Agenda and minutes

Governance, Audit and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 6th July, 2017 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Penns Place, Petersfield, GU31 4EX. View directions

Contact: Cynthia Haveron  Democratic Services Officer 01730 - 234092

Items
No. Item

47.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were apologies for absence from Councillors T Spencer and R Saunders.

48.

Chairman's Announcements

49.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

50.

Confirmation of Minutes

Please note that it is helpful if Councillors could give advance notice, to Democratic Services, of any questions they wish to raise in respect of the minutes.

 

Minutes of the meeting held on 9 March 2017, minutes of the extraordinary meetings held on 27 April 2017 and 15 May 2017, previously circulated. Minutes of the Governance, Audit & Scrutiny Sub-Committee held on 10 February 2017, previously circulated.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 9 March 2017, the minutes of the Extraordinary meetings held on 27 April 2017 and 15 May 2017 and the minutes of the Governance, Audit & Scrutiny Sub-Committee held on 10 February 2017 were agreed and signed as correct minutes.

51.

External Audit - Audit Plan 16/17 pdf icon PDF 44 KB

For Information and Noting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Emma Bryant, Ernst and Young LLP introduced the report. She explained that it set out the basis for their proposed audit approach for 2016/17. It summarised their initial assessment of the key risks driving the development of an effective audit of the Council and outlined their planned audit strategy in response to those risks.

 

She referred the Committee to the financial statement risks as set out on page 7, paragraph 2 of the report and in particular:

 

·                     Risk of management override

·                     Other financial statement risks and

·                     Capacity of the Finance Team

 

She also stated that these were standard risks that applied to most other Councils.

 

She referred Councillors to paragraph 3 which highlighted value for money risks and the approach the audit team would be taking. Significant value for money risks highlighted were:

 

·                     Financial Resilience;

·                     Partnership Working; and

·                     Leisure Contract.

 

Ms Bryant answered Councillors questions and following a discussion the report was NOTED.

52.

Annual Internal Audit Report and Opinion 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

For Decision

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Amanda Chalmers, Southern Internal Audit Partnership introduced the report. She highlighted the key points and issues.

 

The Committee noted the acknowledgement and thanks in paragraph 11 of the report “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those staff throughout East Hampshire District Council with whom we have made contact in the year. Our relationship has been positive and management were responsive to the comments we made both informally and through our formal reporting”.

 

She stated that the 2016/17 Internal Audit Plan had been delivered in full. The opinion assigned to the various audit reviews were as follows:

 

Substantial Assurance – 1

Adequate Assurance – 13

Limited Assurance – 2

No Assurance – 0

 

The committee was particularly concerned by the two limited assurances that had been given in respect of Information Governance and Regeneration /Traded Services.

 

The report mentioned that roles and responsibilities had not been documented, there was no formal risk management in place, payment to consultants were not always supported by relevant contracts and in particular there was concern that the procurement of external consultants for RegenCo had not been in line with EHDC Procurement Rules, with no competitive selection process carried out to establish best value.

 

In reply it was explained that this was a difficult issue, that had been identified by management who had requested the internal auditors to examine the procedures relating to regeneration and traded services. Actions had been put in place to address all issues identified to ensure that the procurement rules were adhered to in the future.

 

Councillors were concerned about how it had happened, there was so much wrong in both parts of the report. This required careful monitoring and it was felt that regular reports should be brought to the committee.

 

Mr Leach explained that the Joint Information Board was an officer led board.

 

In reply to question on whether IT was audited, Ms Chalmers confirmed that it was, as it was provided by Hampshire County Council IT. There was concern about security protection and emergency backup all of which she confirmed had been audited.

 

The Committee asked to see the HCC IT Agreement and suggested meeting the Portfolio Holder responsible for IT to discuss.

 

Cllr Evans moved the following recommendation which was seconded by Cllr Kendall:

 

That the committee ask the relevant officers and Portfolio Holders responsible for Information Governance and Regeneration/Traded Services with particular reference to RegenCo, to produce a report addressing the issues and concerns of the Committee and attend the next meeting of the committee in September.

 

The committee also delegated to the Chairman and Vice Chairman the responsibility of discussing the issues raised with the relevant Portfolio Holders and Officers.

 

The Committee requested for the following information and actions:

 

·                     Details of who sat on the Joint Information Governance Board;

·                     The final sentence in the fourth paragraph under Information Governance which referred to Havant Borough Council be removed;

·                     Request Officers and Portfolio Holder responsible for RegenCo to present a report to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.

53.

Annual Governance Statement pdf icon PDF 56 KB

For Decision

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nick Leach, Monitoring Officer presented the report. He reminded the committee that this was a retrospective report looking at 16/17 and did not reflect the current situation.

 

It was confirmed that the document would be signed following this meeting.

 

Concerns were raised about the wording in the second paragraph on page 6 of the document that referred to “The Council being committed to transparency and an open culture…” and paragraph 3 that referred to “The Council’s democratic function is responsible for ensuring agendas and key decisions are published…”. How could this be true when whole reports are exempt as a matter of policy?

 

The member understood that certain parts of reports had to be exempt but perhaps this information could form an appendix to the report or even have those parts redacted. In particular the Leisure Management Reports were referred to.

 

The Monitoring Officer explained that the decision to make information exempt was considered on a case by case basis and was set out in Standing Orders.

 

All committee members echoed these concerns about access for Councillors and members of the public to information.

 

Councillors did not know what a “Social Value Engine Tool” was.

 

The committee asked who looked at the Performance Management Framework, as it used to be brought to the committee and who comprised the Corporate Programme Office.

 

The committee agreed the following actions:

 

·                     Standing Order 38, with the description of and meaning of exempt information be circulated to members of the Committee;

·                     The meaning of “Social Value Engine Tool” be forwarded to members;

·                     The Performance Management Framework be brought to the next meeting of the Committee; and

·                     The committee be informed of the membership of the Corporate Programme Office.

 

Following a discussion, it was RESOLVED that the details of the Annual Governance Statement and the actions identified by Management to improve internal controls and governance arrangements be APPROVED.

54.

Monitoring Officer's Update

For Noting

Minutes:

Nick Leach, Monitoring Officer updated the Committee on the current position

in respect of Code of Conduct complaints.

 

The update be NOTED