Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee
Wednesday, 23rd March, 2016 6.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 6, Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Stephen Fox  (0161 474 3206)

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 6 January 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 6 January 2016 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors and Officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

3.

Urgent Decisions

To report any urgent action taken under the Constitution since the last meeting of the Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No urgent decisions were reported.

4.

Public Question Time

Members of the public are invited to put questions to the Chair on any matters within the powers and duties of the Committee, subject to the exclusions set out in the Code of Practice. (Questions must be submitted prior to the commencement of the meeting on the card provided. These are available at the meeting. You can also submit via the Council’s website at www.stockport.gov.uk/publicquestions).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No public questions were submitted.

5.

Internal Audit Progress Report 4 - 1st December 2015 to 28th February 2016 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services.

The report sets out the progress made by internal audit against the approved 2015/16 internal audit plan for the period 1st December 2015 to 28th February 2016.

Audit Committee is asked to note the report.

Officer Contact: John Pearsall on Tel: 0161 474 4033 or email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out the progress made by internal audit against the approved 2015/16 internal audit plan for the period 1st December 2015 to 28th February 2016.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Assurances were sought and provided that appropriate measures were in place to remove access to system by members of the staff once they left the employment of the authority.

·         Concerns were expressed about the increasing need for debt recovery and questions were asked about root causes. In response it was stated that departments were being empowered and encouraged to seek resolution to payment issues themselves.

·         The danger of mobile technology being stolen from cars, by mobile workers was highlighted.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

6.

Internal Audit Plan 2016-17 and Internal Audit Charter 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services.

The Public Sector Internal Audit Standards require the Internal Audit and Risk Manager to prepare an annual risk-based internal audit plan which takes into account the requirement to produce an annual internal audit opinion. 

Audit Committee is asked to approve the annual internal audit plan and audit charter for 2016/17.

Officer Contact: John Pearsall on Tel: 0161 474 4033 or email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) detailing the draft internal audit plan and internal audit charter for 2016-17, prepared through the development of an Audit Coverage Model that highlighted those areas of the Council considered highest risk.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Councillors highlighted concerns about Arboriculture Services; the Highways Investment Programme and whether this was providing the savings envisaged; and the risk associated with non-delivery of the Digital by Design Programme. In response it was suggested that more detailed reports/ briefings be prepared on these areas for future meetings or additional workshops for members.

·         Councillors discussed the challenges of integration of services and commissioning on accounting and auditing arrangements. It was acknowledged that having Grant Thornton as auditors for both the Council and Clinical Commissioning Group would assist in taking a holistic view of the use of resources locally, although it was important that each organisation could be assured of the appropriate use of its resources.

 

RESOLVED – That the annual internal audit plan and audit charter for 2016/17 be approved.

7.

Arrangements For The Completion of The Annual Governance Statement 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services.

The report sets out the proposed arrangements for completion of the Annual Governance Statement for 2015/16.

Audit Committee is asked to approve the process for completion of the Statement.

Officer Contact: John Pearsall on Tel: 0161 474 4033 or email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out the proposed arrangements for completion of the Annual Governance Statement for 2015/16.  A draft Annual Governance Statement would be produced and presented at the next Audit Committee.

 

RESOLVED – That the process for completion of the Annual Governance Statement be approved.

8.

Good Governance in Local Government 2016-17 - Cipfa/Solace Guidance pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services.

The attached guidance sets out the proposed new governance framework to be implemented from April 2016. This links into the production of the Annual Governance Statement that the Council must prepare and report each year.

Audit Committee is asked to note the changes to the governance framework from April 2016.

Officer Contact: John Pearsall on Tel: 0161 474 4033 or email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) detailing guidance on the proposed new governance framework to be implemented from April 2016.  This links into the production of the Annual Governance Statement that the Council must prepare and report each year.

 

RESOLVED – That the changes to the governance framework from April 2016 be noted.

9.

Grant Thornton - Audit Plan 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 625 KB

To consider a report of the External Auditor.

The Audit Plan provides an overview of the planned scope and timing of the audit, as required by International Standard on Auditing (UK & Ireland) 260.

 

The Audit Committee is invited to consider and comment on the report.

Officer Contact: Sarah Howard on Tel: 953 6370 on email: sarah.howard@uk.gt.com.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The External Auditor submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out their Audit Plan for the year ending 31 March 2016.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         There was discussion about the balance between prudent levels of reserves and risk to the delivery of key projects. It was commented that the role of the auditor would not be to give a view of the level of reserves but would advise of the process for setting the reserves and through benchmarking with similar local authorities.

·         The impact of conversion of schools to academies would impact the Council’s assets and balances. The Council would be working with Grant Thornton to address these processes.

 

RESOLVED (1) – That the report of the External Auditor be noted.

 

(2) That the Borough Treasurer be requested to submit a report to a future meeting setting out justifications for balances and earmarked reserves and providing comparisons with other similar local authorities.

10.

Grant Thornton - Audit Committee Update pdf icon PDF 632 KB

To consider a report of the External Auditor.

The report sets out for comment the Audit Committee Update.

 

The Audit Committee is invited to consider and comment on the report.

Officer Contact: Sarah Howard on Tel: 953 6370 on email: sarah.howard@uk.gt.com.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The External Auditor submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) outlining progress in delivering their responsibilities as the Authority’s external auditors.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.