Agenda for Audit and Governance Committee on Wednesday 20th March, 2019, 3.00 pm

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room - Bootle Town Hall, Trinity Road, Bootle, L20 7AE. View directions

Contact: Ruth Appleby  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

40.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

 

41.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested at a meeting where a disclosable pecuniary interest or personal interest arises, which is not already included in their Register of Members' Interests, todeclare any interests that relate to an item on the agenda.

 

Where a Member discloses a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, he/she must withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest, except where he/she is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of a dispensation.

 

Where a Member discloses a personal interest he/she must seek advice from the Monitoring Officer or staff member representing the Monitoring Officer to determine whether the Member should withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest or whether the Member can remain in the meeting or remain in the meeting and vote on the relevant decision.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of any disclosable pecuniary interests or personal interests were received.

 

42.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 5 December 2018

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 5 December 2018 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

43.

External Audit Planning Report 2018-2019 pdf icon PDF 6 MB

Report of the Council's External Auditors - Ernst and Young LLP

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by Ernst and Young LLP, the Council's external auditors, setting out an overview of the 2018/19 audit strategy including an assessment of key risks and a planned audit strategy in response to those risks. The report included details of the company’s fees.

 

Messrs Hassan Rohimum and Richard Tyler representing Ernst and Young LLP, presented the External Audit Plan, highlighting the following significant accounting and auditing matters and risks identified and responses, outlined in the report, and answered questions thereon:

 

·       Risk of fraud in revenue and expenditure recognition;

·       Misstatements due to fraud or error;

·       Valuation of land and buildings;

·       Pension liability valuation

·       Implementation of new accounting standards

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the External Audit Planning report 2018/19 be noted.

 

44.

Local Government Audit Committee Briefing Paper pdf icon PDF 6 MB

Report of the Council’s External Auditors – Ernst and Young LLP

Minutes:

The Committee considered a briefing paper submitted by the Council’s External Auditors – Ernst and Young LLP, providing a general briefing, primarily for information, for the Audit and Governance Committee on government and economic news; accounting, auditing and governance; regulation news; key questions for the Audit and Governance Committee; and links to further information.

 

Messrs Hassan Rohimum and Richard Tyler representing Ernst and Young LLP, presented the briefing paper and answered questions thereon.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Local Government Audit Committee Briefing paper be noted.

 

45.

Local Government Ethical Standards pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Corporate Resources which informed Members of the outcome of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) review of Local Government Ethical Standards.

 

Mr Richard Clegg, Principal Lawyer, Corporate Resources, presented the report, indicating that the CSPL report ran to over 100 pages and made 26 recommendations (listed in paragraph 2.1 of the report), the majority of which identified the Government as the responsible body for implementing the recommendation. The report also made 15 recommendations for ‘Best Practice’ (listed in paragraph 3 of the report), for implementation by Local Authorities, which would be subject to review in 2020.

 

Arising from discussion, the following issues were raised:

 

·       an inherent weakness of the standards framework was the lack of clarity and continuity across local authorities, with each Council having a different scheme. Members concurred that it would be preferable and more manageable if the framework for local government standards could be applied uniformly across all local authorities and not left to the discretion of each individual authority.

 

·       Should there be a definition of bullying / harassment?  The use of examples was felt to be less limiting than a single definition.

 

·       Concern that the standards framework was often used as a tool with which to ‘beat up’ opposition Councillors.

 

·       Best Practice 11 – relating to parish councils - the recommendation might benefit from a change of wording – replacing the word ‘discretion’ with ‘be encouraged’ to introduce this best practice.

 

·       The report would benefit further consideration by the respective political group whips.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the report and contents of the review be noted;

 

(2)

with the above suggested amendment to the wording of the recommendation in Best Practice 11, the actions contained within paragraph 3 in relation to Best Practice recommendations be endorsed;

 

(3)

the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer and Monitoring Officer be requested to pass on the Committee’s recommendation that the framework for local government standards be applied uniformly across all local authorities and not left to the discretion of individual authorities; and

 

(4)

the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer / Monitoring Officer be requested to take the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) review of Local Government Ethical Standards for further comment and recommendation by the political group Whips.

 

 

46.

Revenue and Capital Budget Update - Treasury Management Position to January 2019 pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 35 of 5 December 2018, the Committee considered the report of the Head of Corporate Resources which provided a review of the Treasury Management activities undertaken to 31 January 2019.  This was the third of the ongoing quarterly monitoring reports provided to the Audit and Governance Committee whose role it is to carry out scrutiny of treasury management policies and practices.

 

Mr Thomas Walmsley, Service Manager, presented the report and answered questions thereon.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the Treasury Management update to 31 January 2019 be noted; and

 

(2)

the effects of decisions taken in pursuit of Treasury Management Strategy and the implications of changes resulting from regulatory, economic and market factors affecting the Council’s treasury management activities, be noted.

 

 

47.

Corporate Risk Management pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 36 of 5 December 2018, the Committee considered the report of the Head of Corporate Resources on the updated Corporate Risk Register, indicating that since the last meeting the Corporate Risk Register had been fully updated, with one risk closed, one risk escalated and no new risks identified.

 

Mr David Eden, Chief Internal Auditor, presented the report and answered questions thereon, including a request for the opening paragraph of the report to name the risks that had been closed and escalated and any new risks identified.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the contents of the Corporate Risk Register, particularly the nature of the major risks facing the Council and the controls and planned actions in place to mitigate these be noted;

 

(2)

the updated Corporate Risk Register be approved; and

 

 

(3)

the opening paragraph of future reports to name risks that have been closed and escalated and any new risks identified, be approved.

 

 

48.

Risk and Audit Service Performance Report pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 37 of 5 December 2018, the Committee considered the report of Head of Corporate Resources which provided details of the performance and key activities of the Risk and Audit Service for the period 22 November 2018 to 7 March 2019.

 

Mr David Eden, Chief Internal Auditor, presented the report and answered questions thereon.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the progress of in the delivery of the 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan and the activity undertaken for the period 22 November 2018 to 7 March 2019, be noted; and

 

(2)

the contributions made by the Health and Safety, Insurance and Risk and Resilience Teams in managing key risks be noted.

 

49.

Internal Audit Charter and Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Internal Auditor on the Internal Audit Charter and Internal Audit Plan 2019/20.

 

Mr David Eden, Chief Internal Auditor presented the report and answered questions thereon.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Internal Audit Charter and Internal Audit Plan 2019/20 be approved.

 

 

50.

CIPFA - Audit Committee Briefing Report pdf icon PDF 286 KB

Briefing Report - Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA)

Minutes:

The Committee considered an Audit Committee Update report (Issue 27 – February 2019) entitled ‘Helping Audit Committees to be Effective’, by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting (CIPFA).

 

The report provided details of recent reports from external auditors, in particular, the National Audit Office report on Local Authority Governance. It also provided details of local audit arrangements in the light of recent developments, stating that an understanding of the work of external auditors was a key responsibility of audit committees, and supporting and overseeing the organisation’s response to the auditor recommendations was an essential role for the committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the CIPFA Audit Committee Update Report (Issue 27 – February 2019), be noted.