Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Cllr Pugh.
Declarations of Interest PDF 87 KB
To receive any declarations of
interest. Members are advised to consider the advice
contained within the Declaration of Interest advice attached to
this Agenda. If a Member declares an interest, they should
complete the Declaration of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes of Previous Meeting PDF 151 KB
To approve the Minutes of the
Governance and Audit Committee meeting held on 1 December 2021,
Cllr Kup proposed, Cllr Towning seconded and
members AGREED to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 01
Quarterly Internal Audit Update Report PDF 67 KB
Simon Webb from East Kent Audit Partnership
introduced the report, making the following key points:
- This had been a busy quarter, with
10 reviews taking place.
- Substantial assurance had been
reported in 2 significant areas, council tax and the payment of
- Reasonable assurance was concluded
for playgrounds and creditors.
- Limited assurance was given in two
areas, equality & diversity and right to buy.
- There was no assurance concluded in
the area of street cleansing.
- 3 further reviews were undertaken
where an assurance opinion wasn’t applicable. These
- GDPR and the impact of home working
- A position statement on the
Council's controls to tackle climate change.
- Quarterly housing benefit testing
- There were also four follow ups
undertaken in this report.
- Progress against the Internal audit
plan shows that it was behind schedule at 31 Dec 2021, but had
moved ahead of the target at 28 Feb 2022.
- The limited areas which are yet to
be followed up would be shared with the committee in the coming
Members raised questions and the following
points were made:
- All playgrounds in the district are
subject to regular inspections by qualified council staff and also
an external inspection annually. In general the reports from these
inspections are available, but are not routinely published.
- There was one exception, which was
that the report on the Ethelbert crescent viking ship playground in Cliftonville had been
made available on the TDC website.
- Information on expired certificates
would be given in writing to the Chair.
- Staff qualified to undertake
inspections had been given the training to do so by TDC, while in
- Historically some playgrounds have
been transferred to parish or town councils, but there were none
planned to be at this time.
- It was commented that the street
cleansing audit didn’t reflect the hard work undertaken
across broader areas of service delivery, but focussed primarily on
- Thanks was noted for the
Council’s work on fly tipping.
- It was noted that the audit looked
for key controls in setting standards, delivering, measuring and
reporting on performance, rather than operational service
delivery. These controls were missing. However, are in the
agreed action plan which would be implemented going forward.
- There were also some technological
improvements to the service and service monitoring that were
already well underway and would be implemented shortly.
- Madeline Homer, Chief executive,
added that she felt that the process was reassuring and although
issues had been rightly raised around controls, the complexity of
the service and resourcing issues needed to be taken into account
- TDC Service Standards, setting the
level of cleanliness against the Code of Practice, had not yet been
published. Doing so was part of the action plan, with a target date
prior to September.
- The support of residents was noted
as a requirement for the future.
- Of 68,000 properties there were
10,000 without the usual bin collection set-up. Ensuring that the
waste for these properties was dealt with appropriately involved a
view the full minutes text for item 14.
Draft Internal Audit Plan 2022-23 PDF 130 KB
Christine Parker from East Kent Audit
Partnership introduced this item, noting that:
- Although the strategic plan showed
multiple years, the committee was only asked to approve the next 12
- The Charter would usually come to
the committee annually, with the plan, but as there weren’t
any significant changes it would next come in 2023.
- Information was gathered from a
variety of sources to inform the plan.
- The top ten risks shown from the
Institute of Internal Auditors’ audit cover all sectors and
- They are noted to assure the
committee that Internal Audit have considered them all and built
them into the proposed plan or, if not, given reasons.
- The benchmarking provision is also
outlined for members' information.
Members were welcomed to give any comments on
the plan and the following points were made:
- Illness with Covid-19 would now be
treated according to the usual sickness absence processes.
Cllr Duckworth proposed, Cllr Shrubb seconded
and members APPROVED the Council’s Internal Audit Plan for
Corporate Risk Management - Quarterly Update PDF 132 KB
Mr Blundell, Director of Finance and Section
151 Officer introduced the review of corporate risks and made the
following key points:
- The only change from the previous
report was a reduced risk for Covid-19 as the law and associated
sickness absence treatment within the Council had
- Considering recent events in
Ukraine, the corporate management team would be considering cyber
insurance and other measures that can be taken to protect the
Council against digital threats.
- The risk score hadn’t changed,
but an update on governance had been given by the Independent
Monitoring Officer to the General Purposes committee.
- It was positive to note that the
budget had been approved, however, the funding landscape for local
government remained uncertain and this was reflected in the risk
- Turbulent times in the economy was
also commented on as an issue to try to manage.
- The lowest scoring risks had been
set out in Annex 1, as requested by the committee previously.
