Agenda and minutes

Audit & Governance Committee
Thursday, 24 May 2018 12.30 pm

Venue: Members Conference Room, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN

Contact: Joss Butler  Email: joss.butler@surreycc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

26/18

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

27/18

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING - 12 April 2018 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

28/18

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter

    (i)            Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

    (ii)           Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

    NOTES:

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

    Minutes:

    Edward Hawkins declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 9 as he was the Surrey County Council (SCC) appointed Director of Halsey Garton Property Investment Ltd.

     

    Bernie Muir declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 9 as she was the SCC appointed Director of Surrey Choices. 

     

29/18

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

     

    Notes:

    1.  The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (18 May 2018)

    2.  The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (17 May 2018).

    3.  The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

     

    Minutes:

    There were none.

30/18

RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER pdf icon PDF 75 KB

    To review the Committee’s recommendations tracker.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     Relating to Action A2/18, there was concern as Members had found that many schools were not aware of a grant available that allowed them to receive “lockdown” training if it was requested. Following discussion, it was agreed that the Chairman would write to the Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning to highlight the Committee’s concerns and ask for increased communication on the grant.

    2.     Relating to A8/16, the Audit Manager informed Members that the audit had been issued and that he was happy for it to be removed from the actions tracker.

     

    Action/Further information to note:

     

    A7/18 – That the Chairman writes to the Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning in order to highlight concerns that many schools are not aware of a grant available for lockdown training.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the committee noted the report.

     

31/18

ANNUAL RISK MANAGEMENT REPORT pdf icon PDF 217 KB

    This annual risk management report enables the Committee to meet its responsibilities for monitoring the development and operation of the Council’s risk management arrangements.  It also presents the latest Leadership risk register.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Nicola O’Connor, Finance Manager

    David John, Audit Manager

    Joanna Killian, Chief Executive

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     Officers introduced the report and explained that the annual report enabled the Committee to meet its responsibilities to monitor the development and operation of the Council’s risk management responsibilities. It was highlighted that the Committee were asked to commend the Risk Management Strategy and following this it would then go on to Full Council to be considered.

    2.     Members sought clarification on the type of risks that were monitored. Officers explained the Leadership Risk Register covered key strategic risks that were the main concerns of Directors at the Council.

    3.     Members discussed the risks relating to School Travel Plans and the concern that some schools were not promoting and enforcing the plans effectively. The Audit Manager agreed to highlight the Committee’s concerns to the relevant service to find out if the risk had been considered and if there were mitigations in place.

    4.     It was asked by Members if the total loss of public confidence in the Council was a risk that should be included in the Leadership Risk Register. Officers advised that only specific risks could be included in the register and that the loss of public confidence would be an outcome rather than a cause.

    5.     Cllr Peter Szanto was unable to attend the meeting but provided the Chairman with his comments on the Leadership Risk Register. He noted concern as the risk matrix showed four risks as ‘high’ even though mitigation controls had been put in place. Taking into account the criteria for the risk level ‘high’, he felt that more rigorous risk mitigation controls were needed if they were to continue to be given the ‘high’ rating. Officers noted the Members comments and stated that it was being looking into by the Strategic Risk Forum. The way in which risks were defined were also being considered with the aim of making them clearer and less ambiguous.

    6.     Members highlighted that the Leadership Risk Register should be written in a public facing manner

    7.     The Chief Executive informed Members that one of her priorities was to revisit the risk register to adjust mitigations and give confidence to the controls in place. 

     

    Action/Further information to note:

     

    A8/18 - The Audit Manager to highlight the Committee’s concerns regarding school travel plans to the relevant service to find out if the risk had been considered and what mitigations are in place.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Audit and Governance Committee:

     

    1.     Considered the contents of the report and confirmed they were satisfied with the risk management arrangements;

    2.     Commended the Risk management strategy to Council for inclusion in the Constitution (Annex A of the report); and

    3.     Reviewed the Leadership risk register (Annex B of the report).

     

32/18

2017/18 DRAFT ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT pdf icon PDF 89 KB

    This report presents the draft Annual Governance Statement, which summarises the Council’s governance arrangements for the financial year ending 31 March 2018.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Nicola O’Connor, Finance Manager

    David John, Audit Manager

    Joanna Killian, Chief Executive

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     The Chief Executive introduced the draft Annual Governance Statement which summarised the Council’s governance arrangements for the financial year ending 31 March 2018. She made the following points:

    ·        That it had been identified that governance needed to change in order to ensure that controls were effective.

