Agenda and minutes

Audit & Governance Committee - Tuesday 11th March 2014 6.00 pm

Venue: Orwell Room, Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

46.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

47.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2013 pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2013 be signed as a true record.

48.

To confirm the dates of the next meetings:

·         Tuesday 17 June 2014

·         Tuesday 2 September 2014

·         Tuesday 9 December 2014

·         Tuesday 10 March 2015

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

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

49.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Order of Business be confirmed as printed on the Agenda.

50.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

51.

AG/13/23 External Audit - Certification Report for those charged with Governance 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

51.1    The Chair welcomed Mr Julian Rickett of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (the Council’s External Auditors) who explained that this report would complete those required by the Audit & Governance Committee for the year 2012/13.

 

51.2    He confirmed that in reference to the two amendments made to LA01, the National Non Domestic Rates return (NNDR) and BEN01, Housing and Council Tax Benefits Scheme, the final figure of the Forecast Outturn 2012/13 would not be affected. 

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be received and noted.

 

52.

AG/13/24 External Audit Plan 2013/14 pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

52.1    Mr Rickett presented the External Audit Plan 2013/14 and drew attention to the risk of fraud in revenue expenditure recognition, the elevated risk to the Property Plant and Equipment Valuation and confirmed that if any other risks were identified these would be reported.  

 

52.2    The assessment of the total overall expenditure for the year ended 31 March 2014 would be updated as necessary when the Authority’s actual results were known.  He confirmed that a notification of change from the Audit Commission to reduce the certification regime for Housing and Council Tax Benefits was anticipated and that the overseas processing of basic audit tasks and secure information inputting in EU countries ensured that the costs of facilitation remained low.   

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be received and noted.

53.

AG/13/25 Annual Internal Audit Plan 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

53.1    The Audit Partnership Manager presented this Audit Plan and confirmed that the Internal Audit Team consisted of 8 posts, equating to 6.2 full time equivalents (FTE) and that the Audit & Fraud Partnership which included both Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils had enabled greater operational efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of Internal Audit Services. A detailed report on the work undertaken in the year ending 31 March 2014 would be provided to the next meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee.

 

53.2    The Chair asked whether the Audit team would have the capacity to cope with an Internal Audit of the Joint Museums Service during the 2014/15 year and the Audit Partnership Manager confirmed that the audit had been factored into the Work Programme.

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the Internal Audit Plan for 2014/15 attached at Appendix 1 to report Ref No: AG/13/25, be approved.

54.

AG/13/26 Revised Employee Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

54.1  The Head of Corporate Services in her capacity as Monitoring Officer presented the report which proposed a new Employee Code of Conduct as a result of changes to the working environment and public expectation of public sector workers. The requirement of the new Code to cover the Nolan principles and other information related to social media would set the tone for the entire workforce (including Contractors) to ensure that the same standards and rules were followed as a condition of employment.

 

54.2  The Chair of the Audit & Governance Committee thanked the Head of Corporate Resources for her work undertaken on the Employee Code of Conduct in terms of its diverse nature and confirmed that the summary gave clear and concise guidance and all echoed this sentiment.

 

54.3  The Code of Conduct would now be submitted to Council on 19 June 2014 for approval.

 

          Resolved:

 

          that the proposed new Code of Conduct, set out in Appendix 1 to report Ref No: AG/13/26, be recommended to Council for adoption.   

55.

AG/13/27 Corporate Counter Fraud - Business Plan 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

55.1    The Audit Partnership Manager presented this report and detailed how the experienced Counter Fraud Team act in accordance with existing national best practice to ensure any corporate fraud was identified for investigation.  It was confirmed that the proposed target in relation to identified benefit loss by fraud and error would be in excess of the cost of the service however, the service was due to be considered by the ‘Transformation Programme’, the impact of which was unknown.

 

55.2    Discussion took place about the retained profit and the complex nature of the 45% net recovery rate.  High risk fraud would be primarily considered but smaller amounts or repeat offenders would also be investigated and the amount of Right to Buy applications were discussed which had been withdrawn when applicants had been contacted by the Fraud Investigator.  New working practices, in line with those at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) would be introduced by October 2014 in anticipation of the transfer of the Local Authority benefit fraud work and relevant personnel to the DWP as part of the national single Fraud Service Investigation Service.  The fraud work would include both the intent to deceive for gain and the investigation of any over claims.

 

55.3    Thanks and appreciation were offered to the Officers of the Corporate Fraud Investigation Team for their work and initiatives undertaken during the prevention, detection and prosecution of fraud and corruption.

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the Corporate Counter Fraud Business Plan 2014-15, attached at Appendix 1 to report Ref No: AG/13/27, be received and noted.   

56.

