Agenda and minutes

Audit & Governance Committee - Tuesday 3rd September 2013 6.00 pm

Venue: Orwell Room, Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

19.1    Apologies for absence were received from Councillors L Harsant and D Goldsmith.

20.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2013 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the minutes from the meeting held on 18 June 2013 be signed as a true record.

21.

To confirm the dates of the next meetings:

3 December 2013

11 March 2014

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the meetings of the Audit & Governance Committee, be as printed on the agenda, to commence at 6.00pm.

22.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

to vary the Order of Business.  To consider Item 9 - AG/13/12 prior to Item 8 - AG/13/11 to enable the Section 151 Officer to present Item 8.

23.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor W Knowles declared an interest in Item 8 - AG/13/11 being a member of the Suffolk County Council, Pension Fund Committee.  

24.

AG/13/09 Anti - Bribery Policy pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

24.1    The Head of Corporate Services presented this report and explained that it was best practice for the Council to have an Anti-Bribery Policy to ensure compliance with the Bribery Act 2010.  It was also now a requirement for business use and the potential commercial activities, undertaken by the Council, at risk of bribery offences were identified.

 

24.2    The Anti-Bribery Policy (covering all employees) and the supporting Corporate Procedures were attached at Appendices 1 & 2 to report Ref No: AG/13/09.  These strengthened the prevention of corporate bribery and ensured that prosecution could be taken to defend the Council in line with the Bribery Act 2010.

 

24.3    The Anti-Bribery risks were also reiterated in the Employee Code of Conduct, which, in due course, would be subject to review by the Committee.             Discussion took place about any prosecutions and the recording of disciplinary action through the Code of Conduct and use of the Whistle Blowing Policy.  It was confirmed that job application forms required any relevant convictions to be listed, an internal training course on ‘Acceptable Conduct’ was offered and the Anti-Bribery Policy was considered as part of the Corporate Induction for all new employees.   

 

24.4    The Officer confirmed that, as part of the Procurement Procedure, contractors were asked to provide their company policies, relating to Health & Safety and Anti-Bribery.   

 

Resolved:

 

1.            that the report be noted.

 

2.            that the Anti-Bribery Policy, attached at Appendix 1 and the associated Anti-Bribery Procedures, attached at Appendix 2 to report Ref No: AG/13/09 respectively, be approved.

 

25.

AG/13/10 Corporate Risk Register pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

25.1    The Operations Manager, Performance & Projects presented the annual Corporate Risk Register report to the Committee, to consider the 16 risks which had been identified and to ensure that mitigation measures were put in place to areas identified, as under the required level of tolerance.

 

25.2    Discussion took place about the planned control measure of CRR-12 Governance – Inability of Council partners/suppliers to deliver agreed support.  The Officer agreed to amend how the recognition of the contractual arrangements and ability to deliver agreed support could be further recognised to reduce the risk of partners/suppliers inability to deliver this service to the Council.  Any amendment would be included in the report prior to it being submitted to Executive for approval.     

 

Resolved:

 

that, the Corporate Risk Register (CRR), attached at Appendix 1 to report Ref No: AG/13/10, with the amendment as agreed at 25.2 above, be submitted to Executive for approval.  

26.

AG/13/12 Internal Audit Reports - Recently Issued pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

26.1    Council Tax (602)

 

            The Chair raised concern about the large number of properties listed as ‘exempted properties’ and acknowledged that a check on each property was not always feasible.  The Audit Partnership Manager confirmed that work was being undertaken to monitor each property and that the findings would be brought back to the Committee as part of the Status of Recommendations report to the next meeting.    

 

26.2    Housing & Council Tax Benefits (603)

 

Councillors expressed concern about the amount of increase to the ‘Outstanding Housing Benefit Overpayments’ detailed within the claim data obtained from the Subsidy and Quality Control Team and questioned actions taking place to mitigate this.  Concern was also expressed about the control area of ‘Overpayments Reconciliation to Debtors’ which detailed that errors were still occurring and the Officer agreed to source information on these two points, from the Head of the Shared Partnership Service, and forward to members of the Committee.

 

Action: The Audit Partnership Manager to forward information on the increase to the ‘Outstanding Housing Benefit Overpayments’ and the ‘Overpayments Reconciliation to Debtors’ procedure to members of the Committee.

 

26.3    Regent Theatre (617)

 

Councillor Lockington asked whether problems which had been highlighted during a previous Audit had been dealt with and the Audit Partnership Manager reported that any outstanding concerns would be detailed in the Status of Recommendations report due to be submitted to the next Audit & Governance Committee. 

