Agenda and decisions

Audit Committee
Tuesday, 12 November 2019 6.00pm

Venue: 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:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Stephen Booth, Laurie Chester and David Cullen, and from Mr Geoff Gibbs (Independent Co-opted Member).

 

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

MINUTES - 10 SEPTEMBER 2019 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 10 September 2019.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 10 September 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

3.

EXTERNAL AUDIT 2018/19 - PROGRESS REPORT

To receive a verbal update from the Assistant Director (Finance & Estates) regarding progress on the 2018/19 External Audit.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the verbal progress report in respect of the 2018/19 External Audit be noted.

4.

PROGRESS WITH DELIVERY OF 2019/20 ANTI-FRAUD PLAN pdf icon PDF 292 KB

To consider a progress report on the delivery of the 2019/20 Anti-Fraud Plan.

Additional documents:

Decision:

In reply to a series of Members’ questions, the Shared Anti-Fraud Manager commented as follows:

 

·                the process for estimating the value of fraud loss was a recent addition to the SAFS IT system.  At the end of the 2019/20 Financial Year, it would be possible to compare the estimated figure against the actual outturn figure;

·                the statistics relating to Housing Benefit fraud covered both public and private sector housing;

·                it was expected that any potential procurement/contract management fraud in respect of SBC contracts would be flagged up by officers for onward reporting to SAFS;

·                the 2019/20 target of 12 social homes secured from sub-letting or other unlawful tenancy breaches was based on previous years and was challenging, as this type of fraud was complex.  However, as well as delivering significant savings to the Council, the successful cases provided added social value;

·                the onus would be for Planning Officers to enforce any instances of householders moving their boundary/fence lines onto amenity land.

 

It was RESOLVED that the work of the Council and the Shared Anti-Fraud Service in delivering the 2019/20 Anti-Fraud Plan be noted.

5.

INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN 2019/20 - PROGRESS REPORT pdf icon PDF 203 KB

To consider a progress report on the SIAS 2019/20 Internal Audit Plan.

Decision:

In respect of a Member’s query regarding the High Priority Recommendations in relation to Cyber Security, particularly the Management Comment that it was “very rare (if ever) that someone connects an external device to the IT network”, the SIAS Client Audit Manager agreed to clarify this comment with the ICT Strategic Partnership Manager and advise Members of the Committee.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the Internal Audit Progress Report be noted.

 

2.         That the amendments to the Internal Audit Plan, as at 25 October 2019, be approved.

 

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

6.

MID YEAR REVIEW OF THE 2019/20 TREASURY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To consider the Mid Year review of the 2019/20 Treasury Management Strategy.

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.         That Council be recommended to approve the 2019/20 Treasury Management Mid Year review.

 

2.         That Council be recommended to approve the latest approved Countries for Investments list (Appendix D to the report).

 

3.         That the updated authorised and operational borrowing limits be approved (Paragraph 4.4.7 in the report).

 

4.         That the updated MRP Policy be approved (Paragraph 4.4.10 and Appendix E to the report).

7.

PROGRESS OF CORPORATE AND SERVICE GOVERNANCE ACTIONS pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To consider the progress of Corporate and Service Governance Actions.

Additional documents:

Decision:

In response to a Member’s question, the Corporate Performance & Improvement Officer (SB) advised that the policies and procedures in place to ensure that the Council ran effectively was measured against the CIPFA/SOLACE seven core principles of good governance set out in Paragraph 3.3 of the report.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the progress to date of corporate governance action to strengthen the Council’s corporate governance arrangements, as identified in the Council’s 2018/19 Annual Governance Statement reported to the Audit Committee on 12 June 2019, be noted.

 

2.         That the progress to date of service governance actions identified by the 2018/19 Service Assurance reviews carried out at business unit level to strengthen the Council’s service governance arrangements reported to the Audit Committee on 12 June 2019, be noted.

8.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY (ICT) JOINT STRATEGY UPDATE pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To consider an update on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategy.

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that consideration of the ICT Joint Strategy update be deferred to the next meeting of the Committee in February 2020.

9.

URGENT PART 1 BUSINESS

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

Decision:

None.

10.

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:

 

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.

11.

PART II MINUTES - AUDIT COMMITTEE - 10 SEPTEMBER 2019

To approve as correct record the Part II Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 10 September 2019.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Part II Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 10 September 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

12.

STRATEGIC RISK REGISTER

To note the latest Strategic Risk Register for Stevenage Borough Council and developments on risk management issues.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the latest Strategic Risk Register (set out in Appendices A1 – A3 to the report) be noted.

 

2.         That developments on risk management issues be noted.

13.

URGENT PART II BUSINESS

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

Decision:

None.