Agenda and draft minutes

Audit & Governance Committee
Tuesday 26th February 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room, Grafton House

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  01473 432510

Items
No. Item

48.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for Absence were received from Councillor Fisher.

49.

Unconfirmed Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 11 December 2018.

 

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 11 December 2018 be signed as a true record.

50.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

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

51.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

52.

AG/18/25 External Audit - Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

52.1.    Vicky Chong, External Auditor, provided a summary of the Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report 2017/18.

 

52.2.    With regards to the Housing Benefits Subsidy Claims a small number of errors had been found and further testing had been carried out. Following the amendments made as a result of the testing, the subsidy claim had decreased by £16,533. All findings had been recorded in the qualification letter to the Department of Work & Pensions and although there had been some errors, due to the high value claim and the complexity of housing benefit assessments, this had not been unusual. Ms Chong confirmed that the level of error had been slightly higher compared to other Council’s however, this had been due to a specific issue identified where an overpayment had been incorrectly brought forward from the previous year.

 

52.3.    Certification of the Housing Capital Receipt had also been undertaken and no issues had been recorded for the Committee’s attention. Ms Chong confirmed that Earnest & Young Auditors would be undertaking the Housing Subsidy work for Ipswich Borough Council in 2018/19.

 

52.4.    Ms Chong confirmed that should the DWP require further work to be undertaken, discussion would take place with the Council’s finance department to agree the scope and timeline for this.

 

Resolved:

 

that the report be noted.

53.

AG/18/26 Review of Corporate Risk Register 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

53.1.    Shirley Jarlett, Head of People & Governance, confirmed that the Corporate Management Team had recently reviewed the Corporate Risk Register and identified some small amendments. An additional risk had been added with regards to the impact which Brexit could have, however there was some uncertainty at this time around what affect this would have. Ms Jarlett agreed to feedback via email further information around this.

   Action: Shirley Jarlett, Head of People & Governance, to forward         further information with regards to how the Council was preparing           for the impact of ‘Brexit’ to the Audit & Governance Committee.

 

53.2.    Consideration continued to be given on business continuity management and all senior Officers had been asked to update and refine the list of mission critical systems in place and confirm the expectation as to when their availability would be.

 

53.3.    Ms Jarlett confirmed that the timescales for control measures amended as per the Corporate Code of Governance and Business Framework was due to be completed in July 2019 for 18/19. The People Strategy had also been approved at the September 2018 Council meeting.

 

53.4.    Ms Jarlett agreed to forward the Right to Buy Critical Dates via email to the Committee. 

Action: Ms Jarlett to forward the Right to Buy Critical Dates via email to the Audit & Governance Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the updated Corporate Risk Register attached at Appendix 1 be agreed.

54.

AG/18/27 Financial Management and Control: Corporate Budget Monitoring 2018/19 Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 580 KB

Minutes:

54.1.    Mr John Chance, Head of Finance & Revenues, reported on the Corporate Budget Monitoring and confirmed that the General Fund was forecast to be within budget with an underspend of approximately £1.4m and the Housing Revenue account and SRP account had also reported small underspends. Mr Chance confirmed that both the East Villa build and Crown Car Park costs had been factored into the next financial quarter.

 

54.2.    With regards to procurement savings, Mr Chance advised that it was anticipated that savings would be made next year and the Council continued to work to cleanse and prepare the contracts register. It was also expected that the upgrade to the Agresso Financial system would help identify future savings.

 

54.3.    Councillor Phillips requested further information with regards to the project investments and rental income and which buildings these related to.

Action: Mr Chance to email which building related to the project investments and rental income detailed in the report.

 

54.4.    Mr Chance agreed to email clarification around the £25,000 contribution to Community House and whether this included the funding provided in Priory Heath ward.

Action: Mr Chance to email clarification around the £25,000 contribution to Community House and if this included the funding provided in Priory Heath ward.

 

54.5.    Mr Chance agreed to forward further information with regards to the ‘one off’ £10k Housing payment in Appendix 4 of the report.

Action: Mr Chance to email further information with regards to the ‘one off’ £10k Housing payment referred to in Appendix 4 of the report.

 

54.6.    It was confirmed that the grant received from the DWP of £53,000 had been provided to help manage the costs of the Shared Revenues Partnership and to support various aspects of Universal Credit. As the grants could not be predicted it would be difficult for the service to expend this. Mr Chance agreed to forward further information about what the grants comprised via email.

Action: Mr Chance to email further information regarding the grants received from the DWP.

 

54.7.    Mr Chance agreed to provide further information regarding the Write Off referred to in 17.1 of the report.

Action: Mr Chance to email further information with regards to the Write Off referred to in 17.1 of the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the report be noted.

55.

