Agenda and minutes

Audit & Governance Committee - Tuesday 2nd June 2015 6.00 pm

Venue: Orwell Room, Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that Councillor J Cook be elected as Chair for the 2015/16 municipal year.

 

Resolved:

 

that Councillor A Leeder be elected as Vice-Chair for the 2015/16 municipal year.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

2.1      Apologies for absence were received from Councillors A Leeder and R Hyde-Chambers.

3.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 March 2015 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 3 March 2015, be signed as a true record.

4.

To confirm the dates of the next meetings:

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.

5.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

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

6.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

7.

AG/15/01 Corporate Fraud - Annual Report 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Minutes:

7.1      The Audit Partnership Manager presented this report and confirmed that £655,000 of benefit related overpayments through fraud or error were discovered during investigation.  This exceeded the target set for the year.

 

7.2      Most of the fraud team had transferred to the Single Fraud Investigation Service at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on 1 May 2015 and would now be responsible for investigating Housing Benefit Fraud.  Two full time Corporate Fraud Officer posts would be retained to operate within the Audit Partnership Service and would investigate all other forms of fraud at the Council.

 

7.3      Discussion took place about the investigations which had directly resulted in 25 ‘Right to Buy’ applications being withdrawn and how the time was allocated across all three Councils i.e. Ipswich Borough Council, Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils. 

 

7.4      The Audit Partnership Manager confirmed that prosecution levels were dependent on the level of evidence involved in bringing a legal case to Court and a report with an annual response summary would still be submitted to the Audit & Governance Committee about recovery rates from the Head of the Shared Revenues Partnership. 

 

7.5      It was acknowledged that there could be an increase in ‘Right to Buy’ applications going forward given national direction and that the work of the two Corporate Fraud Officers could be a growth area but the resource would be monitored.

 

7.6      The Audit Partnership Manager explained how referrals were received and investigated after a risk matrix had been applied to assess the intelligence received against each case. 

 

7.7      The Chair, on behalf of the Audit & Governance Committee extended his thanks to the employees of the Corporate Fraud Team who had transferred to the DWP for their past work and wished them well for their future.   

 

            Resolved:

 

that the performance of the Corporate Fraud Service for the financial year ending March 2015, be noted.

8.

AG/15/02 Annual Internal Audit Report 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.1      The Audit Partnership Manager presented this report and confirmed that there had been no instances of whistleblowing during 2014/15 and in her opinion, reasonable assurance could be placed on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s systems of governance, risk management and internal control in the year to 31 March 2015. 

 

8.2      The five areas where governance and controls were thought to be weak were Procurement, Business Continuity, Contract Management, Project Management and Partnerships.  An improvement action plan had been drawn up as part of the assurance process which was monitored within the Corporate Risk Register and captured within the Annual Governance Statement. 

 

8.3      The Head of Resource Management gave the following updates:

 

            Procurement

 

            The main audit recommendation was around the Procurement Strategy.  As Procurement was currently part of a cross cutting review, which was due to be completed around September 2015, a revised strategy would then be developed before being submitted to Executive for approval.  It was considered that this should be complete by December 2015.

 

            Business Continuity

 

            There had been issues in identifying a suitable site for a back-up recovery centre however, this had now been resolved and it should be functional by the end of July 2015.

 

            Contract Management

 

            The key issues were monitoring and the adequacy of the e-sourcing system.  This has been considered and monitored by the Corporate Management Team and significant progress had been made.

 

            Project Management

 

            The Audit had not identified any specific issues with any of the large projects which were monitored by the Corporate Management Team (CMT).  However, CMT were aware of issues with smaller projects and actions were progressing. 

 

            Partnerships

 

            It was considered that the definition of what a partnership was, needed to be firmed up and this would be monitored via action points.

 

8.4      In response to questions by Councillor Knowles, the Audit Partnership Manager confirmed that an Ipswich Museums cataloguing update would be considered at the September meeting and that there was no expectation to revisit Individual Electoral Registration during 2015/16.

 

8.5      In response to a question by Councillor Pope, it was agreed that the Committee should be updated on the progress of these areas at its December meeting as part of its regular ‘Status of Recommendations’ report.

 

            Resolved:

 

1.    that the Internal Audit performance/outturn for 2014/15, be noted.

 

2.    that the Head of Internal Audit’s Annual Audit Opinion for 2014/15, be noted. 

9.

AG/15/03 Treasury Management Performance 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

9.1      The Finance and Procurement Operations Manager presented this report required under the CIPFA Treasury Management Code of Practice.  He confirmed that the ‘counterparties’ the Council were able to invest with comprised of a list of institutions who had been risk assessed prior to the commencement of any business being undertaken and that hedge funds were never used.

 

9.2      The difference between a maturity loan and an annuity and that by borrowing for the purchase of Grafton House, Ipswich Borough Council would directly gain a revenue benefit every year was explained.  In respect of the six loans taken out for the purchase of the Sugar Beet site it was explained that this would minimise the cost of borrowing in respect of when land would be sold off in the future.  

  

            Resolved:

 

that the Treasury Management Operations for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015, be noted.

10.

AG/15/04 Internal Audit - Recently Issued Reports pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            Resolved:

 

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

 

1.          Debtors (RM002)

            2.         RAM IT Key Controls (RM011)

3.         NRB IT Key Controls (SRPi004)

11.

AG/15/05 Audit & Governance Committee Future Work Programme 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Audit & Governance Committee Work Programme 2015/16, be agreed.

 

 

12.

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 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.

13.

AG/15/06 Internal Audit - Recently Issued Reports NFP

14.

AG/15/07 Internal Audit - Status of Recommendations NFP