Agenda

Audit and Governance Committee - Thursday, 13th January, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Suite, Civic Centre, Poole BH15 2RU. View directions

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 204 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the Meetings held on 01 December 2021 and 02 December 2021.

Additional documents:

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 06 January 2022.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is 12.00 noon on 12 January 2022.

The deadline for the submission of a petition was 24 December 2021.

6.

External Auditor – Audit Progress 2020/21 & Sector Update pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Grant Thornton, as the Council’s appointed External Auditors, have produced a report (Appendix A) which provides an update to Audit & Governance Committee on their progress to date in delivering their responsibilities.

 

The report states that the proposed target completion date for their fieldwork was 30 November 2021 and that they aimed to give their opinion on the financial statements by the end of December 2021. However a number of matters have arisen that have resulted in delay to this timetable. Reasons for the delay are included in the report and a revised date for the sign off of the financial statements of February 2022 has been set.

 

Progress has been made on the certification of claims and returns for the Council as detailed in the report.

 

The report states that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published its annual report on 29 October 2021 setting out the findings of its review of the work of local auditors. The FRC described Grant Thornton’s improvement in audit quality as an ‘encouraging response by the firm to the quality findings reported in the prior year’.

 

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

Additional documents:

7.

Treasury Management Monitoring report for the period April to December 2021 and Treasury Management Strategy 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 557 KB

This report sets out the monitoring of the Council’s Treasury Management function for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 December 2021. A surplus of £619k will be achieved through lower borrowing costs due to historically low interest rates and higher interest earnt on investments.

The Treasury Management Strategy 2022/23 is included as an appendix to this report. Key changes to the strategy have been set out in paragraphs 18-20 as well as inclusion of analysis of the approach to finance more of the capital programme through borrowing.

The report also sets out in paragraph 29-31 to modify the councils accounting policy surrounding capitalisation of interest during the construction of major capital projects.

Additional documents:

8.

Risk Management – Corporate Risk Register Update pdf icon PDF 816 KB

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

·         Two new risks have been added to the council’s Corporate Risk Register during the quarter:

CR18 - Failure in customer interface

CR19 – Failure to determine planning applications within statutory timescales, or within agreed extensions of time (EOT)

·         Corporate Risk CR17 - Risk to Reputation of Place & Council if summer arrangements are not managed – has been removed from the Corporate Risk Register

·         Details of those risks where a review was not possible during the quarter are included.

 

9.

Annual Governance Statement 2020/21 - Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 281 KB

This report provides an update against the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) Action Plan which identified actions to be taken to address the significant governance issues in 2020/21 AGS, as follows:

1)     Governance of Children’s Social Services - Delivery of the 15-point action plan has a robust governance structure. Significant improvements have been made from last year, from a weaker starting point than was first realised. All services are showing improvement, albeit with different rates of progress. In December 2021, Ofsted completed an inspection of local authority children’s services visit, the outcome of which will be known in February 2022, when the report will be published. The improvement plan is being adjusted in line with findings of this Inspection. 

2)     Governance Arrangements with External Bodies

a)     Parks, charities and trusts – two reports on the governance of public parks have been taken to Audit & Governance Committee in the year. The December 2021 report made recommendations including for a report to assess all BCP parks and open spaces trusts arrangements, including options for governance arrangements. The Internal Audit review resulted in a partial audit option, meaning there are weaknesses in the control framework which are putting service objectives at risk.

b)     Partnerships – progress has been made to develop a corporate partnership register and draft guidance, however, this has been slower than anticipated and is now due to be completed by 31/3/2022.

 

Progress to ensure full compliance with the Financial Management Code from 2021/22 is underway. The Council’s Finance transformation programme, along with other measures, is expected to deliver improvements, savings and efficiencies.

10.

Assurance Framework & Internal Audit Planning Consultation pdf icon PDF 336 KB

This report sets out the BCP Assurance Framework which identifies the different sources of assurance received across the Council. An additional key assurance area, Sustainable Environment, has been added to the Assurance Framework.

The report also provides details of the proposed 2022/23 Internal Audit Plan approach. Following the PSIAS assessment this year the audit planning process has been enhanced to ensure links to corporate priorities and risks are clearly articulated.

11.

Internal Audit - Quarterly Audit Plan Update pdf icon PDF 306 KB

This report details progress made on delivery of the 2021/22 AuditPlan for the period October to December (inclusive) 2021. The report highlights that:

·        Fifteen audit assignments have been completed, of which there were thirteen ‘Reasonable’ and one ‘Partial’ audit opinions and there was also one ‘Consultancy’ audit review;

·        Twenty six audit assignmentsare inprogress;

·        Implementationof auditrecommendations issatisfactory;

Further progress to address the recommendations and suggestions made in the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards external assessment has been made resulting in one recommendation and three suggestions being implemented.

12.

Forward Plan (refresh) pdf icon PDF 229 KB

This report sets out the reports to be considered by the Audit & Governance Committee for the 2021/22 municipal year in order to enable it to fulfil its terms of reference.

Additional documents: