Venue: Civic Suite, North Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP
Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services
Declarations of Interest
To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or nonpecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item.
Please see Agenda Notes
There were no declarations of interest.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 14 November 2022.
Save for an amendment to be made to the minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2022, the minutes were agreed as a correct record.
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.
To ask a question at this meeting, please submit it to
firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon on Wednesday 11 January 2023 or telephone 01452 396203 for support.
There were no public questions.
Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)
To receive any petitions and deputations provided that no such petition or deputation is in relation 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.
To present a petition or deputation at this meeting, please submit it to email@example.com by 12 noon on Wednesday 11 January 2023 or telephone 01452 396203 for support.
There were no petitions nor deputations.
To receive the quarterly progress report on Internal Audit activity.
Please note that Appendix 2 is exempt from disclosure to the press and public by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information). If Members wish to discuss Appendix 2 the Committee will need to consider whether to RESOLVE to exclude the press and public on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public are present during consideration of this item there will be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended.
At the meeting, the Committee voted not to exclude the press and public. Appendix 2 has therefore been published and available below.
41.1 The Head of Audit, Risk and Assurance (ARA) introduced the report outlining recent internal audit activity. Regarding the audit concerning expenditure, she confirmed that assurance was not required. In respect of counter-fraud activity, the Group Manager informed Members that just one matter had been referred to ARA and provided an update against the Internal Audit plan.
41.2 The Chair noted the outcome of the audit concerning Blackfriars Priory and that a good return had been provided from the Trust. Confirmation was provided that the Free Hospital Fund for Children had itself sought internal audit involvement and that any future issues identified were for the Trust itself to resolve.
41.3 In respect of counter-fraud activity and the need for the Council to upload data to the National Fraud Initiative, the Chair asked what loss could be suffered if this was not possible. The Group Manager advised that if it was possible but according to a different time scale, this would satisfy the Cabinet Office. She further advised that if it was not possible at all, there could be a loss incurred.
41.4 Councillor Pullen noted reference to a ‘Newton Hearing’ in respect of a counter-fraud case and sought clarity on what this meant. The Group Manager advised that such a hearing occurred where, despite a guilty verdict or plea, factual issues remained to be resolved ahead of sentencing.
41.5 With regard to the audit plan, the Chair noted that some planned audits were due to be carried forward. The Group Manager confirmed this and that a number were ongoing, some were planned and that Senior Management would be examining the plan in the near future.
41.6 A discussion took place regarding the s. 106 Agreements audit (which was exempt from publication) and whether the Committee should enter private session. The Monitoring Officer advised that the exemption had been put in place as it contained information relating to the commercial interests of the Council and should remain private as should discussion of it. The Committee resolved that discussion of the audit would remain public.
41.7 The Chair stated that he was concerned by its contents that some funds had not be paid and queried what action would be taken. He specifically queried whether there was a proposal to have a specific individual to reconcile the issues.
41.8 The Principal Auditor explained that the software proposed allowed for monitoring checks and controls. The proposals would require a dedicated person to monitor the progress of s. 106 agreements and this would be an important step. Once this dedicated individual had been recruited, the position would be improved considerably.
41.9 The Director of Communities confirmed that the full review had commenced and improvements in oversight and monitoring had been identified. She advised that ‘hand-offs’ would always be necessary (because, as part of the process, it was necessary for multiple teams to work on the agreements in sequence) but that this would need streamlining. It was also advised that the relevant job description would need ... view the full minutes text for item 41.
To provide an update on progress on work as part of the 2021/22 Annual Governance Statement.
42.1 The Head of ARA confirmed that progress had been signed off by the s. 151 Officer and that the report took the form of a standard update.
42.2 In response to a query from the Chair regarding the reference to the risk of being served a s. 114 notice, the Head of ARA confirmed that this risk was low but it was better to include a positive report on this in the report in order to highlight the low level of risk rather than remain silent about it. He further confirmed that the Council was in a good position and that there was no likely prospect of such a notice being served.
42.3 RESOLVED that: - The Audit and Governance Committee NOTE the report.
To consider the report of the Head of Audit, Risk and Assurance providing an update on the Strategic Risk Register.
43.1 The Head of ARA introduced the report and explained that the ARA team facilitated the production of the Strategic Risk Register. He advised that one high level risk remained despite mitigations in place. He also confirmed that the Council was responsible for owning and managing its risks.
43.2 The Chair noted that a benchmarking exercise against other Councils had previously taken place and that the report suggested something needed to be added to this exercise. The Director for Policy and Resources advised that this referred to reviews of how the Council managed risk rather than there being a newly identified risk.
43.3 RESOLVED that: - The Audit and Governance Committee NOTE and ENDORSE the Strategic Risk Register.
To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources updating Members on treasury management activities for the six month period of 1st April 2022 to 30th September 2022 in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Code of Practice for Treasury Management.
44.1 The Financial Services Manager introduced the report which updated Members on treasury management activity in accordance with the CIPFA Code. He highlighted that there had been a significant increase in interest rates which would impact on the future borrowing requirements of the Council.
44.2 In response to a query from the Chair regarding whether the Council was affected by gilt rises, the Financial Services Manager confirmed that the Council did not invest in gilts but would be affected by such rises as they, in turn, affected interest rates.
44.3 RESOLVED that: - The Audit and Governance Committee NOTE the report.
To consider the work programme.
45.1 The Chair noted that there had previous been an item relating to the appointment of an independent Member to the Committee. The Head of ARA confirmed that the application deadline had passed, that applications had been received and that interviews would be conducted shortly.
45.2 In respect of the Annual Audit letter, the Financial Services Manager confirmed that reconciliations had been completed by the external auditor and would be issued shortly.
45.3 RESOLVED that: - The Audit and Governance Committee NOTE the work programme.
Date of Next Meeting
Monday 6 March 2023 at 6.30pm in the Civic Suite, North Warehouse.
Monday 6 March at 6.30pm