Agenda and draft minutes

Audit Committee - Monday, 12th September, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming. View directions

Contact: Kimberly Soane  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

AUD 15/21

Minutes

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 June 2022 and published on the Council’s website.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 June 2022 were agreed as a correct record.

AUD 16/21

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from councillors Jan Floyd-Douglass, John Gray and Sally Dickson.

AUD 17/21

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 18/21

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 19/21

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

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

 

Minutes:

There were none.

AUD 20/21

Review Audit Committee's Term of Reference pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the current terms of reference and made recommendations as to changes that were required.

 

Changes recommended:

 

·         Added Version Control table

·         8.1  -

-   Joint Planning Committee removed

-   Area Planning Committees changed to ‘Eastern and Western’

-   Licensing & Regulatory, added ‘and Sub Committees’

·         8.3 b (iii) – spelling mistake rectified

·         8.3 c (iii) – removed ‘client’

·         8.3 c (v) – changed ‘recommendations’ to ‘actions’

·         8.4 a (i) – added ‘up to’ eight Councillors

·         8.4 a (ii) – added ‘to co-opt external members as required to deliberate specific items’

·          8.4 a (iii) – ii now iii

 

8.3 a (ii) – Cllr Seaborne asked if there was a list of the regulations and legislation we need to comply with? He was advised that they were regularly changing and difficult to list. Specific questions on the Annual Governance Statement and the letter of representation indicates if we are complying.

 

Action:

a) revised ToR with tracked changes would be circulated for comment.

AUD 21/21

Audit Committee Annual Report pdf icon PDF 252 KB

This report details the work undertaken by the Audit Committee over the municipal year 2021/22. The purpose of this annual review of the work of the Committee is to help Members review the previous year’s work and plan for the coming year.

Minutes:

The Committee were asked to note the annual report circulated with the agenda and make comment on errors or omissions.

 

Comments:

 

·         2nd para should state we met twice in November.

·         Membership should also include Cllr Sally Dickson who replaced Cllr Wicks in November 2021. It should also state there was a vacancy throughout the municipal year.

·         1.3 - Need to include narrative on response to action. E.g. response provided by Head of Planning.

·         Cllr Hyman, who had registered to speak on this item, advised he was still not convinced that a correct response had been received and that he was attending a meeting this Wednesday with Head of Planning and Portfolio for Planning to discuss Habitats regulations and appropriate assessments. He also advised we had still not received the updated bird numbers from Natural England.

·         It was noted that in March 2022 the Committee received an informal briefing on the Strategic Risk Register. A number of actions had come out of this briefing and the committee asked for an update on those actions to be provided.

 

Actions: A special meeting would be arranged to bring back an update on the actions relating to the Strategic Risk Register.

AUD 22/21

Annual Governance Statement to approve pdf icon PDF 861 KB

To consider and approve the Annual Governance Statement 2021/22.

Minutes:

Patrick Tuite attended for this item. A copy of the draft Audit Governance Statement had been circulated with the agenda for comment.

 

He thanked the committee members for the comments already submitted and advised that this year had been quieter than previous ones.

 

The Committee were advised that the leader was happy with the document and the Joint Chief Executive had just asked for the paragraph on the s151 officer be removed.

 

Comments:

 

·         5.4 – the list of items we are required to look at does not include reporting.

·         Does the legislation allow the s151 officer to cover two authorities? What if there were conflicts between the two authorities?

 

Graeme Clark confirmed there was nothing to prevent them working for two authorities. The committee were advised that the CIPFA guide sets out the principles for the s151 officer as stipulated in the Local Government Act 1972. They were also assured the Inter Authority Agreement adequately addresses any conflict of interests and how they will be handled. After a discussion, the Committee were satisfied that adequate governance arrangements are in place for the Inter Authority Agreement and therefore a specific role for the Audit Committee is not necessary.

 

Cllr Hyman, who had registered to speak on this item, asked how we could be confident that the law and legislation was being followed? He felt that the principles set out in the document was not of use as:

Principle 1 - There was no openness,

Principle 3 – There was no vision

Principle 5 – there was no compliance.

 

The Chairman asked if external legal support could be used to address issues when members were not happy with the advice they were being given by officers. He was advised to speak to Robin Taylor as Monitoring Officer.

 

 

Action:

a)    a copy of the CIPFA compliance document would be circulated to members.

b)    The draft Annual Governance Statement was ENDORSED subject to the minor changes and comments made.

 

AUD 23/21

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:

Cllr Hyman, who had registered to speak on this item raised a number of items he felt the Committee should address around:

 

·         Air Quality (AQ) – He stated there was no AQ action plan and had not been one for some time. There was no scrutiny of AQ and the newly formed AQ Board was Executive only.

·         He raised concern at the delay in the Local Planning Enforcement Plan and felt this should be questioned by the Committee.

·         He felt there was no scrutiny around working from home productivity.

·         He felt there was no ‘Duty of Candour’.

 

AUD 24/21

Review of Progress in the implementation of Internal Audit Actions pdf icon PDF 375 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:

Gail Beaton outlined the report set out in the agenda. She advised that the actions set out in annexe 1 were outstanding but most were scheduled to be completed by end September 2022.

 

Annexe 2 set out the actions which were unlikely to be completed by their target date and the Head of Service had requested extensions.

 

Sally Busby attended for this item and outlined the reasons for the requests for extensions for Planning.

 

IA20/08.001 – The Local Planning Enforcement Plan (LPEP) was currently in draft form but needed further work before it was ready to be presented for scrutiny and then to the Executive.  It was scheduled to go to the Services O&S in November and to Executive in January 2023. It was also connected to Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) and would link into its scheduled publication in March 2023.

 

The Committee asked what would happen if the inspector refused LPP2 and if this would further delay the LPEP as it was already a year overdue?  Sally advised she did not envisage the LPEP being delayed any further even if LPP2 was.

 

Members were advised that if they had concerns about the governance for LPEP they could make representation to the Executive.

 

Decisions

 

·         IA20/08.001 & 08.002 – Committee requests that the LPEP be implemented ASAP and the Head of Planning to ensure it was ready for the Services O&S in November.

·         IA22/08.002.1 – Agreed extension to October 2022

·         IA22/08.003.1 – Agreed extension to January 2023

·         IA22/10.003.1 and 2 – Agreed extension to September 2022

 

 

 

 

AUD 25/21

Review of the progress in achieving the Audit Plan 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:

Gail Beaton outlined the report set out in the agenda papers. She explained we were currently at the end of Q2 and 30% of actions were progressing and 60% were still to start. Additional reviews have been added since the Committee last saw the plan.

 

The Committee asked for an explanation of the process for completion of actions especially those actions started in Q4.  Gail explained this was a rolling programme so not all actions are completed by the end of the municipal year, although the majority are, and these would then be reported as and when completed.

 

 Action: The Review of the progress in achieving the Audit plan was NOTED.

AUD 26/21

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 Committee NOTED the Audit Committee Recurrent Annual Work Programme. The committee were advised that the proposed October Meeting to note the  Statement of Accounts and External Audit Findings Report would no longer take place and these items would be considered at the scheduled November meeting.

AUD 27/21

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:

This meeting would be the last one attended by Graeme Clark as he was leaving Waverley at the end of September. The Chairman thanked Graeme for his help and advise to the Committee and wished him well for the future.

 

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