AG/18/28 Internal Audit - Annual Audit Plan 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

55.1.    Siobhan Martin, Head of Audit, provided an overview of the Internal Audit –Annual Audit Plan 2019/20 and confirmed that the same methodology had been used as in previous years. Although a number of services had been programmed in, the Audit & Governance Committee could also request other areas of interest be considered throughout the year.

 

55.2.    Ms Martin outlined some of the key areas which would be considered over the course of the year including Corporate Governance, the National Fraud Initiative, Ethical Reviews, CCTV and the Income Management System. 

 

55.3.    Ms Martin advised that the plan would also be adapted to include any requests from Heads of Service who may request reviews into their areas for assurance purposes.

 

55.4.     Ms Martin confirmed that with regards to how internal audit checks would be undertaken on Houses of Multiple Occupation, a scope would be agreed and this would consider what processes had been changed to be compliant with the new laws expected to come into place and sample testing would be undertaken throughout.

 

55.5.    Ms Martin confirmed that discussions had been held with the external auditors regarding the Council Owned Companies and it had been agreed that internal audit would not undertaken any action on this whilst external audit considered this.  However, should assurances be required throughout the year due to arising issues, this could be undertaken.

 

55.6.    It was confirmed that the Council had been trialling the use of electric cars within the selection of pool cars available for employees and this would continue.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the Internal Audit Plan for 2019-20 attached at Appendix 1 be approved.

56.

AG/18/29 Corporate Fraud Business Plan 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

56.1.    Ms Martin confirmed that the Corporate Fraud Business Plan 2019/20 set out the key activities which the Corporate Fraud Team would be undertaking over the year which had been aligned to the common themes set out within a number of strategies including the Cipfa Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally 2016-2019.

 

56.2.    A number of areas would be covered throughout the year including Housing and Procurement and focus would be placed on the areas where the national fraud indicators had shown most fraudulent activity took place such as subletting and insurance.

 

56.3.    The Council had been fortunate to have an in-house Corporate Fraud Team including Qualified Financial Investigators which was a huge advantage.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the Corporate Fraud Business Plan 2019-20 attached at Appendix 1 be endorsed.

57.

AG/18/30 Anti-Fraud & Corruption Strategy pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

57.1.    Ms Martin reported that the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy 2019 had been created to provide an overview of the key elements taking place within the Council and detailed how work was undertaken to mitigate against fraud and corruption following national best practice.

 

57.2.    Many referrals, from both the public and staff, came via the Fraud Hotline and any information would be considered with full confidentiality. The Strategy included details of all possible sanctions available to the Council and the work undertaken by both the Enforcement Team and Legal Services.

 

57.3.    Ms Martin confirmed that interviews are conducted and advised that the administrative penalty was when the Council sought recovery of full payment and then charged a penalty fee. However, an escalation system was in place with all possible sanctions.

 

57.4.    It was confirmed that a future briefing session be held for all Councillors regarding Fraud within the Council and how suspicious activity could be reported.

Action: A Councillor Briefing session to be arranged regarding Fraud within the Council and how to report suspicious activity.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the Anti Fraud and Corruption Strategy attached at Appendix 1 be noted.

58.

AG/18/31 Audit & Governance Committee Future Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

58.1.    It was agreed that the Asset Management Strategy review would be undertaken later this year and an update on this would be provided at the December 2019 meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the Audit & Governance Committee Future Work Programme 2019/20 be noted.

59.

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 paragraphs 3 and 4 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 that item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined within paragraphs 3 and 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

60.

Unconfirmed Exempt Minutes of Previous Meeting

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the Exempt Minutes of the Meeting held on 11 December 2018 be signed as a true record.

 

61.

AG/18/32 Internal Audit Reports Recently Issued

Minutes:

61.1.    Ms Martin reported that all recommendations had been completed bar one following the Transparency Agenda audit.

 

61.2.    Both Uniform Data review and IT Governance had been rated ‘Adequate’ with the timescales for completion still open. The second recommendation for IT Governance had been extended to March 2019 where it was anticipated that this would then be completed.

 

61.3.    Ms Ashdown, Audit Manager, confirmed that the £15,500 costs for the smart phone application related to the Skyguard app which was used for Officers when lone working. This used to be a ‘fob’ but had recently been upgraded to smart phone.

 

61.4.    The Project Management review had been rated ‘Limited’ and further improvements would be required within this area. There had been a number of recommendations made and Corporate Management had been involved.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the Audit and Governance Committee note the contents of the following Audit Reports:

 

1.    Transparency Agenda [CC012]

2.    Right to Buy Advice and Guidance [HCS031]

3.    Uniform Data Review [DEV001]

4.    IT Governance [FR018]

5.    Project Management [CC013]