Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee
Tuesday, 26th September, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: David Hicks 2 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions

Contact: Madeleine Shopland  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Items
No. Item

16.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted from Councillor Barrie Patman

17.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 180 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 June 2017.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 13 June 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman subject to the following amendment.

 

‘With regards to capital borrowing £147,386million had been borrowed externally’ to read ‘With regards to capital borrowing £147.386million had been borrowed externally.’

18.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest submitted.

19.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

Minutes:

There were no Public questions.

20.

Member Question Time

To answer any member questions

Minutes:

There were no Member questions.

21.

External Audit Annual Governance Report 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To receive the External Audit Annual Governance Report 2016/17.

Minutes:

Members received the External Audit Annual Governance Report 2016/17.

 

During the discussion of this item the following points were made:

 

·         The External Audit Plan 2016-17 had been presented to the Committee in February 2017.

·         Ernst & Young expected to issue an unqualified audit opinion on the financial statements subject to the satisfactory completion of a number of items set out within the report.

·         Adrian Balmer took the Members through the report.  He highlighted areas of audit focus, including management override, expenditure and funding analysis and the Private Finance Initiative.

·         Experts had been relied on for three major areas in the Audit Plan; Pensions Valuation, Property Valuation and the Private Finance Initiative.

·         It was noted that misstatements in the financial statements and disclosures identified during the audit had been corrected by management.

·         The Committee was informed that the Council had failed to comply with the requirements of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2015 Period of Public Inspection Notice.  The regulations stated that the period for public inspection notice must include the first 10 working days of July 2017.  Councillor Bray questioned why this had not been achieved.  The Lead Specialist (Finance) indicated that this had been the result of an oversight.  However, the Council had achieved the requirement that the audit should be advertised for a period of 30 working days.  

 

RESOLVED:  That the External Audit Annual Governance Report 2016/17 be noted.

22.

Financial Statements 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 366 KB

To consider the Financial Statements 2016/17.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the Financial Statements 2016/17.

 

During the discussion of this item the following points were made:

 

·         Members had previously received a training session on the draft accounts.

·         Following the Local Government Finance Settlement in January the Council had suffered a reduction in formula grant of 50.6%.

·         The deficit on the provision of services, including the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) was £6.0m which, after the required accounting adjustments (including capital financing) became a deficit of £0.3m on the General Fund and a deficit of £0.9m for the HRA.  The General Fund balance at 31 March 2017 was £10.0m and for the HRA £4.9m.

·         The usable capital receipts reserve as at 31 March 2017 stood at £8.0m and the usable capital grants and contributions reserve stood at £7.3m. 

·         School balances had decreased to £2.8m at 31 March 2017 from £4.6m at 31 March 2016, while the Dedicated Schools Grant central reserve had decreased to £1.4m at 31 March 2017 from £2.2m at 31 March 2016.

·         Members were informed of a number of minor changes which had been made following the publication of the accounts. 

·         Ernst & Young had requested a number of minor changes to the Annual Governance Statement which had been previously considered by the Committee.  The Committee received the amended Annual Governance Statement.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Financial Statements and letter of representation for 2016/17 be approved.

 

23.

Corporate Risk Register refresh - September 2017 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To receive the Corporate Risk Register refresh - September 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Corporate Services presented the Corporate Risk Register.

 

·         Risk 28 inability to cope with increased burdens associated with the change to eligibility criteria and other additional requirements of the Care Act’ had been removed from the Corporate Risk Register.  Councillor Bray questioned whether this remained a risk on the service risk register and was informed that the risk had been des-escalated to service level.  It was appreciated that there may be further changes to legislation in future.

·         Risk 27 ‘failure of Health and Social Care system’ had been amended to reflect the ongoing national programme Sustainable Transformation Partnerships’ aligning effectively with Borough Governance.

 

RESOLVED:  That the risks and mitigating actions of the Council’s corporate risks as detailed in the Corporate Risk Register be noted.

24.

2017/18 Internal Audit and Investigation - Q1 Progress Report pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To receive the 2017/18 Internal Audit and Investigation - Q1 Progress Report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Specialist Audit and Investigations presented the 2017/18 Internal Audit and Investigation Q1 Progress Report which detailed the work carried out by the Shared Internal Audit and Investigations team between 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017.

 

During the discussion of this item the following points were made:

 

·         The team was on target to achieve the amended audit plan.  In addition the team was up to full complement.

·         The Housing Rents audit shown as draft within the report, was near completion.  Members expressed concern that the Housing Rent and Debtors audits had received or were likely to receive, the audit opinion of 3.

·         Members expressed concern at the level of housing rent arrears.  The Director of Corporate Services emphasised that 96% of housing rents had been collected in the last year and that a housing rents project had been established to make improvements regarding issues in this area.  The Committee would be updated on housing rent arrears at its next meeting.

 

RESOLVED:  That the 2017/18 Internal Audit and Investigation Quarter 1 Progress Report be noted.

25.

Review of proposed additions to the Procurement and Contracts Rules and Procedures pdf icon PDF 169 KB

To receive a report regarding a review of proposed additions to the Procurement and Contracts Rules and Procedures.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report regarding proposed additions to the Procurement and Contracts Rules and Procedures within the Constitution.

 

During the discussion of this item the following points were made:

 

·         The Strategy and Commissioning Support Manager highlighted three proposed minor changes that sought to clarify particular procedures and to address weaknesses within the system that had become apparent following case law.

·         It was also proposed that the threshold for legal involvement in contracts be increased to £100,000 from £50,000.  Members were informed that Shared Legal Solutions had created model contracts that did not allow changes other than commercial terms (cost and specification) and that any contracts requiring modification other than standard terms would be referred to Shared Legal Solutions.

·         Members were satisfied with the proposed amendments to the Procurement and Contract Rules and Procedures.

 

RESOLVED:  That changes detailed within the report to the Council’s Procurement and Contracts Rules and Procedures which form part of the Council’s Constitution, be recommended to Council, via the Constitution Review Working Group.

26.

Forward Programme 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To consider the forward programme for the remainder of the municipal year.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the forward programme for the remainder of the municipal year.

 

During the discussion of this item the following points were made:

 

·         The Committee would receive an update on housing rent arrears at its December meeting.  Members felt that it would be helpful if this update also contained information on work being carried out to improve debtors.

·         In response to a question it was confirmed that Officers would be consulted with, with regards to the dates of committee meetings for the next municipal year.

 

RESOLVED:  That the forward programme for the remainder of the municipal year be noted.