Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee - Wednesday, 16th March, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  0161 474 3216

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 17 November 2021 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

It was asked that an update on the latest position regarding Star Procurement be requested and circulated to members. In response to a question as to whether further audit training would be scheduled for councillors, it was noted that audit training would form part of the upcoming Member Induction Programme 2022. It was also noted that Risk Management training had taken place on 8 February 2022. Members were encouraged to put forward any ideas for specific areas for training.

 

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 which 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:

No public questions were submitted.

5.

2021/2022 Accounting Policies pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer

 

The report advises Audit Committee on the preparation of the Council’s

Statement of Accounts in accordance with proper practices as set out in the CIPFA/LASAAC Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom (the Code). In preparing the Statement of Accounts, the Deputy Chief Executive (Section 151 Officer) has to select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently and make judgement and estimates that are reasonable and prudent.

 

(i)           Audit Committee is requested to approve the Council’s proposed Accounting Policies to be adopted in preparing the Council’s 2021/22 Annual Statement of Accounts.

(ii)          Audit Committee is asked to note that the Accounting Policies will be changed as appropriate to reflect the outcome of the CIPFA/LASAAC consultation. 

 

Officer contact: Jonathan Davies on  0161 218 1025 or alternatively email

jonathan.davies@stockport.gov.uk

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which set out the council’s accounting policies in preparing and presenting financial statements.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         The accounting policies (appendix 1) were continually reviewed to ensure that they were fit for purpose.

·         There were no accounting changes to the Code which would have required an update to the accounting policies in 2021/22.

·         A concern was raised about the direction of travel for the government’s proposals, as well as the increased audit requirements placed on external auditors. Members were advised that the council had responded to the emergency Code consultation which set out the council’s concerns regarding the increased audit requirements and as a result were making the timely delivery of audits challenging.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the council’s proposed accounting policies in preparing the council’s 2021/22 Annual Statement of Accounts be approved.

 

(2) That it be noted that the accounting policies would be changed as appropriate to reflect the outcome of the CIPFA/ LASAAC consultation.

 

6.

Internal Audit Progress Report 3 (November 2021 to January 2022) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer.

 

The report sets out the progress made by internal audit against the approved

Internal Audit (including Covid Assurance) Plan approved by the Audit

Committee in March 2021.

 

The Committee is requested to comment on and note the report.

 

Officer contact: John Pearsall on 474 4033 or Email:

John.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which set out the progress made by internal audit against the approved Internal Audit Plan (including covid-19 assurance) approved by the Audit Committee in March 2021.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         In response to a question relating to the review of children’s community equipment, it was noted that this was a complex area but progress had been made in reviewing existing arrangements. Joint work was taking place in terms of commissioning the equipment service. The Joint Commissioning Terms of Reference had been amended to specifically include oversight of this work, and an action plan put in place. A further progress update would be provided at the next meeting of the Audit Committee.

·         Members were pleased to see that the council were continuing to provide support to the newly established Stockport Active Community Interest Company. It was suggested that the council continue to provide this support over the coming months, and that a progress update be provided to the Audit Committee in about 6 months’ time.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

7.

Internal Audit Plan and Audit Charter 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer.

The Internal Audit Plan 2022/23 outlines the key areas of the Council where current internal audit resources will be directed in the next financial year.

The Committee is requested to approve the 2022/23 Internal Audit Plan and Charter.

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

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) outlining the key areas of the council where current internal audit resources would be directed in the next financial year. The Audit Charter 2022-23 accompanied the Internal Audit Plan.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:

 

·         The council was returning to a traditional risk based internal audit plan now that the UK was coming out of the covid-19 pandemic. It was stressed that flexibility should be retained given the changing landscape.

·         The Audit Team were meeting with middle and senior management regularly to seek their views on areas of risk.

·         Deferred audits were highlighted within the plan.

·         Certain pieces of work no longer deemed high risk were removed or moved to a lower risk category.

·         Appendix A listed the audits expected to be completed within the next 12 months.

·         The Audit Charter was updated annually, and provided the functional and organisational framework in which internal audit operated at Stockport Council.

·         A concern was raised around the management and leadership structures proposed as part of the shared services transformation work. It was suggested that the Audit Team review the data and evidence around the plan that supported the proposals to ensure they were robust, had established outcomes and would provide expected savings. Members were assured that the Head of Internal Audit, Risk and Insurance had been involved in the production of the business case from a risk perspective. It was noted that the business case did include a section specifically on managing risk. It was suggested that the relevant Scrutiny Committee continue to review progress as the project evolved. Members noted that the proposals were recently considered by the Children and Families and Corporate Resources and Governance Management Scrutiny Committees, and that project progress, including information of any saving proposals, would form part of regular updates contained within the Portfolio Performance and Resource reports. 

 

RESOLVED – That the 2022-23 Internal Audit Plan and Audit Charter be approved.

8.

Assurance Map 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer.

 

The report provides details of the assurance map which is an effective tool providing useful insights for both the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) and Members of the Council’s Audit Committee.  By allowing the key decision-makers to take appropriate comfort from the assurance provided, these maps maximise the value of that assurance for the whole Stockport Council operational framework.

 

The Committee is asked to note the contents of the 2022/23 Assurance

Map.