    ·        That the statement was drafted before the recent Ofsted report was published.

    ·        That Officers needed to ensure that all governance was transparent.

    ·        That it was important to ensure that governance was robust throughout the Council’s partnerships.

    ·        That the Council faced huge financial pressure and that the right governance was needed to ensure there was the right environment for change.

    2.     Members discussed the need for increased communication to residents laying out the current financial situation for the Council. They said that residents needed to be aware of the services the Council were statutory required to provide and how services would change if the financial situation did not improve. It was further suggested that all residents should be provided with a detailed chart of how their council tax was used.

    3.     Some Members felt that the statement should include more information around the future prospects for the Council. Officers highlighted that it was a statutory requirement for the statement to include the governance arrangements for the previous financial year.

     

    Action/Further information to note:

     

    The Chief Executive agreed to take Members comments into consideration when revising the Annual Governance Statement. The revised document will be shared with the Chairman of the Committee prior to Cabinet approval and will then be included within the Statement of Accounts for 2017/18 which are due to come to the Audit & Governance Committee in July. 

     

    Resolved:

     

    The Audit and Governance Committee:

     

    1.     Reviewed the contents of the draft Annual Governance Statement (Annex A of the report) to satisfy themselves that the governance arrangements were represented correctly; and

    2.     Commended the draft Annual Governance Statement to the Cabinet for publication with the Council’s Statement of Accounts.

     

33/18

GOVERNANCE STRATEGY AND CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE pdf icon PDF 86 KB

    This report provides the Committee with an update on the changes made to the Council’s Governance Strategy and Code of Corporate Governance.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Nicola O’Connor, Finance Manager

    David John, Audit Manager

    Joanna Killian, Chief Executive

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     The Chairman asked the Chief Executive for her position on the Audit & Governance Committee’s role in looking at the Governance Strategy and Code of Corporate Governance. The Chief Executive agreed to provide a written response outside the meeting.

    2.     Officers introduced the item and informed Members that the report provided an update to the changes made to the Council’s Governance Strategy and Code of Corporate Governance. It was noted that the Code of Corporate Governance would be presented to the County Council for inclusion in the Constitution.

    3.     A discussion was had relating to the Staff Survey and if there was a better way to respond to staff feedback. The Chief Executive said that she was aware that the Council needed to improve how it responds to feedback and that much needed to be done to improve staff morale. Members highlighted that many frontline staff understand the Council’s challenges best.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    A9/18 - For the Chief Executive to provide her position on the Audit & Governance Committee’s role in looking at the Governance Strategy and Code of Corporate Governance.

     

    Resolved:

     

    The Audit and Governance Committee approved the updated Code of Corporate Governance (Annex B of the report) and commended it to the County Council for inclusion into the Constitution.

34/18

2017/18 TREASURY MANAGEMENT OUTTURN REPORT pdf icon PDF 252 KB

    This report summarises the Council’s treasury management activities during 2017/18, as required to ensure compliance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice (the CIPFA Code) which requires the Authority to approve a treasury management annual report after the end of each financial year.

     

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    Edward Hawkins declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 9 as he was the SCC appointed Director of Halsey Garton Property Investment Ltd.

     

    Bernie Muir declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 9 as she was the SCC appointed Director of Surrey Choices. 

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Nicola O’Connor, Finance Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     Officers introduced the report and provided Members with a brief summary. It was highlighted that the Committee had previously agreed the 2017/18 Treasury Management Strategy at its meeting in November 2017. Officers confirmed that training would be provided to Members of the Committee later in the year on Treasury Management. Cllr Bernie Muir and Cllr Fiona White requested that they also be included in the training as they may substitute on the Committee in the future.

     

    Resolved:

     

    The Audit and Governance Committee:

     

    1.     Noted the content of the Treasury Management Annual Report for 2017/18; and

    2.     Adopted the revised Treasury Management Risk register.

     

35/18

DATE OF NEXT MEETING