Agenda

Audit and Governance Committee
Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual meeting

Contact: Democratic Services Team  Email: democratic.services@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Media

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 requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

4.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 303 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting held on 10 September 2020.

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 Thursday 15 October 2020.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is 12.00 noon, Wednesday 21 October 2020.

The deadline for the submission of a petition was Wednesday 7 October 2020.

6.

2019/20 Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman annual report pdf icon PDF 239 KB

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) provides an independent and impartial service to investigate complaints about Councils, or actions taken by another body on behalf of the Council.

The LGSCO provides a report annually which details the number of enquiries, investigations and resolved complaints for each authority in the past financial year. BCP Council’s annual report is attached as Appendix A

The 2019/20 report shows that the number of enquiries to the LGSCO have risen slightly, as have the investigations, but there has been a fall in the number of investigations upheld by the Ombudsman to 50%.

There are no major concerns relating to LGSCO findings.

7.

Equality & Diversity Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 160 KB

The 2019/20 Equality & Diversity report appended to this paper provides an overview of the work undertaken by BCP Council to meet its responsibilities as set out under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, the Public Sector Equality Duty.

BCP Council’s equality commitments are embedded throughout the council’s corporate strategy and delivery plans.

Equality and diversity actions are captured in a council wide Equality & Diversity Action Plan which is included in the report appended to this paper.

The action plan is built around the requirements for achieving the excellent level of the Equality Framework for Local Government and the Council is progressing well against this.

 

Additional documents:

8.

Governance of Corporate Health & Safety and Fire Safety pdf icon PDF 365 KB

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Health & Safety and Fire Safety Board scheduled to take place in July was postponed and instead, an interim report was provided to the Director's Strategy Group on 23rd June 2020, to ensure governance of Health & Safety and Fire Safety was reported and discussed. During this meeting, it was agreed that the next Health & Safety and Fire Safety Board would take place on 28th September 2020 and remain quarterly moving forward.

This report details progress made on the delivery of Health & Safety and Fire Safety governance arrangements for BCP Council and highlights;

·      The steps taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing subsequent recovery,

·      implementation of Governance framework

·      Reporting of Health and Safety and fire safety to the board

·      Covid 19 response

An overview of service delivery

9.

Emergency Planning & Business Continuity Annual Update (from November 19 to October 20) pdf icon PDF 976 KB

Emergency planning and business continuity activity in BCP Council over the reporting period has been dominated by COVID-19.  This update provides a high-level overview of the scale and nature of the COVID-19 response, from a governance perspective, in addition to more business as usual aspects that have continued in parallel.  It also provides a consideration of concurrent and future risks.

10.

Risk Management – Corporate Risk Register Update pdf icon PDF 288 KB

This report updates councillors on the position of the council’s Corporate Risk Register. The main updates are as follows:

The comprehensive review of the Corporate Risk Register including the incorporation of the COVID-19 risks.

11.

Internal Audit - Quarterly Audit Plan Update pdf icon PDF 413 KB

This report details progress made on delivery of the 2020/21 Audit Plan for the period July to September (inclusive) 2020.  The report highlights that:

·       Eight audit assignments have been completed (with the following summary opinions - one ‘Substantial’, six ‘Reasonable’ and one Consultancy Review);

·       Twenty-two audit assignments are in progress;

·       Implementation of audit recommendations is satisfactory.

Internal Audit have completed their support of COVID 19 grant verification work.

12.

Annual Review of Register of Declarations of Outside Interests and Receipts of Gifts & Hospitality by Officers (2019/20) pdf icon PDF 154 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.  

The BCP Council - Declaration of Interests, Gifts and Hospitality for Policy (for Officers) was introduced on 1st April 2020 and made provision for retrospective ‘base’ declarations dating back to the start of BCP Council, 1 April 2019.

An effective corporate wide roll-out of the Policy has taken place and assurance can be provided that senior managers (tier4 officers and above) are complying with the requirements of the new Policy.

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

Additional documents:

13.

External Audit - Progress Report & Sector Update pdf icon PDF 315 KB

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

The report also includes a summary of emerging national issues and developments that may be relevant to the Council. 

An additional presentation covering the independent review by Sir Tony Redmond into the effectiveness of local audit and the transparency of financial reporting has also been provided.

Additional documents:

14.

Audit & Governance Committee Forward Plan (refresh) pdf icon PDF 214 KB

This report sets out the reports to be received by the Audit & Governance Committee for the 2020/21 municipal year.

Additional documents:

15.

Annual Report of Internal Audit Counter Fraud Work and Whistleblowing Referrals 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 497 KB

This report details counter fraud work carried out by Internal Audit to provide assurance on the Council’s response to combating fraud & corruption. 

Internal Audit have investigated all allegations of suspected fraud or financial irregularity in a proportionate manner. 

Four whistleblowing referrals for the Council were received and investigated by Internal Audit during 2019/20.  

Additional documents: