To receive a report on Corporate Risk Management.
The Assistant Director Governance presented the Corporate Risk Management report.
During the discussion of this item, the following points were made:
· Risk 1 Budgeting and Financial Management had been re-assessed from “very high” to “high” following the proposed balanced budget being presented to Council on 18 February.
· Risk 10 “End of the EU Transition” had been updated. The Government had recently released a press release that gave further assurances around negotiations between the EU and the UK and it looked significantly less likely that the EU would consider the UK as a ‘third country.’
· Risk 12 “Adult Social Care Provider Failure” had reduced in severity from “very high” to “high” as a consequence of the positive impact of mitigating actions.
· Risk 13 “Climate Emergency” had been updated to reflect the Climate Emergency Task and Finish Group’s report and recommendations which had been agreed at Executive on 29 October.
· The description of the equalities risk (no. 17) had been revised to reflect the Covid-related impact to this risk noting the Council’s proposed approach to tackling poverty and new Equality Plan (to be considered by Executive in March).
· The Pandemic risk (no. 18) had been updated to reflect the outcomes of Overview & Scrutiny in considering the Council’s response to the first wave.
· The Housing Numbers (no. 19) has been re-assessed from “high” to “medium” following the Government announcement in mid-December that it planned to prioritise urban and brownfield sites.
· Two new risks had been added:
Ø Market failure (no 20) reflecting the economic and financial impacts of Covid-19 on key providers of Council services.
Ø 2021 Elections (no. 21) reflecting the additional challenges of delivering successful elections against a backdrop of public health restrictions.
· Councillor Burgess commented that the controls listed for the Climate Emergency risk were insufficient and that the mitigating actions did not adequately address the risk. She felt that the Climate Emergency Action Plan contained some errors that needed to be addressed. In addition, she suggested that the Climate Emergency Task and Finish Group established by Overview and Scrutiny should be included in the register as a control. The Assistant Director Governance agreed that it would be added. Members were reminded that an Internal Audit of Climate Emergency was planned for Q1. The Assistant Director Governance suggested that the Chairman of the Audit Committee liaise with the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Chairman to ensure that the Committee’s concerns around the Climate Emergency risk were addressed in their work.
· Councillor Gee noted that there were a number of high risks when the Council was supposed to be a low risk Council and questioned how this would be addressed.
· Councillor Gee questioned how the Committee should review the Corporate Risk Register if it did not undertake a deep dive. The Assistant Director Governance stated that the Committee needed to have assurance that the process of risk management in the Council, was sound. He referred to the Committee’s remit in relation to risk management. Further training around risk management could be undertaken. Helen Thompson emphasised that the Committee should not be heavily involved in how the risks were being addressed. Risks should come off as well as on to the Corporate Risk Register. The tolerance to risk would vary between individual risks.
· Councillor Shepherd-DuBey questioned whether a number of risks should be combined, in particular risks 4 and 19.
· In response to a Member question the Assistant Director Governance commented that the EU transition risk was likely to be able to be removed from the Corporate Risk Register shortly. Members were reminded that if an item came off the Corporate Risk Register it could still be managed at Directorate level if required.
· Councillor Burgess suggested that the wording of the Local Plan risk be revised as some information was out of date. It was agreed that this risk would be updated.
· Councillor Burgess proposed adding the Audit Committee self-assessment into the actions around the Corporate Governance risk.
· Justine Thorpe, Ernst & Young, indicated that they would be happy to join future training sessions and to talk about the Committee’s role with regards to risk management in more detail.
· The Corporate Risk Register should underpin the Council’s Corporate Plan.
RESOLVED: That the risks and mitigating actions of the Council’s corporate risks as detailed in the Corporate Risk Register be noted.