 

Resolved:

 

that the contents of the Audit reports on the following be noted, the recommendations within the reports be endorsed and that the additional information requested be circulated by the Audit Partnership Manager.

 

1.    IT Governance (574)

2.    Payroll (591)

3.    Budgetary Control (600)

4.    Council Tax (602)

5.    Housing & Council Tax Benefit (603)

6.    Treasury Management (604)

7.    Regent Theatre (617)

27.

AG/13/11 Statement of Accounts 2012/13, the Annual Governance Statement & the Annual Report to Those Charged with Governance - Noting of availability of accounts and supporting information for inspection pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

27.1    Following an introduction to the report by the Section 151 Officer, differences between the Total and Group Comprehensive (income) and Expenditure figures were attributed to the exclusion of transactions between Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Buses and this was confirmed by the External Auditors.  The Section 151 Officer agreed to supply a more detailed explanation to the Committee.

 

            Action:  The Section 151 Officer to supply more details on the difference between the Total and Group Comprehensive (income) and Expenditure figures to the Committee. 

 

27.2    Mr Hanson requested figures about the funded liabilities of the Local Government Pension Scheme.  The Officer explained that these figures were supplied by the Suffolk County Council Pensions Services and that a report on the impact of pension’s liability for Ipswich Borough Council would be submitted to the next Audit & Governance Committee.  

 

27.3    The Chair expressed concern about the Heritage Assets held by the Museums Service and it was confirmed that a report on the Audit of by the Service would be considered when available.

 

27.4    The following were agreed to be included in the final document of the Annual Governance Statement at the request of the Committee:

 

·         Page 165 – To include that, within the governance framework, that the Audit Partnership Manager’s role included a responsibility to the Audit & Governance Committee.

·         Page 166 – A reference be made to how the Audit & Governance Committee worked with the Officers.

·         Page 167 – Information on the Ombudsman investigations to be included.

·         Page 172 –The following statement be claified: ‘Interim permissions and authority provided to allow IBC to continue to work in public highway’.

 

27.5    In response to a query about the website Fraud Hotline reporting system the Audit Partnership Manager was tasked to ensure that a contact phone number was included.

 

Action: The Audit Partnership Manager was tasked to ensure that a contact phone number was included as part of the reporting system for the Fraud Hotline on the website.

 

27.6    The Chair asked whether the formal complaints from the Local Government Ombudsman against Ipswich Borough Council had been reported to the Committee and the Head of Resource Management confirmed that he would request this information from the Head of Housing and Customer Services and report it to the Committee. 

 

            Action: The Head of Resource Management to request information from the Head of Housing and Customer Services about the result of the two Ombudsman decisions.

 

27.7    A document was circulated which detailed the final Annual Report to those Charged with Governance which Mr Julian Rickett and Ms Charlotte Kennedy, from the External Auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers presented.  The following points were noted:

 

·         No significant areas of risk had been identified for reporting specifically in property, plant and equipment and Heritage Asset matters. 

·         Information requested about Single Status Harmonisation had been provided.

·         It had been suggested that Ipswich Buses be classed as the Council’s ‘investment in a subsidiary’ to ensure correct accounting procedures could be undertaken.

·         That the statement ‘The pension’s liability was shown to be in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

AG/13/13 Revised Terms of Reference for the Audit & Governance Committee to clarify the scope of 'Corporate Governance' remit pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the revised Terms of Reference, as set out in Appendix 1 to report Ref No: AG/13/13, in respect of the formal delegation of the Committee to Council, be submitted to Council at the next available meeting.   

29.

AG/13/14 Audit & Governance Committee - Future Work Programme pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

29.1    A copy of the audit of the Colchester and Ipswich Joint Museums Service would be submitted to the meeting on 3 December 2013.

 

29.2    The External Audit Officer reported that the Annual Audit Letter 2013 would be finalised by October 2013, however the final version would be submitted to the meeting on 3 December 2013 for information only.  

 

29.3    The Audit Partnership Manager confirmed that when Whistle-Blowing training had been rolled out to senior officers by the Human Resources Team, training would be offered to Councillors and it was envisaged that this would be by the end of 2013.

 

Resolved:

 

that the Audit & Governance Committee Work Programme 2013/14, with the amendment detailed at 29.1 above, be agreed.

30.

Exclusion of Public

To consider excluding the public (including the Press) from the meeting during consideration of the following item(s) under section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during that item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined within paragraphs 1 & 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

 

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the public (including the Press) be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item under section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during that item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined within paragraphs 1 & 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

31.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2013

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the exempt minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2013 be signed as a true record.