Agenda and minutes

Audit & Governance Committee - Tuesday 29th August 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room, Grafton House

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor J Powell.

20.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 June 2017 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 27 June 2017, be signed as a true record.

21.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

21.1    Councillor Leeder declared an interest as he was a Director of IPSERV Limited.  Councillor J Cook declared an interest in AG/17/13 Financial Management & Control, Corporate Budget Monitoring – First Quarter 2017/18 as he was a Director of the East of England Co-operative Society Ltd.

22.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Order of Business be as printed on the agenda.

23.

To Confirm the Dates of the Meetings:

·         Tuesday 12 December 2017

·         Tuesday 27 February 2018

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

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

24.

Museums Service Update

Minutes:

24.1    Mr Bill Seaman, the Museums Arts and Culture Manager of the Colchester & Ipswich Museums Service updated the Committee about the catalogue recording which had been identified as being required to ensure that accurate records were maintained.  Good progress had been made as additional funding had been awarded through the grant aid programme from December 2015 to March 2017. 

 

24.2    Funding had been awarded from 2018 – 2022 by the Arts Council England to National Portfolio Organisations and this would allow for the dedicated staff to continue and volunteers to be trained in the cataloguing.  The four stages to the cataloguing were confirmed as scoping, detailing, reconciliation to the records and updating when items were used in exhibitions.

 

24.3    The progress was currently half completed with 25,000 objects being identified but it was confirmed that it would be three or four more years until the process was complete.  Cataloguing had started with the most important items which were on display but some items had resulted in some discrepancy against the documentation which meant that more research had been required.  The advantage to the in depth recording would be that some items would be available to view online with images and video clips being available and a list of when items which had been on loan would be included. 

 

24.4    The Chair thanked Mr Seaman for his attendance.

25.

AG/17/11 Statement of Accounts 2016/17 and the Annual Report to Those Charged With Governance pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

25.1   Mr Tom Minnican, Operations Manager Finance who was also the Deputy 151 Officer presented this report and confirmed that there had been no changes made to the financial outturn for 2016/17 since the report had been submitted to Executive on 19 June 2017.

 

25.2   Councillor Leeder asked for more context around the unexpected use of reserves variance and the revised budget for planned savings.  The Chief Operating Officer said that the investment income related to lending and interest of wholly owned company income since the budget had originally been set.  The planned savings would be from the Big Ticket items such as the Customer Access Strategy and when this year’s progress was considered (as it was still early in the process) overall the position was not a bad one.       

 

25.3   Councillor Phillips asked what the backdated business rates refund for Culture & Environment had been for and the Chief Operating Officer said that this had been a long standing revaluation of the Crematorium and while advantageous this would not be an annual rebate.  He also asked what the £13,829m borrowing had been for and the Officer said that nothing had been borrowed during the year, it had been the debt carried forward. 

 

25.4   Councillor Phillips asked what the major prosecution for breach of the Health & Safety at Work had been for and the Officer said that this referred to a successful prosecution by the IBC’s Environmental Health Team where a fine had been levied.

 

25.5   Within the Housing Revenue Account, Councillor Phillips requested more information about the ‘Existing Use Social Housing Value which represented 38% of their market value’ and the Operations Manager, Finance & Procurement agreed to report back to the Committee about this.

 

25.6   Mr Hanson expressed concern about the amount of uncollectable debt written off as at 31 March 2017 which amounted to £41,758 and the Head of Finance agreed to supply more details to the Committee.  In response to a request about how many IBC tenants there were, the Chief Operating Officer confirmed that there were 7,500 tenants.

 

25.7   Councillor Knowles asked whether the value of the defined benefit obligation would have a significant impact on the Council’s finances and the Chair said that this would not impact on the day to day running of the Council.  Councillor Knowles also asked what the mortality assumptions for 2017/18 were and the Chief Operating Officer said that the assumptions were actuary reviews of the pension scheme from Pension Officers.     

 

25.8   Councillor Fisher asked whether the transitional vacancies listed in the General Fund were vacancies which needed to be filled and the Chief Operating Officer said that there were a number of posts which were vacant due to a large corporate restructure and during the next year a zero based budget would be undertaken to look at better managing any vacant posts.  Councillor Fisher also asked what the miscellaneous items referred to and what the cash held by Officers was and the Officer said that the miscellaneous items varied dependent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

AG/17/12 Code of Corporate Governance & Annual Governance Statement 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

26.1    The Chief Operating Officer said that the Code of Corporate Governance and the Annual Governance Statement were produced annually in line with the principles of the CIPFA/SOLACE framework.  Appendices 1 and 2 detailed the Code of Corporate Governance and the Annual Governance Statement year ended 31 March 2017 respectively.

