Agenda and minutes

Venue: Civic Suite, North Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP. View directions

Contact: Atika Tarajiya  Democratic and Electoral Services Officer

Items
No. Item

50.

Declarations of Interest

To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or non-pecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item. Please see Agenda Notes.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

51.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 181 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 21st November 2016.

Minutes:

In response to Councillor Stephens’ query that the minutes made no mention of the Committee’s request to receive an update on the Marketing Gloucester Limited (MGL) follow up audit, the Group Manager advised that the follow up audit was currently in progress and the results would be reported to the Committee, as planned, at their meeting on the 13th March 2017.

 

Councillor Stephens expressed his disappointment that the follow up audit report would not be available prior to setting the budget for the forthcoming year.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on the 21st November 2016 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

52.

Public Question Time (15 minutes)

To receive any questions from members of the public provided that a question does not relate to:

 

·         Matters which are the subject of current or pending legal proceedings, or

·         Matters relating to employees or former employees of the Council or comments in respect of individual Council Officers

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

53.

Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)

To receive any petitions and deputations provided that no such petition or deputation is in relation to:

 

·         Matters relating to individual Council Officers, or

·         Matters relating to current or pending legal proceedings

Minutes:

There were no petitions or deputations.

54.

Audit and Governance Committee Action Plan pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To consider the Action Plan.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the action plan.

 

RESOLVED: That the Audit and Governance Action Plan be noted.

55.

KPMG Grants Audit Report pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To consider the report from KPMG updating Members on the Grants Audit report.

 

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from KPMG outlining the firm’s certification work in relation to the Housing Benefit Subsidy claim.

 

Mr Gilbert highlighted key areas of the report, noting that the subsidy represented a significant amount of money and comprised a very defined audit. He explained that the firm had certified the work with six qualifications, three of which related to risk based verification and the other three were more usual and were encountered more regularly by auditors. He concluded by reporting that the qualifications had been reported to the Department of Work and Pensions and the Council was awaiting a final decision on the subsidy claim recognising that  the auditors had issued three specific recommendations to improve the Council’s processes.

 

Councillor Wilson questioned whether software supplied by Civica was causing issues with the process, noting that they had failed in the past to apply software patches when required.

 

Mr Gilbert advised that there did not seem to be any specific issues with Civica, noting that it was quite common for most local authorities to have the housing benefit subsidy audit qualified due to the sheer number of transactions undertaken and increased scope for error.

 

In response to Councillor Wilson’s query regarding assurance that recommendations were being actioned, Mr Gilbert advised that these would be considered as part of next year’s audit.

 

The Head of Finance reported that two out of three recommendations had already been actioned as complete as outlined in the report and another was being actioned as part of an ongoing process.

 

Councillor Stephens welcomed the results of the audit, noting that the large number of transactions increased the chances of qualification. He suggested that Officers continue to closely monitor any systems errors and report these to the Chair of Audit and Governance, who could then make a decision on whether a report to Committee was appropriate.

 

The Head of Finance advised that an update on the benefit accuracy rate was already scheduled for the June 2017 meeting and the Chair agreed that a combined report on benefit accuracy rates and monitoring of benefit software be presented to the Committee in June 2017.

 

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted and a further report updating Members on benefit accuracy rate and monitoring of benefit software be presented to Committee.

 


56.

Internal Audit Activity Progress Report 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance updating Members of the Internal Audit activity progress in relation to the approved Internal Audit Plan 2016/17.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance which updated Members of the Internal Audit activity progress in relation to the approved Internal Audit Plan 2016/17.

 

The Chair welcomed the Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Richard Cook, and the Head of Neighbourhood Services, Lloyd Griffiths to the meeting.

 

Councillor Stephens expressed disappointment with the limited assurance opinion, noting that basic contract management procedures had not been applied. Referring to commentary related to performance on page 30 of the agenda pack, he queried whether the City Council had the power to impose any financial sanctions for non-delivery of key performance indicators (KPIs).

 

The Head of Neighbourhood Services explained that contractual provision for financial sanctions against key performance indicator failures had not been finalised at the commencement of the contract. He reported that following recent discussions with Amey, a suite of operational and strategic KPIs were being agreed, noting that the City Council was considering various options of enforcement..

 

In response to Councillor Stephen’s query regarding the types of sanctions that could be imposed, the Head of Neighbourhood Services reported that the City Council would initially seek remedial action before imposing financial sanctions.

Councillor Stephens questioned whether following the Together Gloucester organisation re-design process there would be adequate resource to monitor the contract and carry out suitable checks.

 

He was assured that in the proposed structure, the Head of Place and the Streetcare Client Officer would lead on the management of the Amey contract with additional support from the environment officers.

 

The Chair referring to page 30 of the agenda pack, noted that discrepancies had been found with data Amey provided and queried the reliance that could be placed on the information provided.

