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Decisions published

30/05/2019 - Annual Governance Statement 2018/19 (SIAS) ref: 2852    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Audit Committee

Made at meeting: 30/05/2019 - Audit Committee

Decision published: 12/06/2019

Effective from: 30/05/2019


The Corporate Director and Head of Shared Internal Audit Service introduced the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for 2018/19 to the Committee. The AGS explained how the Council had maintained sound governance during the 2018/19 financial year and how the Council met the requirements of the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015.  The Head of Shared Internal Audit Service highlighted that this Statement forms part of the published Statement of Accounts to be considered later in the meeting.


The Annual Governance Statement process five issues for inclusion in the 2018/19 Action Plan were:

a) Business Continuity,

b) General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR),

c) Newberries Car Park Development,

d) Workforce Capacity, Succession Planning and Use of Temporary Staff,

e) Governance of Local Authority Trading Companies.


The Corporate Director explained that there had been a number of changes taken to mitigate concerns:

  • Business Continuity planning had been impacted by efforts to identify suitable premises for relocation and changes in staffing which had led to joint working with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.
  • A new Information Officer was in place working to improve GDPR support in addition to the basic training which had been provided to nearly all officers.
  • A report on Newberries Car Park Development was due to go before Executive and the Council.
  • Workforce Capacity, Succession Planning and Use of Temporary Staff continued to be a concern due to limited alternatives.  There were difficulties recruiting with £1.7 million spent on temporary and agency staffing and the council was working to grow staff internally.
  • Governance was still under review pending a report on the trading companies which, once completed, the Council would look to implement the recommendations.


The Committee questioned the level of spending on temporary staff and how this figure compared to the amount which might have been spent otherwise.  The Corporate Director responded that on average the Council spent 17-18% extra but this did vary by service with the more specialist staff being more expensive.  It was noted that in some services, waste staff for example, were cheaper, while in Asset Management the effective use of temporary staff on particular projects had generated a net surplus on income.


A query was raised by a Member about the delay in resolving Newberries Car Park Development.  The Corporate Director stated that, as a result of feedback from consultation and further assessment the proposal for the original scheme was being reconsidered and that this was due to go to the Executive.


The Committee recognised the changes in GDPR and welcomed the appointment of the Information Officer but sought assurances as to the training and processes in place.  Officers responded that all staff are trained but it is an area with deficits and that, across the Council, efforts were being undertaken to review and simplify privacy notices and application forms.  This formed part of an ongoing programme of work.  It was noted that the Information Commissioners Officer had more resources and powers to ensure compliance.



1.    The Council’s Annual Governance Statement (AGS) and Action Plan be approved.

2.    The Action Plan associated with the Annual Governance Statement be noted.

3.    Subject to any changes required prior to their signing, the Annual Governance Statement be included in the Statement of Accounts 2018/19.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Matthew Bunyon