 

26.2    The Officer reported that the ‘People Strategy’ had been delayed until after the Corporate Plan had been completed and would look to identify the skills required commercially within the workforce and the way communities engaged e.g. societal expectation.

 

26.3    The Chair asked whether the implementation of open data and transparent good practice on the website had improved and the Officer said that the open data and webpages, especially in relation to the Freedom of Information scheme, had been reviewed to ensure that there was a reduction in the number of times the same question was answered.

 

26.4    Councillor Leeder asked how the requirement equated to the wholly owned companies and the Officer said that although they were classed as separate Freedom of Information authorities, commercially sensitive information would be treated exactly the same.     

 

26.5    Councillor Fisher asked when and how the accounts of the wholly owned companies would be submitted to the shareholder and the Officer said that the shareholder was Executive, the companies had separate Auditors to the Borough Council and scrutiny would be for the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to consider. 

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the Code of Corporate Governance and the Annual Governance Statement for the year ended 31 March 2017, be noted prior to their submission to Council for the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council to sign and date the Governance Statement.

27.

AG/17/13 Financial Management & Control, Corporate Budget Monitoring - First Quarter 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 249 KB

Minutes:

27.1    The Head of Finance & Revenues reported that £320k of savings had been identified within the Shared Revenues Partnership which meant that the year-end position would be breakeven for 2017/18.  Councillor J Cook asked whether, should a SRP overspend occur how would this be dealt with and the Chief Operating Officer said that any costs would be apportioned pro rata.  

 

27.2    Councillor Leeder asked why the transitional vacancies were not put against Big Ticket items and the Chief Operating Officer said that they had been treated as one-offs due to natural turnover and a zero based budget approach rather than accruing a large underspend.      

 

27.3    Councillor Phillips asked what RBI stood for and the Head of Finance & Revenues agreed to report this back to the Committee and the Chief Operating Officer explained why the growth provision of £75k per annum had been allocated to the Medium Term Financial Plan 2017/18.

 

27.4    Mr Hanson pointed out that it had been minuted at the last meeting that he had asked for more information about ‘Money Market Funds’ to be supplied about the range of the investments however, none had been offered.

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the Audit & Governance Committee recommends to Executive:

 

1.    that the service budget performance be noted and the resulting budget changes for the General Fund, be recommended for approval.

 

Reason:  To facilitate effective budgetary control and forecasting.

 

2.    that the transfer of £26k pa from the unallocated growth contingency (75k pa) to the Corporate Events Programme, as detailed in Paragraph 17.2 of report Ref no: AG/17/13, be recommended for approval.

 

Reason: To enable an improved programme to be delivered.

 

3.    that the service budget performance be noted and the resulting budget changes made for the Housing Revenue Account be recommended for approval.

 

Reason:  To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

4.    that the service budget performance be noted and the resulting budget changes for the Shared Revenues Partnership (SRP) be recommended for approval.

 

Reason:  To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

5.    that the position on the 2017/18 and future years Capital Programme and financing resources, be noted.

 

Reason:  To facilitate effective budgetary control.

 

6.    that the position in respect of the Council’s Treasury Management activities during 2017/18, be noted.

 

Reason:  To facilitate effective treasury management activity.

28.

AG/17/14 Internal Audit Reports - Recently Issued pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

28.1    Housing Rents 2016-17

Mr Hanson asked for more details about the ‘Cash collected from Travellers sites’ and the Head of Internal Audit agreed to supply more information.   

 

IBC Housing Benefits 2016-17

The Head of Internal Audit confirmed that the Assistant Business Support Accountant now undertook reconciliation of housing benefits on a monthly basis, overseen by the Business Support Accountant so the recommendation had now been completed successfully.  Councillor Phillips expressed concern about the amount of irrecoverable overpayments and the Officer said that any overpayments which were irrecoverable would be due to a set of particular circumstances. 

 

Resolved:

 

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

 

1.     NNDR 2016-17 (SRPi034)

2.     Creditors 2016-17 (RM034)

3.     Payroll 2016-17 (RM037)

4.     Housing Rents 2016-17 (HC018)

5.     Choice Based Lettings (HCS016)

6.     IHMS ICT Key Controls 2016-17 (HCS017)

7.     Housing Benefits 2016-17 (SRPi012)

8.     Disabled Facilities Grant (HCS028)

29.

AG/17/15 Audit & Governance Committee Future Work Programme 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Audit & Governance Future Work Programme 2017, be noted.

30.

Exclusion of Public

To consider excluding the public (including the Press) from the meeting during consideration of the following items under section 100 (A) of the Local Government Act 1972 as it was 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 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 as it was likely that if members of the public were present during the item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraphs 3 & 4 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

31.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of the meeting held on 27 June 2017

32.

AG/17/16 Internal Audit Exempt Reports - Recently Issued