- A new risk management strategy would
be coming to the next meeting of the committee for feedback, review
During discussion it was noted that:
- The Cabinet portfolio holder noted
was incorrect and needed updating on the report.
- TDC would be expecting to see change
in the next 6 months on areas impacted by the report of the
Independent Monitoring Officer, political stewardship (bearing in
mind the upcoming election) and Covid-19 risks (assuming no new
- Homelessness was likely to remain a
considerable risk going forward.
- The highest scoring risks are
presented to the committee but the update to the risk management
strategy would include more nuance in future.
- Cyber attacks including fishing
attempts have taken place at TDC and are noted as a risk to the
Council and a worldwide issue.
Cllr Kup proposed, Cllr Hopkinson seconded and
members APPROVED the review.
Statement of Accounts Update PDF 95 KB
Chris Blundell presented the Statement of
Accounts Update. It was noted that:
- The report related to this year,
last year, and next years accounts and audit.
- It was hoped that the 20/21 accounts
would have been brought to the G&A committee at this meeting,
however there were still two critical items that needed to be
determined and resolved. With the agreement of the Chair, officers
would be looking to arrange an extraordinary meeting in May to do
- The 21/22 accounts have the same
deadlines in place as the current year. However, it was noted that
only 9% of audits across all authorities were finished by the 30
September deadline last year and only 40% were complete by the end
- This led CIPFA to launch an
emergency consultation to accountancy standards, which TDC have
responded to as set out in annex 1.
- There were no changes to the
accounting policies for next year, which become effective from 1
Cllr Shrubb proposed, Cllr Duckworth seconded
and members APPROVED the 2022/23 accounting policies as set out in
Annex 2 of the report. Members also noted the following points:
1. The progress with the audit of the 2020/21
statement of accounts;
2. The statutory audit deadlines for
3. The council’s response to the
consultation on time limited changes to the code of practice on
Local Authority Accounting, as set out in Annex 1.
2021/22 Waivers PDF 115 KB
Chris Blundell presented the 2021/22 Waivers,
- He hoped this would be the first of
many updates on the use of procurement waivers.
- The default processes and
circumstances for deviating from them were set out in the
- 21/22 waivers were also set out and
there had been 48 in the year to date.
Members commented and during discussion it was
- Officers would compare data with
nearby authorities and try to provide meaningful and fair
comparison. However, individual circumstances would make this
challenging. For example, more direct control over spend with
in-house services would provide more opportunity for waivers, so
comparison may not be reasonable.
- Consideration would also be given to
presenting the information as a percentage of total spending.
- TDC may have more waivers going
forward due to delivering the levelling up fund.
- Although generally the council was
aiming for fewer waivers there are often good reasons. The most
common reason would be to provide value for money for
- Timescales imposed by Central
Government are often difficult and waivers are useful.
Members noted the report.
Local Code of Corporate Governance PDF 80 KB
Estelle Culligan, Director of Law and
Democracy, introduced this report and made the following key
- The code was referred to in the
Annual Governance Statement and last updated in 2019.
- It reflects the CITFA and Solace
Good Governance Framework for Local Government 2016 document, which
sets out seven principles of good governance that councils were
required to provide evidence against.
- The report shows a lot of good that
TDC is doing to support its governance, as well as the work being
undertaken following the statutory requirements from the external
- This document would be published
with the Annual Governance Statement on the Council website so it
was more accessible and would promote transparency in these
During discussion it was clarified that:
- Meetings were held with both unions
through the ‘Employee Council’ to share the
Council’s policy on a particular area. They then consult
their members and come back to TDC individually.
Cllr Hopkinson proposed, Cllr Duckworth
seconded and members AGREED to adopt the revised Local Code of
Corporate Governance for 2022.
Annual Governance Statement 2021/22 Action Plan Update PDF 86 KB
Estelle Culligan made the following remarks on
- This is a regular update on the
progress of the action plan set out in the Annual Governance
- Key points were the reference to the
Statutory Recommendations from the external auditor, the update to
financial procedure rules and the most recent update to the
Members noted the update.
Chair's Annual Report to Council PDF 62 KB
No members had any questions for the Chair on
her Annual Report to Council.
Members noted the report.
Exclusion of Public and Press PDF 83 KB
Cllr Boyd proposed, Cllr Duckworth seconded
and members AGREED that the public and press be excluded from the
meeting for agenda item 13, as it contained exempt information as
defined in paragraphs 1, 2, 3 & 7 of part 1 of schedule 12a of
the local government act 1972 (as amended).
ended and any members of the press or public present were asked to
leave the meeting***
G&A Oversight of Fraud, Laws & Regulations
Verbal update from Chris Blundell.
Chris Blundell gave a verbal update.