Agenda and draft minutes

Governance & Audit Committee
Wednesday, 25th November, 2020 5.00 pm

Venue: Online Viewing Only

Contact: James Clapson 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

2.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 87 KB

3.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 127 KB

    To approve the Minutes of the Governance and Audit Committee meeting held on 23 September 2020, copy attached.

    Minutes:

    Councillor Garner proposed, Councillor Kup seconded and Members agreed the minutes as a correct record of the meeting held on 23 September 2020.

     

4.

Quarterly Internal Audit Update Report pdf icon PDF 81 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Mr Webb, Deputy Head of the East Kent Audit Partnership (EKAP), introduced the report, during which it was noted that:

     

    • Five internal audit assignments and two follow up reviews, had been completed since the last meeting of the Committee. 
    • The assurance level for the East Kent Housing, Health and safety – Fire Safety audit, had increased from no assurance to limited assurance, when the follow up review was carried out.  Improvements were expected to continue as controls became embedded.
    • Progress against the 2020-21 internal audit plan had fallen behind schedule due to the Covid 19 pandemic, however this was expected to be rectified by the end of March 2021.

     

    In response to questions from Members, it was noted that:

    ·  The management response to EKAP’s recommendations following the Grounds Maintenance audit, agreed that key performance indicators would be implemented.

    ·  Although the cost of telephones had seen a significant rise in 2019-20 compared to the previous year, EKAP’s audit had offered a significant assurance level based on the strength of the internal controls and practices that it found in place..

    Mr Willis offered to enquire into the increase in telephone costs and would advise Councillor Dexter outside of the meeting.

     

    Councillor Towning proposed, Councillor Shrubb seconded and Members agreed the following:

     

    1.  That the report be received by Members;

    2.  That any changes to the agreed 2020-21 internal audit plan, resulting from changes in perceived risk, detailed at point 5.0 of Annex 1 of the report be approved.

     

5.

Audit Findings Report pdf icon PDF 73 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Mr Blundell, Director of Finance - TDC and Ms Ironmonger, Director - Grant Thornton UK LLP advised Members that the Audit Findings Report, the Audit Committee Assurance Statement and the Statement of Accounts should be withdrawn from the agenda.  This was due to an unresolved issue with the valuation of a specific asset that could potentially have a material impact upon the accounts.

     

    These items would come to a future meeting of the Committee once the matter had been resolved.  The 30 November deadline for  signing off the accounts would not be met.

     

    The item was withdrawn fro the agenda.

     

6.

Audit Committee Assurance Statement pdf icon PDF 75 KB

7.

Statement of Accounts pdf icon PDF 84 KB

8.

Mid Year Review 2020-21: Treasury Management and Annual Investment Strategy pdf icon PDF 535 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Mr Blundell introduced the report which summarised the treasury management activity and prudential/treasury indicators for the first half of the 2020/21.

     

    During consideration of the item it was noted that:

    • There had been no exceptional activities outside of the agreed framework.
    • A key part of the report recommended that the Council reduced the required credit rating standard for investments from organisations with an ‘A’ rating to an ‘A-  rating’.  This change matched the downgrading of a number of high street banks, and would help to maintain the Council options for investment.

     

    Councillor Dexter proposed, Councillor Shrubb seconded and Members agreed the recommendations as shown in the report, namely:

     

    ‘That the Governance and Audit Committee recommends this report and annexes, including the prudential and treasury indicators that are shown, and the proposed changes to the 2020-21 Treasury Management Strategy Statement, to Council for approval.

9.

Treasury Management Strategy Statement, Minimum Revenue Provision Policy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy for 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 251 KB

10.

Corporate Risk Management - Quarterly Update pdf icon PDF 142 KB

    Minutes:

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

     

    During consideration of the item it was noted that:

    • Cyber security was a risk that had been escalated in importance.  It now appeared on the corporate risk register, following a number of cyber attacks on other Councils.
    • The East Kent Housing risk had reduced from 16 to 9, this reflected the successful initial transition to an in-house service.
    • The political stewardship risk was present because there was not a single party with enough members to have overall control of the Council.  At any point there could potentially be a change to the leadership, leading to a change in direction and policy.

     

    Members noted the report.