 

The Corporate Director reported that the existing relationship with Amey could not continue, and the Council resources could not continue to be relied upon to correct poor performance and operational errors. He noted that resource had been identified within the Together Gloucester proposals to effectively monitor the contractor, acknowledging that the Council was facing a challenging economic climate and the need to make continued savings.

 

Councillor Stephens queried the payment of £53,824 referred to in the report.

The Head of Neighbourhood Services advised that the sum was a contractual payment relating to a staged payment for bin replacement over the life of the contract.  Both the Council and Amey were continuing to search their records for documentation confirming the purpose and intent of the payment.

 

In response to Councillor’s Melvin’s query, the Corporate Director confirmed that the City Council held a copy of  the original contract.  Councillor Melvin questioned why the payment of £53,824 was not set out in the contract. The Head of Neighbourhood Services explained that whilst the contract did not provide a detailed breakdown of individual payments, officers did hold information relating to spend under the main categories of activity.

 

The Head of Finance commented the contract was amended annually to reflect market indices. Councillor Cook accepted the comments from Members and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Annual Governance Statement Improvement Plan 2015/2016 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance providing assurance to the Committee that the improvement areas and associated actions identified as part of the annual review of governance arrangements operating within the Council, have been and are being addressed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance providing assurance to the Committee that the improvement areas and associated actions identified as part of the annual review of governance arrangements operating within the Council, have been and are being addressed.

 

The Head of Audit Risk Assurance outlined key areas of the report highlighting that all recommended actions had been or were being addressed.

 

In response to Councillor Stephens’ query regarding the inclusion of Gloucestershire Devolution bid within the Governance Statement, The Head of Audit Risk Assurance advised that this remained within the statement due to the potential impact on governance arrangements, noting that at this point in time the future of the bid was still to be determined.

 

In response to Councillor Melvin’s request for an update on the Gloucestershire Devolution Bid, the Corporate Director advised that Government were currently only considering advanced bid proposals and that those less advanced, such as the Gloucestershire bid, were currently on hold.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That actions taken to address the governance improvement areas identified be noted.

 

58.

Self Assessment of Risk Management arrangements at Gloucester City Council against ISO31000 Risk Management - Principles and Guidelines and associated Action Plan. pdf icon PDF 196 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance seeking independent assurance on the adequacy of the Council’s Corporate Risk Management framework.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance seeking independent assurance on the adequacy of the Council’s Corporate Risk Management framework.

 

The Head of Audit Risk Assurance reported that the City Council had been assessed as being 75% pure compliant, noting that item 1 on action plan had already been addressed.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.    The Risk Management Action Plan be accepted;

 

2.    Further updates and outcomes be provided to Committee during 2017/2018 as appropriate.

59.

Risk Management Policy Statement and Strategy 2017-2020 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance proposing an updated Risk Management Policy Statement and Strategy to become effective from 1st April 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance proposing an updated Risk Management Policy Statement and Strategy to become effective from 1st April 2017.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.    The Risk Management Policy Statement and Strategy 2017-2020 be adopted and recommended for endorsement to Cabinet.

 

2.    The Strategy, be disseminated to managers in accordance with Communications Plan, to re-affirm the Council’s risk management objectives.

 

 

 

60.

Anti Fraud and Corruption Policy Statement and Strategy (including the Anti Bribery Policy and Anti Money Laundering Policy) 2017-2019 and the Confidential Reporting Procedure (Whistleblowing Policy). pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance seeking independent assurance  on the adequacy of the Council’s Anti Fraud and Corruption response and framework.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Audit Risk Assurance seeking independent assurance on the adequacy of the Council’s Anti-Fraud and Corruption response and framework.

 

The Chair welcomed the policies and thanked Officers for their work and effort in this regard.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.    The Anti-Fraud and Corruption Policy Statement and Strategy, the Anti Bribery Policy, Anti Money Laundering Policy 2017-2019 and the Confidential Reporting Procedure (Whistleblowing) be adopted and recommended its endorsement to Cabinet; and

 

2.    The strategy and policies, once endorsed by Cabinet, be disseminated to managers in accordance with a Communications Plan, to reaffirm the Council’s anti-fraud culture and objectives.

61.

Audit and Governance Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider the Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Committee noted the Audit and Governance Work Programme 2017.

 

The Democratic and Electoral Services Officer advised Members that the plan covered the work programme for the current municipal year and would be updated following confirmation of the calendar of meetings at Council on the 6th February 2017 and the  Committee’s membership at Council on the 23rd May 2017.

 

 

62.

Date of Next Meeting

13th March 2017 at 6:30pm in Civic Suite, North Warehouse.

 

Minutes:

Monday 13th March 2017 at 6:30pm in the Civic Suite, North Warehouse.

 

 
 
facebook
twitter
rss feed