Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall - Bridge Street, Bideford, EX39 2HS. View directions

Contact: Tom Vanstone - Democratic Services  Email: tom.vanstone@torridge.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

17.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Confirmation of Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 June 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on the 12 June 2018 were presented.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded by Councillor Julian and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the minutes be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

(Vote: For - Unanimous)

 

18.

Declaration of Interests

Members with interests should refer to the agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is considered.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

19.

Agreement of Agenda Items Part I and II

Minutes:

The Agenda as circulated was agreed.

 

20.

Urgent Matters Brought Forward with the Permission of the Chair

Minutes:

There were no urgent matters brought forward.

 

The Strategic Manager (Resources) advised of a change in the Agenda order.   Agenda item 9 to be brought forward and presented prior to Agenda item 6.

21.

Report on Going Concern pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To receive a report from the Strategic Manager (Resources)

 

Minutes:

The Strategic Manager (Resources) presented the report, the purpose of which was for Members to consider the S151 Officers’ assessment of the Council as a “going concern” in light of the closure of the Statement of Accounts for 2017/18.

 

A brief discussion ensued on the homelessness provisions and the related increasing costs to the Council.  

 

Members noted the report.

22.

ISA260 AUDIT FINDINGS REPORT 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 607 KB

To receive a report from the Grant Thornton Audit Manager

Minutes:

The report had been circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting.

 

Geraldine Daly from Grant Thornton presented the Audit Findings report for the year ending 31 March 2018.   She explained this year the timetable had required Officers to provide the draft Statements one month earlier.  

 

A detailed presentation of the report was given with the key issues arising from the statutory audit being highlighted.   It was expected that by Thursday of this week all work would be completed and an Unqualified Audit Opinion would be given.

 

Geraldine Daly referred the Committee to “Independence and Ethics” -  a non-audit service had been identified, details of which were included in the report.   It was confirmed that the External Auditors for the Authority had remained independent throughout this audit.

 

Questions were asked and duly answered during the presentation of this item.

 

Geraldine Daly thanked the Strategic Manager (Resources) and the financial team for being so responsive to the Auditors over a very short period.  She also thanked the Grant Thornton Audit Team who had worked closely with the Finance Team, and acknowledged the hard work undertaken by both team.

 

Members noted the report.

 

  

23.

PRESENTATION OF THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

To receive a verbal update and Financial Statement 2017/18 from the Strategic Manager (Resources)

Minutes:

The Strategic Manager (Resources) stated that at the last Audit & Governance Committee meeting held on 12 June, Members had received a copy of the draft financial statements.

 

Since that meeting an audit had taken place with only a small number of minor changes having been made with nothing that changed the outturn position.   These changes had been included in the Audit Findings report, and therefore no separate copies of the statements had been produced but were available for Members if they wished to see them.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hackett, seconded by Councillor Himan that the Financial Statements be approved.

 

(Vote:  For -  Unanimous)

24.

APPROVAL OF THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2018

The Committee to approve the Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2018 and authorise the signing of:

·         The Letter of Representation

·         The Financial Statements by the Chair of the meeting

  • The Annual Governance Statement by the Chair of Audit & Governance Committee, the Statutory Finance Officer, Leader of the Council and  Head of Paid Service 

 

Minutes:

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, a copy of the Letter of Representation had been circulated to the Committee.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hackett, seconded by Councillor Hellyer and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the Committee approve the Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2018 and authorise the signing of:

 

·         The Letter of Representation by the Strategic Manager (Resources) and Chair of the meeting

·         The Financial Statements by the Chair of the meeting

 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)

 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hackett, seconded by Councillor Julian and –

 

Resolved:

 

·         That the Annual Governance Statement be signed by the Chair of Audit & Governance Committee, the Statutory Finance Officer, Leader of the Council and Head of Paid Service

 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)

25.

APPOINTMENT OF REPORTING ACCOUNTANT FOR HOUSING BENEFIT SUBSIDY 2018-19

To receive a verbal update from the Strategic Manager (Resources)

Minutes:

The Strategic Manager (Resources) gave a verbal update regarding the appointment OF A Reporting Accountant for Housing Benefit Subsidy 2018-19.

