Agenda and draft minutes

Audit & Governance Committee
Monday, 20 May 2019 10.30 am

Venue: Committee Room C, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Amelia Christopher  Email: amelia.christopher@surreycc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

19/19

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

20/19

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 8 April 2019 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

21/19

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:

    There were none.

22/19

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 (14 May 2019).

    2.  The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (13 May 2019).

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

     

    Minutes:

    There were none.

23/19

RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND BULLETIN pdf icon PDF 95 KB

    To review the Committee’s recommendations tracker and bulletin.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    David John, Audit Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    The Audit Manager provided a verbal update on the item A16/18 on police action, the Committee were informed that the Crown Prosecution Service have charged the individual and the case is proceeding to court after a delay. 

     

    Action/Further information to note:

     

    None.

     

    Resolved:

     

    That the Committee noted the report.

     

24/19

CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE pdf icon PDF 116 KB

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Cath Edwards, Service Improvement and Risk Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    The Service Improvement and Risk Manager informed Members that the report provided an update on the Council’s Code of Corporate Governance and that it was an annual document in which the core principles of governance remain fundamentally the same. It was noted that the Code of Corporate Governance would be presented to the County Council for inclusion in the Constitution.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    None.

     

    Resolved:

     

    That the Committee approved the updated report and commended it to the County Council for inclusion into the Constitution.

     

25/19

2018/19 DRAFT ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT pdf icon PDF 125 KB

    This report presents the draft Annual Governance Statement, which summarises the council’s governance arrangements for the financial year ending 31 March 2019.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    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 2019. She made the following points:

     

    ·         That the report provided a positive reflection of the Council’s governance arrangements for future years, with mechanisms put in place for effective governance.

    ·         That the organisational culture had already undergone a process of transformation and noted the progression; however, wholesale change to this culture will take time and there will be periods of difficulty.

    ·         A key area of progression included working with partners more constructively and in an open manner, ensuring good governance for those employed in the Council’s services and a measure of the success of the Council’s governance would come from the residents.

     

    1. Members questioned how improvements in governance will be measured with reference to recruitment in Children’s Services. The Chief Executive explained that this would happen by using hard indicators including the Ofsted Priority Action Board to deliver the Council’s Children Improvement Plan.
    2. The Committee expressed concern over the challenges to a sound system of governance within the South East due to a high cost of living for Surrey employees. Although expensive accommodation is an issue, the Chief Executive stated that good technical supervision, manageable case-loads and good managerial support were fundamental to governance.The Council would ensure a safeguard to key services with the launching of the new Surrey Children's Services Academy with strong feedback from participants. The Chief Executive also noted the importance of retention of key workers within the National Health Service by analysing exit interviews to understand why some chose to leave the organisation.

     

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    A6/19 - The Chief Executive agreed to provide a document which summarised the Council’s yearly achievements. This would be a concise and accessible document for councillors to provide to their residents.

     

    Resolved:

     

    The Committee reviewed the draft report and were satisfied that the governance arrangements were represented correctly; and

     

    That the Committee commended the draft Annual Governance Statement to the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council to be signed off before publication into the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2018/19.

     

     

26/19

2018/19 TREASURY MANAGEMENT OUTTURN REPORT pdf icon PDF 178 KB

    This report summarises the Council’s treasury management activities during 2018/19, 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:

    Witnesses:

     

    Kevin Kilburn, Strategic Finance Manager - Corporate

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Committee were asked by the Chairman of the Committee whether they were comfortable with the report and both Members and Officers expressed their satisfaction.
    2. The Strategic Finance Manager - Corporate, introduced the report and provided background information to the uncertainty in finance globally with reference to the US-China trading tensions and the volatility with the UK’s withdrawal from Europe as noted in Annex 1. The Council’s Treasury team would continue to monitor the impact on interest rates as this affects the Council at a more local level.
    3. Referring specifically to the Risk Reference 2 (Financial) in Annex 2 on Interest Rate Risk, the Strategic Finance Manager - Corporate stated that the Council's strategy of short term borrowing provided a financial saving as the average rate of interest is 0.84%, compared to the 2.65% interest rate if long term borrowing had been undertaken over a 25 year period. It was noted that this however would mean that the Council would not get returns as high as other councils due to short term investing, but the policy of low investment levels ensures the Council is able to ensure borrowing at an affordable level.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    None.

     

    Resolved:

     

    The Committee noted the report; and 

     

    The Committee agreed to adopt the Treasury Management Risk Register, attached as Annex 2.

     

27/19

DATE OF NEXT MEETING