Agenda and draft minutes

Audit Committee - Monday, 13th June, 2022 7.00 pm

Contact: Kimberly Soane  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

AUD 123/21

Minutes

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 28 March 2022 and published on the Councils Website.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 March 2022 were agreed as a correct record of the meeting.

AUD 124/21

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs John Grey and Sally Dickson.

AUD 125/21

Disclosure of Interests

To receive from Members, declarations of interests in relation to any items included on the Agenda for this meeting, in accordance with the Waverley Code of Local Government Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no disclosure of interests submitted for this meeting.

AUD 126/21

Questions by Members of the Public

The Chairman to respond to any questions received from members of the public of which notice has been duly given in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.

Minutes:

There were none.

AUD 127/21

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

The Chairman to respond to any questions received from Members in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.

 

Minutes:

There were none.

AUD 128/21

Audit Findings Report - For Information pdf icon PDF 731 KB

Committee to note the final Audit Findings Report. Please note there are no material change from the version considered by the Committee last November.

Minutes:

Members were advised that the Audit findings report had been circulated for info. There were very little changes since the committee considered the document at the last meeting.

 

The Committee were informed that the Audit Opinion and Value for Money Assessment would be brought to the next meeting.

AUD 129/21

Annual Governance Statement - Consideration of Potential Governance Issues.

To enable the Committee to raise any potential emerging governance issues that may need to be addressed.

 

Recommendation

 

The Committee is invited to raise any potential emerging governance issues for consideration.

 

Minutes:

There were no potential governance issues raised by the committee for consideration.

 

Officers advised that the Annual Governance Statement was being revised at present and then informal sessions would be held to consider the document.

AUD 130/21

Review of Progress in the implementation of Internal Audit Actions pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To inform the Audit Committee of Senior Management’s progress in implementing the actions raised by Internal Audit  following a review in their service areas. This report will enable the Committee to consider what action is required in respect of those that are overdue or appear likely to be implemented later than the target date.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Committee considers the information contained and, following discussion at the Audit Committee meeting identifies any action it wishes to be taken.

Minutes:

Members were updated on the progress of the audit actions that were either due or overdue by the 30 June 2022. Annexe 1 showed the actions in progress and annexe 2 outlined those actions that the Heads of Service were asking for extensions on.

 

Members were reminded that at the informal meeting held on 10 May 2022 the committee had agreed that some of the outstanding actions should be revised and target dates be rescheduled.  This had now been actioned and a list of those revised actions will be circulated.

 

There were 9 actions set out in Annexe 1 and three of these had extensions requested.

 

The three extensions were agreed but the committee requested that the Safeguarding report be completed by September.

 

 

AUD 131/21

Review of the progress in achieving the Audit Plan 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

The Committee’s Terms of Reference include provision for the Committee to approve, monitor and comment on the progress made in the achievement of the Internal Audit Plan.  An update on the current position of the internal audit reviews is attached.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Committee notes the contents of the Internal Audit Progress report as attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were updated on the progress in achieving the Audit Plan 2021/22. It was highlighted that the performance dashboard showed 97% complete and 3% work in progress, however since the report was published progress had been made.

 

It was noted that no reviews had been identified as having no assurances.

AUD 132/21

Annual Internal Audit Report pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Purpose and summary of the report.

 

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (Part 2 s3) require local authorities to have a sound system of internal control and Internal Audit is part of this system of internal control. Part 2 (s5) of the Regulations state that an authority must undertake an effective internal audit to evaluate the effectiveness of its risk management, control and governance processes. This report is a summary of the work carried out by Internal Audit during the financial year 2020-21 and also provides an audit opinion to support the Annual Governance Statement on the organisation’s control environment.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Audit Committee considers and notes the annual internal audit report and audit opinion for 2021-22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members NOTED the Annual Report.

 

Officers were asked what external checks were carried out on the Internal Audit?  They were advised the S.151 officer checks the work of the Internal Audit currently but are looking at the possibility of cross authority checks as part of the collaboration with Guildford Borough Council.

AUD 133/21

Fraud Investigation Summary pdf icon PDF 81 KB

The report provides an update to the Committee on the work being completed in investigating fraud, primarily focusing on Housing Tenancy Fraud.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Audit Committee notes the success of the fraud investigation activity.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Officers provided an update on the work being completed in investigating fraud, primarily Housing Tenancy Fraud.

 

In the period 01 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 successes included the recovery of 5 relinquished tenancies and the retention of 5 other properties held in the councils housing stock, 2 of which relates to a Right-to-Buy application where the right to buy was stopped and the tenancy relinquished. The other 3 related to applications which were denied due to the inaccuracy of the information supplied when either applying to be included on our housing waiting list or applying for succession where succession conditions were not met.

 

It was highlighted that the investment put in to providing resources to investigate these issues were achieving rewards.

 

The Committee NOTED the report.

 

AUD 134/21

Revised Counter Fraud Strategy & Related Policies V7.1 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

This report is being presented to the committee to obtain endorsement of the revised policies enabling these to be published on the councils intranet and where applicable on the website to cascaded and provide awareness to all members of staff, members, partners, the Council’s suppliers, thus reinforcing Waverley’s stance of zero tolerance to Fraud and Corruption. These documents will provide a guide to enable the appropriate action to be taken where concerns arise.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Audit Committee

 

1. endorse the revised Strategy and Policies as detailed below:

 

Counter Fraud Strategy

Counter Fraud Policy

Fraud Response Plan

Anti- Bribery Policy

Prosecution Policy

 

2. instructs that officers cascade these documents using suitable media to publicise these documents to the appropriate recipients.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Officers outlined the revised policies and strategies set out in the agenda.  Members were thanked for input on the documents and their comments would be taken into consideration before the papers were finalised.

 

Officers were asked ‘What had driven the revisions?’ and were advised that they were reviewed annually and were brought to committee every two years.   It was also highlighted that the documents were DRAFT until they had been agreed by the Audit Committee and Council.

 

Members were advised that the Fraud Response Plan was a new policy.

 

Comments on the new policy were:

 

·         5.1 – Elected Members should also be included.

·         6.17-6.20 – how do the public know where to look? It is hoped the search option works properly.

·         9.4 – Who is the investigating Officer?

·         Will the recent increase in grants make fraud more widespread? Have we enough resources to tackle? We are proactive and carry out robust checks prior to payments being made.

 

The Committee ENDORSED the documents set out in the agenda pack subject to the comments made.

AUD 135/21

Audit Committee Recurrent Annual Work Programme pdf icon PDF 455 KB

The Committee’s annual recurrent work programme is attached.  The work programme details regular items, but other items can be submitted to each meeting on an ad hoc basis or at the request of the Committee.

 

Recommendation

 

The Audit Committee is invited to note its recurrent annual work programme.

Minutes:

The Audit Committee Recurrent Annual Work Programme was NOTED.

 

Officers advised that the Annual External Audit Report from Grant Thornton should be presented at the September meeting.

 

The Audit Plan should be available soon and an informal session will be held to discuss the Statement of Account prior to the September meeting.

AUD 136/21

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider the following recommendation on the motion of the Chairman:

 

Recommendation

 

That pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item(s) on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the item(s), there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 1001 of the Act) of the description specified in the appropriate paragraph(s) of the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (to be identified at the meeting).

Minutes:

There were no items to discuss in exempt session so the chairman closed the meeting.