Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Simon Lewis  Committee Officer

Items
No. Item

Available papers

The members had before them:

 

A.    The Agenda papers (previously circulated); and

 

B.    The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2019 (previously circulated).

507.

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Mr P Middlebrough be elected Chairman for the meeting.

 

Mr P Middlebrough in the Chair.

 

508.

Apologies and Named Substitutes (Agenda item 1)

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Mr N Desmond and Mr L C R Mallett.

 

Mr A I Hardman substituted for Mr N Desmond.

509.

Declarations of Interest (Agenda item 2)

Minutes:

None.

510.

Public Participation (Agenda item 3)

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 26 July 2019). Further details are available on the Council’s website. Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.

Minutes:

None.

511.

Confirmation of Minutes (Agenda item 4)

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2019. (previously circulated – pink pages)

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

512.

Internal Audit Annual Report 2018/19 (Agenda item 5) pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Internal Audit Annual Report 2018/19.

 

In the ensuing debate, it was requested that the presentation of the Annual Report be reviewed to ensure that any diagrams were clear to understand in black and white.

 

RESOLVED that the Internal Audit Annual Report 2018/19 set out in the Appendix to the report be endorsed.

513.

Statutory Accounts and Pension Fund 2018/19 - External Audit Findings Report (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Statutory Accounts and Pension Fund 2018/19 - External Audit Findings Report.

 

In introducing the report, Michael Hudson, the Chief Financial Officer commented that there were no issues of materiality arising from with the Accounts. Discussions had taken place with the external auditor about the correct treatment of the issues arising from the McCloud judgement. He endorsed and supported the external auditor’s report.

 

Peter Barber and Helen Lillington from Grant Thornton, the Council’s external auditor made the following points:

 

·         Work would continue with officers to finalise the Accounts up to the statutory deadline on 31 July. The key areas had all been covered in the report and no additional significant issues needed to be brought to the Committee’s attention since its publication

·         The Council’s actuary had assessed the impact of the McCloud judgement on the Accounts. An adjustment to the Accounts of £6.5m had been identified. Grant Thornton had commissioned its actuary to challenge that finding and found it to be satisfactory

·         Two further errors had been identified. Firstly, a technical issue relating to the £12.4m classification difference on the face of the Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement. It was considered that this did not impact on the outturn figure. Secondly, a technical accounting adjustment relating to £6.1m of capital grants that had been incorrectly accounted for. Officers did not consider this to be a material amount and consequently had not adjusted the Accounts. The external auditor was comfortable with that approach

·         The external auditor intended to issue an unqualified opinion on the Accounts

·         In relation to the Value for Money conclusion, the Council’s commissioning arrangements had been reviewed. It was found that substantial improvements had taken place since last year and these arrangements were now considered satisfactory. Since the publication of this report, the Ofsted judgement on the Council’s Children’s Services had been received. It indicated that the service “requires improvement”. This was an improvement on last year and provided an assurance that the service was no longer a cause for concern. Assurance could therefore be given that the Council had VFM arrangements in place with no exceptions   

·         The report identified the significant findings – audit risks. No issues had been identified In relation to the revenue cycle including fraudulent transactions and the management override of controls. The assessment of the risk associated with the valuation of Property, Plant and Equipment had proved problematic and the working papers had been delayed. Arrangements had improved and it could now be confirmed that an assurance could be given that the material value was not different from the real value. Following the assessment of the implications of the McCloud judgement, the external auditor was comfortable with the accuracy of the valuation of the pension fund liability

·         The McCloud judgement affected every council in the country. The judgement had implications for the costs to the Pension Fund going forward, the Triennial Valuation and employer contributions

·         The financial issues experienced by Northamptonshire County Council had implications for the level of work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 513.

514.

Annual Governance Statement 2018/19 (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Annual Governance Statement 2018/19.

 

RESOLVED that the Annual Governance Statement 2018/2019 be approved.

515.

Annual statutory Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2019 (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Annual Statutory Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2019.

 

The Chief Financial Officer introduced the report and highlighted the followings points:

 

·         He thanked the Finance Team and the external auditor for their tireless work in finalising the Accounts. Worcestershire were one of the first councils in the country to finalise their Accounts

·         He recommended the Accounts for approval.

 

In the ensuing debate, the straightforward nature of the accounts was welcomed. There was a considerable reduction in number of explanatory notes in the Accounts compared to previous years. Everyone concerned should be congratulated for their efforts. In response, Michael Hudson, the Chief Financial Officer thanked member of the communications team who had provided advice and guidance in producing the Accounts in an ambitious new format. 

 

RESOLVED that the Final Accounts Pack, including the Statement of Accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2019, be approved.

 

516.

Internal Audit Progress Report - July 2019 (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Internal Audit Progress Report - July 2019.

 

In the ensuing debate, the following points were raised:

 

·         Michael Hudson, the Chief Financial officer indicated that the internal audit team had been operating under capacity since its transfer in-house. The Plan was being managed and a recruitment drive had been undertaken to bring the unit up to full capacity to ensure the delivery of the Plan

·         The positive direction of travel of the work undertaken by the internal audit team to reduce the number of outstanding audits was welcomed.

 

RESOLVED that the Internal Audit Progress Report attached as an Appendix to the report be noted.

517.

Corporate Risk Report (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Corporate Risk Report.

 

In the ensuing debate, the following points were raised:

 

·         It was queried whether the outcome of a no Brexit deal had been taken into account as part of the Council’s risk management arrangements. Rob Morris, the Management Information Analytics and Research Manager indicated that the Director of Commercial and Commissioning attended a Forum on behalf of the Council which was considering the implications of all aspects of Brexit

·         Did the Council have risk management plans in place to tackle the impact of major weather events on the ability of the Council to carry out its functions? The Chief Financial Officer responded that emergency plans were in place for certain events such as flooding. Internal Audit had responsibility for reviewing the effectiveness of those plans.

 

RESOLVED: that

 

a)    the latest update of the Corporate Risk Register including mitigating actions identified in respect of red risk be noted; and

 

b)   Risk Reports be received on a quarterly basis.

518.

Work Programme (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered its future work programme.

 

In the ensuing debate, it was noted that any suggestions for changes to the work programme should be directed to the Chief Financial Officer.

 

RESOLVED that the work programme be agreed.