Agenda and decisions

Audit Committee
Monday, 4 February 2019 6.00pm

Venue: Shimkent Room - Shimkent Room - Daneshill House, Danestrete

Contact: Ian Gourlay (01438) 242703  Email: committees@stevenage.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Decision:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor G Snell.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

MINUTES - 20 NOVEMBER 2018 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 20 November 2018.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 20 November 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

In relation to the Ernst & Young toolkit for assessing the effectiveness of Audit Committees, the Independent Member advised that he felt that a discussion on this matter with the Chair and officers would be best held outside of the formal meeting.

 

In respect of the shareholder review of the effectiveness of the Joint CCTV Partnership/company, the Assistant Director (Finance & Estates) confirmed that options going forward would be considered by the next Joint CCTV Partnership meeting in early April 2019.

3.

CERTIFICATION OF CLAIMS AND RETURNS ANNUAL REPORT 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report 2017/18 prepared by Ernst & Young.

Decision:

Neil Harris, Ernst and Young, presented the Certification of Claims and Annual Returns Report 2017/18 which summarised the results of the work on the Council’s 2017-18 claims.

 

The main considerations for the Committee related to the Housing Benefits Subsidy Claim and the fees for certification.

 

It was RESOLVED that the Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report 2017/18 be noted.

4.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUDIT BRIEFING pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To note the Local Government Briefing Paper for Quarter 3 prepared by Ernst and Young.

Decision:

The Committee received the Quarter 3 Local Government Audit Committee Briefing from the Council’s external auditors, Ernst and Young.

 

In response to a Member’s question, the Committee was advised that there was no financial penalty for late filing of the Statement of Accounts, but that it was more a reputational issue for Local Authorities and external auditors.

 

It was RESOLVED that the Local Government Briefing Paper for Quarter 3 prepared by Ernst and Young be noted.

5.

DRAFT AUDIT PLANNING REPORT 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To consider the Draft Audit Planning Report 2018/19 prepared by Ernst & Young.

Decision:

The Committee considered the draft Audit Planning Report 2018/19 prepared by Ernst and Young.

 

The Assistant Director (Finance & Estates) undertook to report back to the Committee at some time in the future in respect of Group Accounts Assessments, with particular reference to Marshgate Ltd.

 

In response to a Member’s question, the Committee was informed that the 2% (£2.2Million) planning materiality percentage was comparable with percentages for most other local authorities.

 

It was RESOLVED that the draft Annual Planning Report 2018/19 prepared by Ernst and Young be noted.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

6.

ANNUAL TREASURY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY INCLUDING PRUDENTIAL CODE INDICATORS 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 246 KB

To consider the Annual Treasury Management Strategy including Prudential Code Indicators for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Assistant Director (Finance and Estates) presented a report which would be recommended to Council at its meeting on 27 February 2019 seeking approval of the Treasury Management Strategy 2019/20 including its Annual Investment Strategy and the prudential indicators.

 

The Assistant Director (Finance and Estates) tabled a replacement Page 98 of the agenda, which included figures for the General Fund borrowing requirements for the Queensway Regeneration project.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the Treasury Management Strategy 2019/20 be recommended to the Executive and Council for approval.

 

2.         That the draft prudential indicators for 2019/20 be approved.

 

3.         That the minimum revenue provision policy be approved.

 

4.         That it be noted that no changes are being proposed to treasury limits contained within the Council’s treasury management policies.

 

5.         That the investment services provided to Queensway Properties LLP (see Paragraph 4.12.3 of the report) be noted.

7.

SHARED INTERNAL AUDIT SERVICES (SIAS) - PROGRESS REPORT 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To consider the Internal Audit Progress Report and the Status of Critical and High Priority Recommendations.

Decision:

The Committee received the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) 2018/19 progress report for the period to 18 January 2019.

 

In reply to a question, the SIAS Client Manager undertook to report back to the Committee following completion of the Hertfordshire Home Improvement Agency audit.

 

In response to a Member drawing attention to the Cyber Security High Priority Audit Recommendations, the Assistant Director (Corporate Services & Transformation) advised that it was intended to produce a costed ICT Investment Plan in the coming months.  He agreed to submit a report on this matter to a future meeting of the Committee.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the Internal Audit Progress report be noted.

 

2.         That the status of Critical and High Priority Recommendations be noted.

8.

URGENT PART 1 BUSINESS

To consider any Part 1 business accepted by the Chair as urgent.

Decision:

Performance & Improvement Manager

 

The Chair advised that Elaine Wright (Performance & Improvement Manager) was shortly to leave the Council’s service.  Over the years, Elaine had assisted the Committee in its work on the Corporate Risk Register and Annual Governance Statement, and would be sorely missed.  The Chair asked the Assistant Director (Corporate Services & Transformation) to pass on the Committee’s thanks to Elaine, and to wish her well for the future.

9.

EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

To consider the following motions –

 

1.  That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs1 – 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.

 

2.  That Members consider the reasons for the following reports being in Part II and determine whether or not maintaining the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that:

 

1.        Under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs 1-7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by Local Government (Access to information) (Variation) Order 2006.

 

2.         Members considered the reasons for the following reports being in Part II and determined that the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighed the public interest in disclosure.

10.

PART II MINUTES - AUDIT COMMITTEE - 20 NOVEMBER 2018

To approve as a correct record the Part II section of the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 20 November 2018.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that that the Part II Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 20 November 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

11.

URGENT PART II BUSINESS

To consider any Part II business accepted by the Chair as urgent.

Decision:

None.