Agenda and minutes

Audit & Governance Committee - Tuesday 3rd March 2015 6.00 pm

Venue: Orwell Room, Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

50.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

51.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 December 2014 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2014 be signed as a true record.

52.

To confirm the dates of the next meetings:

·         Tuesday 2 June 2015

·         Tuesday 1 September 2015

·         Tuesday 8 December 2015

·         Tuesday 1 March 2016

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the dates of future meetings be confirmed as printed on the Agenda, with meetings to commence at 6.00pm.

53.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

to vary the Order of Business.  That Items 6 & 7, External Audit Plan 2014/15 and Annual Certification Report 2013/14 respectively be considered after Item 12, in that order and that otherwise the Order of Business be confirmed as printed on the Agenda.

54.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

55.

AG/14/25 Financial Management & Control Corporate Budget Monitoring - Third Quarter 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

55.1    The Head of Resource Management presented this report and stated that in the absence of the Finance & Procurement Operations Manager he would endeavour to answer any questions or would circulate answers to the Committee after the meeting.   However, he responded both to questions from Councillors and Mr Hanson and confirmed the following:

·         the bottom line budget for Bereavement Services referred to the net income.  

·         Whitton Sports Centre would be the location should an emergency evacuation be necessary.

·         Any loss of income, while works were being undertaken at Crown Street car park, had been factored in to the business case and the Officer would circulate further details about this to the Committee after the meeting.

·         The Sugar Beet Factory budget for 2014/15 was for the purchase price of the site and the budget for 2015/16 & 2016/17 was to prepare the site for development.

·         Details on the surrender of the lease for Tooks Bakery would be circulated to the Committee after the meeting.

·         That the Broomhill Pool scheme had originally been agreed as being spread over two years.    

 

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

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

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

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

4.    the position on the 2014/15 and future years Capital Programme and financing resources, be noted;

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

5.    the changes to the Capital Programme detailed in paragraphs 10.2 to 10.4, be approved;

 

Reason: to facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

6.    the position in respect of the Council’s Treasury Management activities during 2014/15, be noted.

 

Reason: to facilitate effective treasury management activity.

56.

AG/14/26 Corporate Counter Fraud Business Plan 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

56.1    The Audit Partnership Manager presented this report and explained that the experienced Counter Fraud Team act in accordance with existing best practice to ensure that any corporate fraud was identified for investigation by using a zero tolerance approach.  Significant changes were occurring within the Council, that from 1 May 2015, a single integrated fraud investigation service would combine the relevant resources from across local authorities, HM Revenue and Customs and Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and the existing Local Authority Fraud Investigators would transfer to the DWP. 

 

56.2    From 1 May 2015, Corporate Fraud resources change to two full time Corporate Fraud Investigator posts being established, to ensure that sufficient resource remained within the Council.  The two posts would be advertised internally in the first instance, and if no applicants were forthcoming the posts would then be advertised externally.

 

56.3    The Corporate Counter Fraud Business Plan 2015-16 detailed the work planned for the year ahead.  The Audit Partnership Manager responded to the following questions from the Committee and confirmed that:

·         Corporate Fraud resources could draw upon the wider Audit Partnership if required going forward.

·         Two full time equivalent posts dealing with corporate fraud issues was a prudent approach as detailed in the Plan.   Progress and resourcing would be monitored carefully and the Audit and Governance Committee would be appraised of any significant issues, in addition to the programmed annual output report.

·         Staff transferring to the Department of Work and Pensions would have pension, salary and redundancy protection in place.

·         The ‘Fraud ‘Hotline’ would remain within the Audit Team and every confidence was given that this would remain confidential and safe.

 

Resolved:

 

            that the Corporate Counter Fraud Business Plan 2015-16, attached at Appendix A to report Ref No: AG/14/26, be received and noted.

57.

AG/14/27 Annual Internal Audit Plan 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

57.1    The Audit Partnership Manager presented the Audit Plan 2015/16.  She explained the background of the service and the factors taken into consideration when formulating the Annual Audit Plan and how her post was also split between Waveney District Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council, with 40% of her time being allotted to Ipswich Borough Council.

 

57.2    Planned audit reviews were discussed including the Income Generation review which aimed to provide independent assurance over the validity of income streams and financial accounting.

 

            Resolved:

 

that the Internal Audit Plan for 2015/16, attached as Appendix 1 to report Ref No: AG/14/27, be approved.  

