Agenda item

For members to input into the self-assessment checklist (DAP Manager)

Minutes:

The Devon Audit Partnership Manager introduced a report on the effectiveness of the Audit Committee and highlighted the CIPFA self-assessment checklist, which is recognised as a good practice tool for Audit Committees to use when reviewing their effectiveness. 

 

It was confirmed that the Section 151 Officer and the Devon Audit Partnership Manager have already reviewed and completed the checklist as far as possible. It was requested that members consider their input at meetings and the continued use of hybrid meetings. 

 

Members worked through and discussed the separate sections of the Audit Checklist. There was discussion in relation to reporting to Full Council and the Head of Legal & Governance (Monitoring Officer) confirmed that the Data Protection Regulations were referred in 2018 after being pulled up in an audit report.

 

There was a further discussion regarding the need for an Independent Members and it was confirmed that the Council had tried to recruit, but this had not been successful.  This was now being explored with Devon Audit Partnership and attendance by the Committee Chair or Section 151 Officer at the Devon Audit Management Board was suggested as a way to push this forward.  It was also suggested that members approach people they know with relevant skills to support the Committee as Independent Members.

 

Members queried why consultation hadn’t been completed since 2016 and the Chair queried the ‘no’ in the report.  The Devon Audit Partnership Manager agreed to revise this date if consultation had taken place.

 

Chair referred to the note on the bottom of the Forward Plan regarding private meetings with External Auditors and requested the reinstatement of pre-meetings that took place before Covid.  Grant Thornton confirmed that they had attempted to reinstate these meeting and agreed this would be picked up again with the Chair.  She also suggested extending this invite to Internal Audit too, given the amount of cross over taking place, especially in relation to value for money work.

 

Following a query about Governance it was confirmed by the Section 151 Officer that training was being arranged for Members. The Draft Audit Plan was also highlighted as an opportunity for Members to discuss possible areas to audit – this is on the Forward Plan for March 2022.

 

There was discussion regarding the scope of the Governance role and members role in challenging and raising concerns, especially in relation to more complex and specialist areas.  Officers explained the role of the Committee and members, alongside the wider governance processes of Torridge District Council and Full Council and where the Committee sits within this. There was a further discussion about how the audit process supports members in their decision making.

 

The Head of Legal & Governance (Monitoring Officer) also stated that Senior Managers were open to challenge and where they could not provide detail at Full Council or in committee meetings there was an opportunity for members to contact them with queries directly when needed. 

 

Following the discussion, the Devon Audit Partnership Manager arranged to update the report using feedback from members at the meeting and said he would add detail on how the work would be progressed.

 

 Members duly noted the report.

 

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