To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 November 2020.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 23 November 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and will be signed by the Chairman at the next available opportunity.
Councillor Shepherd-DuBey questioned why the Treasury Management Report that had been considered by the Audit Committee at its November meeting had been changed prior to its consideration by the Executive. The Assistant Director Finance explained that the report presented to Executive was the same as that presented to Audit Committee and was attached as Appendix A to a covering report. The covering report of the Council’s Section 151 officer had included additional information as the Executive needed to be kept updated on the Council’s latest position. Councillor Gee was of the view that the report agreed by the Audit Committee was not the same as that considered by the Executive. She stated that an extra £1million had been offset against the finance costs which was a big change and the cost of debt per household would go from £7.52 to a benefit of £7.20. She went on to say that that the Treasury Management report was usually presented in February and did not come with a covering report. Councillor Shepherd-DuBey commented that part of the remit of the Audit Committee was to make recommendations about Treasury Management and that she felt that there had been a breach of the Constitution. The Assistant Director Governance clarified the Audit Committee’s remit, referring to 220.127.116.11 j) and k) of the Constitution. He confirmed that the Constitution had been complied with. Councillor King suggested that the process could be looked at for the future.
Councillors Gee and Shepherd-DuBey believed the report considered by the Executive had been amended and therefore should be presented to the Audit Committee again. The Assistant Director Governance commented that the Audit Committee had needed to seek assurance about whether the prudential indicators had been complied with or not. The Committee were considering the Treasury Management Strategy 2021/24 that evening and recommending it for consideration at the February Council meeting.
Councillor Gee emphasised that the Committee had recommended that a particular version of the report be recommended to the Executive and this had not happened. The Assistant Director Finance reiterated that the report agreed by Audit Committee in November 2020 had been presented unamended to the Executive. He went on to explain why, in addition to the information approved by the Audit Committee, the covering report had contained more information around the Council’s financial position. The Assistant Director Governance confirmed that it was entirely in accordance with the duties of the Council’s Section 151 officer, that he brought relevant financial information to the attention of the Executive. Councillor Shepherd-DuBey stated that section 18.104.22.168 of the Constitution stated that ‘…the Chief Finance Officer shall provide a mid-year and annual report to the Audit Committee prior to being approved by Council, on the exercise of the treasury management powers delegated, treasury management performance and on any material departure from the code of practice’ and that the report provided had not been the same as that which had been taken forward. She queried why the Monitoring Officer had permitted what she considered to a be an amended report, to be presented to the Executive. The Assistant Director Governance informed the Committee that there had been no breaches of the Constitution as the report agreed by the Committee had been presented in full to the Executive.