58.

AG/14/28 Internal Audit - Recently Issued Reports pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

58.1    Homelessness: 2014/15 (HCS004)

 

            Management were implementing a number of Internal Audit recommendations with some action dates having passed.  The Audit Partnership Manager reported that each recommendation would be confirmed in due course, in accordance with normal procedures.

 

58.2    The Head of Housing and Customer Services assured the Committee that the homelessness arrangements and monitoring were compliant with all legal obligations and the Portfolio Holder was aware of the delay to the consultation.  The key changes to the service in the Strategy were the differing provision in terms of the demographic and the accommodation available.  The Officer provided details to the Committee on the current homeless requirement and the amount of households currently in temporary accommodation.  As IBC have a statutory duty to accommodate the homeless, priority could be given on the Choice Based Lettings system to try to get people into permanent accommodation as soon as possible. 

 

58.3    Discussion took place about assistance being offered to submit benefit claims to ensure all entitlements were received and that the Officer was now the single point of contact for the service.  The Health & Wellbeing Board were developing a Charter to review the process and offer a more integrated service when dealing with cross cutting social care issues and this was due to be launched in the new municipal year.

 

58.4    In terms of increased work in relation to the audit function, the Audit Partnership Manager assured the Committee that the situation would be risk assessed the same as any other service area and that Audit would provide a report to Senior Managers and the Committee.   

 

58.5    The Head of Housing and Customer Services reported that Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks had been occasioned for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) by both IBC and Suffolk County Council.  The Audit Partnership Manager had suggested this be undertaken and would follow up on this suggestion.  The head of Housing and Customer Services reported that he intended to look into this even though it was a regulated area which would require information from landlords.

 

            Resolved:

 

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

 

1.    NNDR Localisation: 2014-15 (RM0005)

2.    PARIS IT Key Controls: 2014-15 (RM010)

3.    Homelessness: 2014-15 (HCS004)

59.

AG/14/29 Audit & Governance Committee Future Work Programme 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

59.1    The Audit Partnership Manager stated that the items on the Work Programme were cross referenced to the CIPFA, Public Sector Internal Audit Standards guidance or were extended items as dictated by the Terms of Reference of the Audit & Governance Committee.

 

59.2    The following items were requested:

·         An Ipswich Museums cataloguing update (September meeting)

·         Further information about the IBC pension fund. (During 2015/16, Suffolk County Council Pensions Officers to be invited)

 

Resolved:

 

that the Audit & Governance Work Programme 2015/16, with the two additional items detailed above, be agreed.

60.

AG/14/23 External Audit Plan 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 34 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

60.1    The Head of Resource Management presented this item in the absence of Mr Julian Rickett of PricewaterhouseCoopers and drew Members attention to the overall materiality levels and the audit fees set by the Audit Commission.

 

60.2    In response to a question about extension testing and the fees resulting from this the Audit Partnership Manager replied that extension testing was obligatory; if errors were found an assessment would be required in line with the set methodology of all external Auditors.    

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be received and noted.

61.

AG/14/24 Annual Certification Report 2013/14 pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

61.1    The Head of Resource Management also presented this report in the absence of Mr Rickett and made reference to the two claims certified as a result of the work undertaken.  Details were set out in the Matters Arising and Management Action Plan in respect of the qualification letter for BEN01 – Housing Benefit Subsidy and the late submission of the pooling of Housing Capital Receipts for CFB06.  It was clarified that the SRP Operations Manager, Benefits should be the ‘Owner’ under the Management Response for CFB06.  

 

61.2    In response to a question as to why the rate of error within the extension testing for BEN01 had been classed as ‘high’, in light of the budget being £54m overall, the Head of Resource Management agreed to seek a response on this matter from Mr Rickett.  The Audit Partnership Manager gave an explanation of how testing could occur in a transition phase and therefore due to the magnitude of the work undertaken an unrealistic finding could result and the Head of Resource Management agreed to send details of the sampling information to the Committee.     

 

61.3    In the absence of the External Auditor, an explanation about the eligible overpayment misclassification, receiving a 40% subsidy, was unable to be answered.

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the report be received and noted.

62.

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 paragraph 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 199(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 as it is likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling with paragraphs 1 & 3 of the Schedule 12A of the Act.

63.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2014

Minutes:

            Resolved:

 

            that the exempt minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2014, be signed as a true record.