 

The Committee were informed of the changes to the process from 2018-19.  Through the Audit Appointment Process Grant Thornton had been appointed as Auditors for the Authority for the next five years.  

 

From 2018-19 the Certification work became a separate process allowing Local Authorities to appoint their own Auditors.   This does not require a formal appointment by Committee.

 

The Strategic Manager (Resources) advised the Committee that a decision had been made to appoint Grant Thornton for 2018-19 to carry out this work.

 

 

 

26.

Update on Health & Safety Audit 2017/18

To receive a verbal update from the Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager

Minutes:

The Audit & Governance Committee at the meeting on 12 June, had resolved to invite the Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager to attend and give an update on the risks identified in the Audit report.

 

The Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager gave a comprehensive verbal update on each area that had been identified.

 

The update included the following :

 

·         Health & Safety – Policies now with Head of Paid Service and Leader for review and signature

 

·         Currently working on a number of procedures, ie lone working, violence, accident reporting etc. identified as being most needed for review.  It is hoped to have these reviewed and published within the next six weeks.

 

·         Red item – Resource gap for health and safety work at the Council.  A nominated Health & Safety advisor is only part time, the other role of the advisor takes up a lot of his time.   Senior Management Team had realised the seriousness of the situation and had agreed to find an external resource.  Currently looking at determining what priority areas external assistance would be looking at.  Discussions had taken place with the Harbour Board to determine whether any further assistance is required in that area.  Resources will be made available, now looking at how best to use the additional assistance.

 

·         Risk Assessments – Policies being updated and reviewed with all Operational Management Teams to establish whether their own Policies are sufficient.

 

·         Training – meeting with new HR Officer.   Looking to identify training needs across the Authority, and will also look at what health and safety requirements will come out of that process. 

 

·         Reporting of accidents, a review is ongoing

 

·         Risk Registers – Attend Corporate Risk Management Group meetings on a regular basis to give updates.

 

Following the discussion the Environmental Health & Community Safety Officer addressed all concerns raised by the Committee.

 

Councillor Brenton felt it was important that the Unions be kept informed of all reported shortfalls.  The Head of Paid Service reported that as the Union Representatives attend Staff Forums, an item in relation to this matter could be included on the Agenda.

 

The Chair thanked the Environmental Health & Community Safety Officer for giving such a comprehensive update.

 

 

 

 

 

 

27.

AGS - Review of Evidence: Principles B3 and C2 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Review of evidence with the Service Improvement Officer

Minutes:

The Service Improvement Officer presented the evidence to support the Annual Governance Statement.    The evidence in sections B3 and C2 was discussed and the supporting database was noted.

28.

Effectiveness of Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To receive the report of the DAP Partnership Manager

Minutes:

The representative from the DAP Partnership presented the report and the checklist, attached as Appendix A to the report, showing the Committee’s current compliance against the CIPFA requirements.    

 

The new and updated elements to the checklist were highlighted to the Committee.   

 

A concern was raised by Councillor Brenton who emphasised the importance of all Members being kept informed on all key elements relating to this Committee.    The Committee discussed the ways in which information at present was being relayed to Members, and acknowledged the Committee do not publish an annual report to account for its performance and to explain the work that had been undertaken.    Advice was given by the Strategic Manager (Resources) who suggested that now would be an appropriate time to prepare an annual report as the accounts had been signed off.   Service Improvement Officer agreed to draft a report in August 2018.

 

Following a request by Members for further training, the DAP Partnership agreed to liaise with the Service Improvement Officer with regard to training dates.  The dates to be circulated to the Committee.

 

Members noted the report.

29.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Minutes:

The Forward Plan was noted.

 

 

 

30.

Corporate Assurance Risk Register - July 2018 pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To receive a report from the Strategic Manager (Resources).

Minutes:

The Strategic Manager (Resources) presented this item.  He advised there had been no significant changes since the previous meeting.

 

The additional actions within each corporate risk and the actions taken to mitigate the risk were highlighted to Members.

 

Members noted the update.