Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee
Wednesday, 28th November, 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  0161 474 3216

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 July 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 18 July 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

Members were advised of the following matters arising since the Committee meeting held on 18 July 2018.

 

·         That the matter of Councillors personal and prejudicial interests in the Code of Conduct in minute number 5 was being discussed with the monitoring officer the next day.

·         That the information relating to the possible appointment of an independent member to the Audit Committee in minute number 14 had now been collated and would be reported to the next meeting.

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:

Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interests they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

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 meetingon 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:

Members of the public were invited to put questions to the Chair on any matters within the powers and duties of the Area Committee, subject to the exclusions set out in the Code of Practice.

 

No public questions were submitted.

5.

Exclusion of the Public and the Public Interest Test

To consider whether it is in the public interest to exclude the public during consideration of agenda item 11 which contain information ‘not for publication’ by virtue of Category 3 ‘Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority)’ as set out in the Local Government Act 1972 as amended.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it is in the public interest to exclude the public during part of the consideration of agenda items 6-14 which contains information ‘not for publication’ by virtue of Category 3 ‘Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority)’ as set out in the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

6.

Star Procurement Update pdf icon PDF 779 KB

To consider a presentation from the Director of Procurement.

 

The presentation outlines success to date and the next steps.

 

The Committee is invited to comment on the presentation.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided details of success to date and the next steps.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         Members asked what management would do to support employees who do not necessarily have the skills or expertise when dealing with contractors who were not compliant.  In response, Members were advised that this had been referenced in the Unified Strategic Commissioning function and that all employees would be provided with any necessary additional support.  Contracts would be monitored and reviewed to detect any potential weaknesses.

·         Councillors welcomed the achievements so far, but also noted that there was still a lot of work to be done.

·         Councillors raised the issue of smaller suppliers.  Would these suppliers miss out if they were unable to supply to multiple authorities?  In response, members were advised that things could be broken down into small geographical areas and that as such small local contractors may be able to provide a better deal.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

7.

Annual Governance Statement - Action Plan pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Governance Group.

 

The Action Plan outlines the key governance issues currently facing the Council along with agreed controls put in place to manage the issue.  A quarterly update is provided via communication and challenge to nominated officers specified by the Corporate Governance Group.

 

The Committee is asked to comment on the Annual Governance Statement Action Plan.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report of the Corporate Governance Group was submitted (copies of which had been circulated) outlining the key governance issues currently facing the Council along with agreed controls put in place to manage the issue.  A quarterly report was also provided via communication and challenge to nominated officers specified by the Corporate Governance Group.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         Members were provided with an update on the newly formed provider meeting, the changes in personnel at the CCG and the plan that had been formed for the Care Quality Commission.

·         The Chair of the Audit Committee requested that the risk assessment for the medium term financial plan be discussed at the next workshop as it was felt that this is an area that Members needed to be aware of.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

8.

Internal Audit Progress Report 2 (July to September 2018) pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

The report sets out the progress made by internal audit against the approved 2018/19 internal audit plan for the period 1st July 2018 to 30th September 2018 (Appendix 2).

The report also informs Members of the resources utilised by Internal Audit during the period, the activities undertaken in the reporting period, and the status of work currently being undertaken.

 

The Committee is invited to comment on the report.

 

Officer contact: John Pearsall on 474 4033 or Email: john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which set out the progress made by internal audit against the approved 2018/19 internal audit plan for the period 1 July 2018 to 30 September 2018.

 

The report also informed Members of the resources utilised by Internal Audit during the period, the activities undertaken in the reporting period, and the status of work currently being undertaken.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         Members commented that they would like a report for the next meeting of the Audit Committee relating to the progress that had been made and what still needed to be done in relation to Stockport Together.

·         A short discussion took place in relation to cybercrime and what risk this presented to the Council.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

9.

Internal Audit Planning Methodology 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

The report informs Members of the proposed planning methodology required to produce the Annual Internal Audit Plan (2019/20). This includes a timetable for the planning process.

 

The Audit Committee is invited to comment on the proposed planning methodology.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which informed Members of the proposed planning methodology required to produce the Annual Internal Audit Plan (2019/20).  This included a timetable for the planning process.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted and that Members approved the proposed planning methodology.

10.

Corporate Risk Register 2018/19 Q2 pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

In response to the Risk Management Peer Review report, the residual corporate risks have now been scored for likelihood and impact. The risk register has also been cleansed to remove commentary and controls no longer relevant and updated for recent developments.

 

The Audit Committee is asked to comment on the current corporate risks identified in the Register.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated).  The report was in response to the Risk Management Peer Review report, and the residual corporate risks had been scored for likelihood and impact.  The risk register had also been cleansed to remove commentary and controls no longer relevant and updated to include recent developments.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         Members commented that they felt good practice was emerging particularly in relation to health and social care integration.

·         Members also considered that the report was extremely helpful and the risks identified were very robust.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

11.

Risk Based Verification Review pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

The report sets out the Council’s current risk based verification (RBV) process for dealing with the evidence requirements in support of claims for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, which was adopted in 2012.  Approval is sought for the continuation of this approach, which remains unchanged.

 

The Audit Committee is asked to note the content of the policy and confirm that the levels of evidence requested for each of the risk categories remains appropriate.

 

Officer contact:  Alison Blount on 474 5107 or email: Alison.blount@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which set out the Council’s current risk based verification (RBV) process for dealing with the evidence requirements in support of claims for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, which was adopted in 2012.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         A short discussion took place regarding the impact of Universal Credit.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted and it was confirmed that the levels of evidence requested for each of the risk categories remained appropriate.

12.

Risk Management Peer Review - Final Report pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

In order to enable the necessary safeguards to be demonstrated a peer review of the risk management arrangements in place at Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC) was commissioned. This review was carried out by the Head of Internal Audit, Risk and Insurance and the Insurance, Risk and Counter Fraud Advisor at Warrington Borough Council (WBC) in May 2018.

 

The Audit Committee is asked to endorse the responses to the recommendations in the Action Plan.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated.  The report explained that in order to enable the necessary safeguards to be demonstrated, a peer review of the risk management arrangements in place at Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council was commissioned.  This review was carried out by the Head of Internal Audit, Risk and Insurance and the insurance, Risk and Counter Fraud Advisor at Warrington Borough Council in May 2018.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted and that the responses to the recommendations in the Action Plan be endorsed.

13.

SMBC Audit Progress Report pdf icon PDF 681 KB

To consider a report from the external auditor, Mazars.

 

The report provides the Committee with the first progress report in respect of the 2018/19 audit year.

 

The Committee is asked to note the report.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the external auditors, Mazars submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided the Committee with the first progress report in respect of the 2018/19 audit year.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         Members thanked the auditors for attending the meeting and presenting the report which they found informative and helpful.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

14.

Debt Write Off pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

The report details write offs of low value amounts of debt for the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

 

The Committee is requested to note and comment upon the information provided.

The Committee is asked to confirm if it wishes to continue to receive this report.

 

Officer contact: Alison Blount on 474 5107 or email: Alison.blount@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which detailed the write offs of low value amounts of debt for the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted and it was confirmed that the Audit Committee still wished to receive the report.