AG/13/28 Financial Management and Control Corporate Budget Monitoring - Third Quarter 2013/14 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

56.1    The Operations Manager for Finance and Procurement presented this report and highlighted the significant areas of General Fund variances and the Housing Revenue Account. 

 

56.2    Discussion took place about the amount written off in relation to the Council’s Icelandic investment since the auction of the remaining investments which had allowed the additional working balance of the impairment reserve to be released and the Officer agreed to circulate details to the Committee about the loss of interest of the Icelandic Investment. 

 

56.3    Although the target for L1065 ‘the average value of individual invoices paid by the Council’ had not been met, this was as a result of the promotion of the Government Procurement Card for small value purchases which had resulted in an improvement to the cash flow to small suppliers.  The L1065 target had since been superseded.

 

56.4    A supplementary estimate totalling £20,000 had been requested to be funded in this quarter (funded from Additional Commitments) which related to water services at Crown Pools and which Executive were requested to approve.        

 

56.5    Reference was made to a potential ‘Events’ overspend which had been as a result of issues collecting outstanding pledged sponsorship income and income from events.  Steps were being taken to ensure that, in future, letters would be sent accepting sponsorship which would allow a debtors account to be raised and procedure to be followed in the event of non-payment. 

 

56.6    Discussion took place about a loan taken out on 9 March 1990 which matured on 31/03/2015 and the Officer confirmed that if certain loans were repaid, with premium loading, this could result in more than the amount remaining payable.    

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the Audit and Governance Committee recommend to  Executive that:

 

1.    the service budget performance for the General Fund, be noted;

 

Reason: To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

2.    the Supplementary Estimates from ‘Additional Commitments’ for General Fund services of £20,000, be approved by Executive;

 

Reason: To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

3.    the future year effects for the General Fund, be noted;

 

Reason: To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

4.    the service budget performance for the Housing Revenue Account, be noted;

 

Reason: To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

5.    the budget performance for the Shared Revenues Partnership (SRP), be noted; 

 

Reason: To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

6.    the position on the 2013/14 and future years Capital Programme and financing resources, be noted;

 

Reason: To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

7.    the changes to the Capital Programme detailed in paragraphs 10.2 to 10.3, be approved;

 

Reason: To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

8.    the position in respect of the Council’s Treasury Management activities during 2013/14, be noted.

 

Reason: To facilitate effective treasury management activity.

 

                                                           

57.

AG/13/29 Internal Audit Reports - Recently issued (includes updates from last meeting) pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

57.1    The Audit Partnership Manager presented this report which monitored the Annual Audit Plan and also followed up on the action points raised at the last meeting in relation to Procurement (576), Creditors (592), HEARS Income (613) and the Museums Merged Service.

 

Procurement - The Constitution Working Group were currently making changes to the Council’s Standing Orders to ensure that three quotations to be obtained for goods and services with a value between £10k up to £50k and a tender exercise would be required for those of £50K and above, with a target implementation date of 1 April 2014.

 

The table at 3.1 was amended to read:

 

Threshold Values £

0.01 - £4,999

£5,000 - £25,000

No. of transactions

9307

743

Total £

15,640,723.85

8,502,835.97

 

The target dates of the recommendations were all noted as either being completed or due to be implemented by 1 April 2014.

 

Creditors – The target dates were all noted as either being completed or due to be implemented by 31 May 2014.

 

HEARS – Following the implementation of Single Status Harmonisation due on 1 April 2014, a new Responders rota would be implemented after which the application would be reviewed and amendments made.

 

Ipswich Market Income – The target dates of the recommendations were noted as being completed or were due to be implemented by 31 March 2014.

 

Museums Merged Service – The concerns about the items that form the Ipswich Museums collection and their location had been expressed to the Joint Museums Committee.  Time had been allocated within the Audit Service to provide assurance to the Committee that the collection was being appropriately managed, safeguarded against damage, deterioration and loss and an item would be included on the agenda at the meeting to be held on 17 June 2014.

 

Action: A report on the Museums Merged Service would be submitted to the Audit & Governance Committee on 17 June 2014.

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the contents of the Audit Reports on the following, and the updates from the previous meeting, be noted and the recommendations within the following reports be endorsed.

 

1.         SRP - Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (619)

2.         Benefit Capping (635)

3.         Regent Booking Arrangements (645)

 

 

58.

Museums Merged Services - Internal Audit Update (Verbal)

Minutes:

58.1 This item had been dealt with under Item 57.

59.

AG/13/30 Audit & Governance Committee Work Programme 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            Resolved:

 

            that the Audit and Governance Work programme 2014-2015, be agreed.

60.

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 items under section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during the items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within Paragraphs 1 & 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

61.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2013

62.

Status of Internal Recommendations - an update on Agresso Controls (Verbal)