Agenda

Audit and Governance Committee
Thursday, 23rd January, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Christchurch BH23 1AZ. View directions

Contact: Bob Hanton  Email: democratic.services@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.

2.

Substitute Members

To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.

 

Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications.

 

3.

Declarations of Interests

Councillors are required to comply with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 and the Council's Code of Conduct regarding Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

Councillors are also required to disclose any other interests where a Councillor is a member of an external body or organisation where that membership involves a position of control or significant influence, including bodies to which the Council has made the appointment in line with the Council's Code of Conduct.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

4.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting held on 19 December 2019.

5.

Public Issues

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution. Further information on the requirements for submitting these is available to view at the following link:-

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/documents/s2305/Public%20Items%20-%20Meeting%20Procedure%20Rules.pdf 

The deadline for the submission of public questions is 16 January 2020.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is 12.00 noon, 22 January 2020.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 12.00 noon, 22 January 2020.

6.

Annual Governance Statement (AGS) Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 260 KB

This report provides an update against the BCP Council AGS Action Plan which identified actions to be taken to address the two significant governance issues identified from the legacy councils AGS. These were:

·       Information Governance (legacy Bournemouth and legacy Poole) – the BCP Information Governance Board in scheduled to meet for the first time in February 2020 to determine compliance arrangements

Governance issues raised in the Ofsted Inspection of Children’s Social Services (legacy Bournemouth) – good progress is being made against the ‘Children’s Service Development Improvement Plan’ which is being monitored by senior officers and Councillors.

7.

Treasury Management Monitoring report for the period April to December 2019 and Treasury Management Strategy 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 261 KB

This report sets out the monitoring of the Council’s Treasury Management function for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2019. A surplus of £110k will be achieved through higher investment returns.

The Treasury Management Strategy 2020/21 is included as an appendix to this report. Key changes to the strategy have been set out in paragraphs 25-29.

Additional documents:

8.

Assurance Framework and Internal Audit Planning Consultation pdf icon PDF 299 KB

This report sets out the BCP Assurance Framework which identifies the different sources of assurance received across the Council.

The report also provides details of the proposed 2020/21 Internal Audit Plan approach.

Additional documents:

9.

Internal Audit Plan Update - April to December 2019 pdf icon PDF 400 KB

This report details progress made on delivery of the 2019/20 Audit Plan for the period 1 October to 31 December 2019.  The report highlights that:

·       Twenty seven audit assignments have been completed, one ‘Substantial’, nineteen ‘Reasonable’ and three ‘Partial’ audit opinions (four ‘other’);

·       Thirty audit assignments are in progress;

·       The implementation of audit recommendations by management is satisfactory;

One Whistleblowing investigation has been completed and one investigation is on-going. 

10.

Governance of Corporate Health & Safety and Fire Safety pdf icon PDF 279 KB

Following approval of the BCP Council Health & Safety and Fire Safety policies by BCP Council Programme Board on 28th February 2019, new governance arrangements have been implemented.  The first meeting of the Health & Safety and Fire Safety Board took place on 14th November 2019.

This report details progress made on the delivery of health & safety and fire safety governance arrangements for BCP Council and highlights: 

 

·            New governance arrangements (meetings and actions) 

that have been agreed that are being rolled out in 2020

·            Development of an action plan with tracking at each board meeting. 

·            BCP Council individual Health and Safety and Fire Safety policies have been agreed. A plan for the alignment of key supporting policies and procedures is due to commence. 

·            The Corporate Health and Safety Team and Fire Safety Team are located in the Communities Directorate. Restructure of Tiers 4 and 5 are complete, resulting in one BCP Health and Safety Manager and one BCP Fire Safety manager reporting to the Head of Regulatory.  

·            A comprehensive targeted training programme for both Health and Safety and Fire Safety is being designed, ahead of required implementation within 2020. 

 

Additional documents:

11.

BCP Council - Declaration of Interests, Gifts and Hospitality Policy (for officers) pdf icon PDF 479 KB

For the 2019/20 financial year, the first operating year of BCP Council, legacy Council Declaration of Interests, gifts and hospitality policies and procedures have been followed by officers.  

A BCP Council - Declaration of Interests, Gifts and Hospitality for Policy (for Officers) is in draft form and will go-live, subject to Corporate Management Board changes and approval, on 1st April 2020 (Appendix 1).

Internal Audit work, covering officer Declaration of Interests during the 2019/20, gives a ‘Partial’ audit opinion which means there are weaknesses in the control framework which are putting service objectives at risk. 

The main issues identified were largely inherent, existing as a result of the formation of BCP Council, such as inconsistent approaches, out of date information and the ability of some managers to access any declarations made.  These issues are addressed in the draft Policy.

There have been no internal or external identified instances, whistleblowing or reports by any other means instances where an un-declared interest has led to any disciplinary action or led to reputational damage.  

12.

BCP Constitution pdf icon PDF 389 KB

To recommend changes to the Constitution of the Council.

Additional documents:

13.

Risk Management - Corporate Risk Register Update pdf icon PDF 339 KB

This report updates Members on the position of the Council’s Corporate Risk Register following the quarterly review by the Corporate Management Board. The main changes are as follows:

• The risk scores have increased for Corporate Risk 1- Failure to respond to the needs arising from a changing demography and Corporate Risk 9 - Failure to maintain a safe and balanced budget for the delivery of services;

• Corporate Risk 8- Inability to run an election/ referendum was added and removed from the register during the quarter;

• Corporate Risk 11 - Extent to which Members and Officers are able to fully engage with new roles and operate efficiently was added during this quarter.

Each of the risks have been reviewed including the Actions Completed and the Actions Proposed.

14.

External Audit progress report including certification of grant claims (2018/19) for legacy Councils pdf icon PDF 250 KB

The attached report provides an update to Members on the External Auditor’s progress to date in delivering their responsibilities.

 

Grant Thornton have carried out grant certification work on the Housing Benefit Subsidy claims for the three predecessor Councils and the annual Teachers’ Pensions returns for legacy Bournemouth and Poole Councils. All claims have been certified with only some minor errors being identified.

 

Work is ongoing on Pooling Housing Capital Receipts certification returns for legacy Bournemouth Borough Council and legacy Borough of Poole Council. Both returns have been certified with only a minor error being identified for the legacy Borough of Poole Council’s return.

The report also includes a summary of emerging national issues and developments that may be relevant to the Council. In particular, the report provides a presentation on the independent probe into local government audit (‘The Redmond Review’).

 

Additional documents:

15.

External Audit Fee Letter 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 312 KB

This report sets out the Council’s External Auditor’s core fee of £160,000 for the audit of the Council’s 2019/20 financial statements. These fees are agreed by Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA).

The report also sets out the Council’s fees likely to be charged for other (grant certification) work completed by the External Auditor, £34,000.  These fees are not agreed by PSAA and are a negotiated process between the Council and the provider.   The Council can choose provider although the provider must be accredited to do such work.

Total External Audit Fees for 2019/20 are therefore likely to be £194,000.

Additional documents:

16.

Forward Plan 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 144 KB

This report sets out the core reports to be received by the Audit & Governance Committee for the 2019/20 financial year in order to enable it to fulfil its terms of reference.

Additional documents: