Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

14.

Apologies

15.

Declarations of Interest

    Members are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary, personal or personal and prejudicial interests they may have and the nature of those interests relating to items on this agenda and/or indicate if S106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.   

    Minutes:

    There were no declarations of interests.

16.

Minutes

17.

Annual Audit Letter pdf icon PDF 478 KB

    Grant Thornton’s Annual Audit Letter for the Year ended 31st Mach 2018, in respect of Rochdale Borough Council.

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the Annual Audit Letter from Grant Thornton. The Letter arose from the work that had been carried out at Rochdale Borough Council ('the Council') for the year ended 31 March 2018.

     

    The Letter was intended to communicate key messages and a commentary on the work to the Council and external stakeholders, including members of the public. In preparing the Letter, Grant Thornton had followed the National Audit Office's Code of Audit Practice and Auditor Guidance Note (AGN) 07 – ‘Audit Reporting’.

     

    Grant Thornton reported their detailed findings from their audit work to this Committee as this was the Council Committee that is charged with governance over audit findings.

     

    The Committee was advised that whilst the main audit work for the Council had now ceased, they still had some outstanding work that would need to be reported to future meetings of the Committee including the annual housing benefit returns audit – which was due to be submitted to the Committee’s next meeting on 17th December 2018.

     

    Members sought clarification on the ‘70:30 risk sharing arrangement for the Integrated Commissioning Board's pooled budget and were advised that this was weighted 70% from the HMR CCG budget and 30% from the Rochdale Borough Council budget.

     

    Resolved that the report be noted.

18.

External Audit Progress Report pdf icon PDF 942 KB

    An audit progress report for Rochdale Borough Council by Mazars.

    Minutes:

    The Committee received an update report from representatives of Mazars, the organisation that had recently taken over the responsibility for auditing the Council from Grant Thornton. The report provided an update on progress in the delivery of their responsibilities as the Council’s external auditors.

     

    The submitted report summarised the key audit stages in respect of 2018/19 work. Upon completion of their initial planning and risk assessment work Mazars intended to submit their Audit Strategy Memorandum to a future meeting of the Committee.

     

    Representatives from Mazars had met with senior staff from the Council’s Finance Service to discuss the audit process for 2018/19 and to agree timetables for the completion of their work.

     

    In considering the report a member sought clarification as to whether the Council was a subscriber of the Local Government Association’s LG Inform group? Officers undertook to investigate this and to report back to the Committee.

     

    Resolved: that the update report be noted and welcomed.

19.

Annual Review of the Constitution pdf icon PDF 132 KB

20.

Committee Procedures pdf icon PDF 91 KB

    To consider a written procedure for hearing complaints under the Code of Conduct

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered a report of the Assistant Director (Legal, Governance and Workforce) that presented a revised procedure for hearing complaints under the Code of Conduct. It was considered to be good practice to adopt such a written procedure.

     

    In considering the report a Member requested that the actual number of Members that are required to be in attendance at a hearing for that hearing to be quorate be included in the Hearings Procedure. A Member also sought clarification on the reporting procedures to be followed if a complaint was received against one of the Council’s political group leaders.

     

    Resolved:

    1.    The hearing procedure appended to the report of the Assistant Director (Legal, Governance and Workforce) be adopted, subject to clarification of the quorum of members at hearings

    2.    The Monitoring Officer be delegated to make minor amendments from time to time.

21.

Risk Management Progress Report - Q1 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

    To review Risk Management activity in quarter one 2018/19.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources which provided a summary of the Risk Management work during Quarter 1 of 2018/19.

     

    The Committee was advised that an action plan was in progress to prepare comprehensive risk registers for all Intervention projects associated with the integration of health and social care services under the Rochdale Locality Plan.

     

    The Insurance Team achieved total claims cost mitigation for Quarter 1 of £489,873.85 when comparing the highest reserves for closed claims against the final settlement amounts. The 196 new claims submitted to the team in the quarter represented a seasonal increase higher than normal due to poor winter weather conditions.

