Agenda and draft minutes

Governance and Audit Committee
Wednesday, 25th September, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent. View directions

Contact: James Clapson 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

2.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 87 KB

3.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 77 KB

4.

Internal Audit Quarterly Update pdf icon PDF 188 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Ms Parker, Head of the East Kent Audit Partnership (EKAP), introduced the report noting that there had been five internal audit assignments completed since the last committee meeting; one achieved substantial assurance, two concluded reasonable assurance, one achieved a mixture of limited/no assurance, and one did not require an assurance rating.  Four follow up reviews had also been completed.

     

    During consideration of the item, it was noted that:

    ·  There was a typographical error in the report’s recommendation, and in the corporate implications section. In both cases 2018/19 should be replaced with 2019/20.

    ·  42% of the work for the year had been completed up to the end of August, this was in line with the audit plan.

    ·  Actions had been agreed in response to the Business Continuity Audit findings, that would improve the management of the partnership agreement between the Council and the Kent Resilience Forum. Implementation of these actions would be assessed when the follow up review was undertaken.

     

    Members received an update from Ms Upton, Chief Executive of East Kent Housing (EKH) regarding the Tenant Health and Safety audit findings.  During in the update it was noted that:

    ·  The tenant health and safety failures identified in the audit were unacceptable and should never have been allowed to happen.

    ·  The audit was a snap shot in time, as soon as the issues had been identified, mitigation actions had been taken and were ongoing.  EKAP were monitoring the impact of these actions.

    ·  The gas safety follow up assessment had been completed and received a substantial assurance rating.  Follow up assessments for electrical safety, lifts and legionella were planned in the near future.

    ·  The Council would issue a letter to all tenants on 26 September 2019 to keep residents up to date on the issue.

    ·  Cabinet would meet in October to consider options for the management of the Council’s housing stock, this would include detail about consultation with residents.

     

    Members agreed to note the report, and agreed that changes to the 2019-20 internal audit plan, resulting from changes in perceived risk, detailed at paragraph 5.0 in Annex 1 of the report be approved.

     

5.

Corporate Risk Management Quarterly Update pdf icon PDF 211 KB

    Minutes:

    Mr Blundell, Head of Financial Services, introduced the report providing a quarterly update of progress since the last meeting.

     

    During consideration of the item it was noted that:

    ·  The risk scores were calculated by multiplying the likelihood of a risk occurring (up to a maximum of four) by the impact that it’s occurrence would have (up to a maximum of four).  The maximum risk score possible was 16.

    ·  The risks and scores had remained unchanged since the last meeting of the committee.

    ·  The Fair Funding Review was underway, it was unclear if the level of deprivation would form part of the calculation for funding in future.

    ·  The Kent region had been unsuccessful in it’s bid to enter the 75% business rate retention scheme pilot. This would have allowed the Council to retain 75% of the income from any growth in business rates.  The Council would remain in the 50% retention scheme for 2020/21.

    ·  Currently District Councils have the opportunity to increase Council Tax by up to 2% without the requirement to hold a referendum, it was hoped that this would be increased to 5%. 

    ·  The Council’s budget strategy did not assume money would be received for the disposal of the Dreamland asset.  There would not be a budget deficit if the sale did not go ahead.

    ·  Mr Blundell would advise Councillor Yates what the Council’s annual debt repayments were for Dreamland.

     

    Members noted the report.

     

     

     

6.

External Audit Annual Audit Letter pdf icon PDF 519 KB

    Minutes:

    Mr Wells, Grant Thornton UK LLP (GT), introduced the Annual Audit Letter that summarised the key findings from the work carried out at the Council for 2018-19.

     

    During consideration of the item it was noted that:

    • The Letter confirmed that GT gave an unqualified option on the Council’s financial statements on 31 July 2019.
    • The value for money conclusion would be completed once the four local elector objections had been investigated.
    • Mr Waite was the Director responsible for managing the risk of Brexit and business continuity.  He would be asked to advise Councillor Campbell if there was a long term plan to mitigate the impact of a hard Brexit on the District.
    • GT did not specifically review the Council’s investments, however the assumptions behind the Council’s medium term financial plan were similar to those made by other council’s.
    • The Council currently avoided making more risky investments that might produce higher returns, because it had fairly low levels of reserves and resources.

     

    Members noted the report.