Agenda and draft minutes

Audit and Risk Committee - Tuesday, 4th February, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Catmose

Contact: Governance  01572 720991

Items
No. Item

347.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Baines who was substituted by Councillor Ainsley.

348.

MINUTES

To confirm the minutes of the Audit and Risk Committee held on 5 November 2019.

Minutes:

With the inclusion of Councillor A Brown’s apology for the previous meeting, the minutes of the meeting held on the 5th November 2019 were agreed and signed by the Chair.

349.

MATTERS ARISING

Minutes:

There were none.

350.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

In accordance with the Regulations, Members are invited to declare any disclosable interests under the Code of Conduct and the nature of those interests in respect of items on this Agenda and/or indicate if Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.

Minutes:

There were none

351.

PETITIONS, DEPUTATIONS AND QUESTIONS

To receive any petitions, deputations and questions received from Members of the Public in accordance with the provisions of Procedure RuleS 93 and 94.

 

The total time allowed for this item shall be 30 minutes. Petitions, declarations and questions shall be dealt with in the order in which they are received. Questions may also be submitted at short notice by giving a written copy to the Committee Administrator 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

 

The total time allowed for questions at short notice is 15 minutes of the total time of 30 minutes. Any petitions, deputations and questions that have been submitted with prior formal notice will take precedence over questions submitted at short notice. Any questions that are not considered within the time limit shall receive a written response after the meeting and be the subject of a report to the next meeting.

Minutes:

There were none.

352.

QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE FROM MEMBERS

To consider any questions received from Members of the Council in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule 95.

 

Minutes:

There were none

353.

NOTICES OF MOTION

To consider any Notices of Motion from Members submitted under Procedure Rule 97.

 

 

Minutes:

There were none

354.

EXTERNAL AUDIT PLANNING 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To receive Report No.26/2020 from the Strategic Director for Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The External Auditor (Grant Thornton) elaborated on the report and explained that the significant risks identified were the management override of controls, Valuation of land and buildings and Valuation of net pension fund liability.  These were standard risks for all local authorities rather than ones specific to Rutland.

 

It was reported that the materiality of the audit had not changed this year and that the risk assessment undertaken of the Council’s arrangements to secure value for money had not identified any significant risks.

 

Members were informed that there would be an increase in the planned audit fees for 2019/20. It was noted that the increase was not a risk premium but enabled the external auditors to undertake additional work in order to meet the requirements of their regulators.

 

In response to questions asked, the External Auditor confirmed that the 2019 Audit had not been closed, but it was anticipated that this would be completed within a number of weeks.

 

The Committee requested that they be informed when the 2019 Audit had been closed and the certificate granted.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the audit plan from the external auditors, Grant Thornton UK LLP, be noted.

 

355.

INTERNAL AUDIT UPDATE pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To receive Report No.24/2020 from the Strategic Director for Resources

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Internal Audit elaborated on her report and explained that she considered it a very positive report and further progress had been made since publication of the report.

 

In response to questions asked, the Head of Internal Audit explained that with regards to IR35, this report had been issuedin  August 2019.  Actions had been recommended to address the areas of weakness but the audit outcome would remain the same until another full audit was performed in a future year.

 

Members were informed that there had been some delays with the procurement cards recommendation notably some registration difficulties with HMRC which prevented the Council implementing making tax digital but that these had been resolved and progress made on addressing the recommendation.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Members noted the Internal Audit update report.

 

356.

INTERNAL AUDIT PLANNING 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To receive Report No.25/2020 from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Internal Audit submitted her report and noted that members were being advised on the progress being made on developing the Internal Audit Plan for 2020/21. Members were being invited to highlight any areas where they may want assurance from the Internal Audit team.

 

In response to questions raised by the Committee it was noted that there were different monitoring mechanisms for S106 and CIL monies and therefore they were being audited separately.

 

Members were informed that Appendix A provided a long list of initial areas identified during audit planning, but that it would need to be prioritised. Members discussed the need for additional assurance over controls operating to prevent and detect fraud or misuse of direct payments as it was explained that this was an increased area of concern with regards to fraud.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1)    That the initial areas highlighted for potential coverage in the Internal Audit Plan 2020/21 be noted.

 

2)    That delegation to the Strategic Director of Resources, in consultation with the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, to approve an interim 2020/21 Internal Audit plan ahead of formal approval by committee in April 2020 be approved.

 

357.

STRATEGIC RISK REGISTER pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To receive Report No.29/2020 from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources elaborated on the report and explained that the risk register had been reviewed following the production of the new Corporate Plan.

 

The Committee had previously requested a summary of Directorate risks and it was explained that this would be done in the near future.

 

Members raised questions about the possibility of linking the risks with specific areas of the corporate plan and whether a ‘deep dive’ could be carried out on specific risks.

 

The Director of Resources explained that all identified risks were discussed by the Senior Management Team with each directorate identifying and addressing risks in their service area.

 

In response to questions asked, it was explained that the Director of Places had been taking advice on the potential risk of coronavirus and engaging with Public Health England as exposure to the virus could affect members of staff working in social care and home visits as well as numerous schools. It was noted that as information was received, staff would be updated to ensure that necessary precautions were being taken.

 

It was noted that there were a number of inaccurate ‘due for completion’ and ‘review dates’ and an updated version would be circulated to members; additional information would be included in future risk registers providing a brief explanation where targets have been missed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the Risk Register and the actions underway to address the risks, be noted.

 

358.

WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To receive Report No.22/2020 from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources submitted a report which asked the Committee to give consideration of the Whistleblowing Policy which had been reviewed in accordance with the date set by Cabinet.

 

The Committee questioned whether there could be a reduction in the current response time (to concerns being raised) of ten working days. It was agreed that an acknowledgement to a complaint would be delivered in 48 hours.

 

It was explained that concerns raised through the Whistleblowing process can be dealt with by the Head of Internal Audit as an independent person. The Committee suggested that an alternative email address be given so that those contacting the Council were clear that the Head of Internal Audit is independent.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Whistleblowing Policy (with minor typographical corrections) be recommended for approval by Cabinet.

 

359.

ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS

To receive items of urgent business which have previously been notified to the person presiding.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.