk for Affordable Housing; to delete the Procurement Strategic Risk as measures had been taken to manage the risk, and to add a new risk for the implementation of the Community Infrastructure Levy.

 

The Committee considered the overall risk matrix and suggested that the impact of Business Continuity Management and IT Disaster be reduced to ‘3’ following the successful installation of business recovery arrangements with Broxbourne. It was also proposed that the likelihood of Data Protection and Information management be increased to ‘2’ given that this area was largely unmanageable.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)       the reduction in the assessment of the risk for Affordable Social Housing be noted,

 

(2)       the Procurement Strategic Risk be deleted following recent measures taken to manage this risk.

 

(3)       the addition of a new Strategic Risk for the implementation of the Community Infrastructure Levy be approved, and

 

(4)       the levels for both the Business Continuity Management & IT Disaster and Data Protection & Information management be varied as detailed above.

 

 

258.

Internal Audit Progress Report pdf icon PDF 211 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 13 December, 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 14 December 2014; findings for the period 13 September to 18 December 2014; proposed amendments to the Audit Plan; status of audit recommendations and an update on performance management information as at 14 December 2014.

 

The Committee noted that 63% of the Audit Plan had been delivered.

 

RESOLVED that the information contained in the Shared Internal Audit Service progress report (A/15/05) be noted and the amendments to the Audit Plan be approved.

 

259.

Change of External Auditors

Minutes:

The Committee noted that a change of external auditors was planned, Grant Thornton were to continue until the end of 2014/15 and then be replaced by Ernst and Young for a two year period. The Committee was assured that appropriate arrangements had been made to ensure continuity.

 

The Chairman asked that the Audit Plan be submitted to the next meeting of this Committee on 1 April 2015.

 

260.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 1st April 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 1st April 2015.in the Civic Offices, Borehamwood.