 

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

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) detailing an assurance map. The map was an effective tool providing useful insights for both the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) and Audit Committee as to where the council got its assurance from.

 

It was proposed that the assurance map be considered by the Audit Committee on an annual basis for their information.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

9.

AGS Action Plan Progress Report 3 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer.

 

The report provides details of the Council’s Annual Governance Action Plan arising from the latest Annual Governance Statement (AGS).

 

The Committee is requested to comment on and note the report.

 

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

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which detailed the council’s Annual Governance Action Plan arising from the latest Annual Governance Statement (AGS).

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:

 

·         It was expected that the Audit Committee would receive quarterly updates on the action plan and progress.

·         It was noted that the Audit Team were getting involved in projects much earlier in the process to provide check and challenge.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

10.

Arrangements for Completion of AGS 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 196 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer.

 

The report sets out the proposed arrangements for completion of the Annual Governance Statement for 2022/23.  The final AGS will be produced and presented at the Audit Committee in September 2022 along with the Annual Accounts.

 

The Committee is requested to approve the process for completion of the Statement.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which set out the proposed arrangements for completion of the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for 2022/23.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:

 

·         The final AGS would be presented at the Audit Committee in September 2022 along with the annual accounts.

·         Last year’s statement was being reviewed to inform future work through lessons learnt.

 

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

11.

Quality Assurance & Improvement Programme (QAIP) and Self-Assessment 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer.

 

The report sets out the quality assurance arrangements in place for internal audit for 2022/23 along with the self-assessment results of the QAIP for 2021/22 and the proposed basis that the Head of Internal Audit, Risk and Insurance will use for the external assessment of the Council’s internal audit function which is required under the PSIAS.

 

The Committee is requested to note the QAIP and the results of the self-assessment.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which set out the quality assurance arrangements in place for internal audit for 2022/23, along with the self-assessment results of the Quality Assurance & Improvement Programme (QAIP) for 2021/22 and the proposed basis for the external assessment of the council’s internal audit function.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:

 

·         A key objective of the QAIP was to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the internal audit activity and identify opportunities for improvement via internal and external assessments. Members were advised that the council had achieved in all necessary standards.

·         Areas for improvement were identified within the report.

·         In relation to training and development within the Audit Team, members were advised that each internal auditor had a training plan. The team’s apprentice had been recruited to a full time post, and the team were now looking to recruit a new apprentice. An officer in the team was due to undertake a CIPFA course on counter fraud. Regular in-house training took place. Staff also attended CIPFA seminars for learning and networking purposes; this enabled staff to understand the challenges faced by other local authorities and best practice.

 

RESOLVED – That the Quality Assurance & Improvement Programme 2021/22 and results of the self-assessment be noted.

12.

Corporate Risk Register Q4 Update 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 284 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer.

 

The Corporate Risk Register (CRR) was last updated and distributed to Audit Committee on the 17 November 2021.  The report reflects the changes to the Council’s overall risk profile.

 

The Committee is requested to note the contents of the Corporate Risk Register.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which set out the Corporate Risk Register (CRR).

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:

 

·         The CRR was last updated and distributed to the Audit Committee on the 17 November 2021.

·         The report reflected changes to the council’s overall risk profile.

·         Two new corporate risks had been added to the register around recruitment, development and retention, and the Integrated Care System Health and Care Bill. The new risks were reflected in the Annual Governance Statement and featured heavily in next year’s audit plan.

 

RESOLVED – That the contents of the Corporate Risk Register be noted.

13.

Managing Risk – Stockport's Risk Management Framework & Strategy pdf icon PDF 282 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer.

 

Stockport Council in line with most other Councils, is undergoing unprecedented change in the way it delivers services to the public.  The rapid advancement of new delivery models, partnership working across the region, greater demands on services and a significant reduction in funding, has presented significant challenges in how the Council operates and provides services both now and in the future.  The report provides details of how the Council’s risk management and strategy has been updated to ensure it is fit for purpose in the dynamic environment the Council faces.

 

The Committee is requested to approve the proposed updated risk management framework and strategy.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which set out details of how the council’s risk management framework and strategy had been updated to ensure it was fit for purpose.

 

RESOLVED – That the proposed updated risk management framework and strategy be approved.

14.

Auditors Annual Report pdf icon PDF 383 KB

To consider a report of the external auditors, Mazars.

 

The Annual Report summarises the work Mazars have undertaken as the auditor for Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.

 

The Committee is requested to note the report.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) on behalf of external auditor, Mazars, which summarised the work undertaken by Mazars (year end 31 March 2021) as the auditor for the council.

 

It was noted that Stockport was in the minority of local authorities that received their audit opinion by the September deadline, which reflected the good work of Stockport’s Finance Team in providing all relevant documents to Mazars in a timely manner.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

15.

Audit Strategy Memorandum 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 571 KB

To consider a report from the external auditor, Mazars.

 

The report provides a summary of the audit strategy memorandum 2021/22.

 

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:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) on behalf of external auditor, Mazars, which provided a summary of the Audit Strategy Memorandum 2021/22. The purpose of the document was to summarise Mazars’ audit approach, highlight significant audit risks and areas of key judgements.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.