     

    A review of alternative software products for the monitoring of performance and risk outcomes across the Council and HMR CCG had led to a proposal that the Pentana system (which was assessed to be the most efficient and cost effective system) would be the most viable option for Rochdale Council.

     

    In terms of a table contained in the report, detailing ‘claims cost mitigation’ for Quarter 1 of 2018/19, a Member sought clarification on the numbers of fraudulent claims that were being made against the Council.

     

    Resolved:

    That the report be noted.

22.

Internal Audit Quarter 1 Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 182 KB

    To note the Internal Audit Quarter 1 (2018/19) report and to evaluate work undertaken by the Internal Audit Team.

    Minutes:

    The Head of Internal Audit reported to the Committee summarising the work of the Internal Audit Team during the first quarter period of 2018/19. The Internal Audit team had been able to provide either substantial or adequate assurance over the effectiveness of risk management in all the audits completed during the period. Furthermore, Internal Audit completed 22% of the agreed Audit Plan and is on track to achieve the targeted completion of the Audit Plan of 96% by the year end.

     

    The Counter Fraud Team achieved £134,275 in identifying savings and overpayments during the first quarter 2018/19 period (April – June 2018) together with 13 sanctions including one formal caution and 12 fines for fraud.

     

    In considering the report members sought clarification as to the utilisation of the income that had been recouped by the Counter Fraud team and why there had been a reduction in fraud referrals.

     

    Resolved:

    That the report be noted

23.

Internal Audit Charter pdf icon PDF 100 KB

    To present updates to the Internal Audit Charter

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Head of Internal Audit advised the Committee that the work of the Council’s Internal Audit team was governed by the UK Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS). The PSIAS require an Internal Audit Charter to be approved by the authority’s Audit and Governance Committee in order to define Internal Audit’s purpose, authority and responsibility. The Charter would establish Internal Audit’s position within the Council and reporting lines, authorising access to records, personnel and physical property relevant to the performance of audit work, and defines the scope of Internal Audit activity.

     

    The current Internal Audit Charter had been approved by the Audit and Governance Committee at its meeting held 18th September 2017. Since then there have been six new members appointed to the Audit and Governance Committee. Furthermore some minor revisions to the Audit Charter had been identified by the Head of Internal Audit and as a result of the external Peer Review of Internal Audit which was concluded on 4th December 2017 and subsequently reported to the Committee’s meeting held 18th December 2017. These factors have therefore prompted the need to update the Internal Audit Charter to ensure it remains fit for purpose, in full compliance with the PSIAS and supports the current operation and remit of the Council’s Internal Audit team.

     

    Resolved:

    The Internal Audit Charter, as detailed in the Head of Internal Audit’s report, be approved.

24.

New CIPFA Guidance on Audit Committees pdf icon PDF 169 KB

    To present the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Practical Guidance for Audit Committees, for review and comment.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered a report of the Head of Internal Audit that presented the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Practical Guidance for Audit Committees for review and comment by the Committee. CIPFA’s Position Statement: Audit Committees in Local Authorities and Police(2018) (‘the Position Statement’) set out CIPFA’s view of the role and functions of an audit committee, and replaced the previous 2013 Position Statement. The Position Statement emphasised the importance of audit committees being in place in all principal local authorities and police bodies.  It also recognised that audit committees are a key component of governance.

     

    In considering the report the Chair drew the attention of Members to the self-assessment of good practice forms, presented in the appendix to the report, which he undertook to complete on behalf of the Committee and that a report thereon be presented to the Committee’s next meeting on 17th December 2018.

     

    Resolved:

    1.    The report be noted

    2.    The Head of Internal Audit be requested to submit a report to the Committee’s next meeting on 17th December 2018, detailing the results of the Audit Committee Self-Assessment of Good Practice which the Chair undertook to complete on behalf of the Committee.