Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Caroline Denyer  4717

No. Item


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Members must indicate at this stage any items on the agenda in which they must declare an interest.  Members must verbally give notice of their interest at the meeting and complete the form attached with this agenda. 


Members are also advised to take advice with regard to any matter where there is potential bias or predetermination in any business to be considered at the meeting and whether they should take part in decision making at the meeting.


Members are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011 and the Council's adopted Code of Conduct, they must declare the nature of any discloseable pecuniary interest; personal interest and/or prejudicial interest required of them and, in the case of any discloseable pecuniary interest or prejudicial interest, withdraw from the meeting during consideration of the item, unless permitted otherwise within the Code of Conduct.

Additional documents:


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 21st March 2016.


DECIDED – That the minutes of the meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 21st March 2016 be approved as a correct record.


Presentation - Counter Fraud


The Committee received a presentation on the work of the Council’s Counter Fraud Team, being advised on the principal areas of work related to Business Rates and Council Tax Fraud, Blue Badge fraud, and frauds relating to tenancies and adult care services.  Referrals were received from several sources, ranging from referrals by members of the public and from Council and other enforcement agency employees, through to HMRC and the National Fraud Initiative. 


The principal areas of legislation addressed were considered, and the Committee advised that the Team complied with the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, for example in relation to the issuing of cautions, and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in respect of surveillance activity.  The Team worked with the Partnership Enforcement Team, a local arrangement involving various agencies including Greater Manchester Police, various Council services, the Department for Work and Pensions and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing to deliver a joined up approach to address fraud and other instances of crime and anti-social behaviour.  A brief analysis of Team workload for 2015/16 was provided, the Committee being advised that £282k of income and overpayments had been recovered, this amount covering the costs of the team and further contributing to Council savings.


DECIDED – That the presentation be noted.


Internal Audit - Quarter 4 Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 229 KB


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Resources summarising the work of the Internal Audit team during the fourth quarter of 2015/16.  In the presentation of the report, the attention of the Committee was drawn specifically to a follow up audit relating to cash income in Environmental Management, and to unplanned work relating to the Multi Faith Partnership and the Rochdale Development Agency.  Appendices to the report summarised those planned audits concluded in quarter 4, all of which had been assessed as providing adequate or substantial assurance, and progress on actions following up outstanding internal audit recommendations as at 6th June 2016.


In consideration of the item Members gave their specific consideration to a review of cash income in Environmental Management; Adult Care payments and a new payments system; use of purchase cards; and the progression of Fostering Panel recommendations.  A Member raised a specific query concerning payment for Member Surgeries.


DECIDED – That the report be noted.


Internal Audit - Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 305 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Resources summarising the work of Internal Audit during 2015/16 and presenting the Head of Internal Audit’s opinion on the effectiveness of the Council’s overall control environment, governance and risk management for 2015/16.


In response to a query, the Committee was advised that Internal Audit received payment for work undertaken for external organisations.


DECIDED – That the report be noted.


Internal Audit - Annual Fraud Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 504 KB


The Committee considered a report to the Director of Resources providing a summary on the outcome of proactive and reactive anti-fraud and investigation work during 2015/16, with the main focus being work delivered by Internal Audit, which now also includes the Council’s Counter Fraud Team. The report also outlined some of the areas of emerging fraud risk and the Council’s strategic and operational arrangements for managing these risks.


DECIDED – That the report be noted.


RBC Audit Plan 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 275 KB


The Committee received a report of Grant Thornton, the Council’s external auditors, presenting an overview of the planned scope and timing of the 2015/16 audit, as required by International Standard on Auditing (UK & Ireland) 260, seeking to assist the Committee in understanding the consequences of the work of the external auditors, to discuss issues of risk and the concept of ‘materiality’, and to enable the Committee to identify any areas where the auditors might undertake additional procedures.  The contents of the Plan had been discussed with Resources Directorate management prior to submission.


Grant Thornton representatives advised the Committee of productive work with Council Officers undertaken earlier in the calendar year, further advising that they had been in receipt of the accounts in early June and were now on site working through the audit.  Specific matters raised with the Committee related to the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 bringing forward the dates for approval and audit of financial statements with effect from 2017/18; the review of value for money arising from integration with the health sector; the adoption and application of a new accounting standard on ‘fair value’ applying for the first time in 2015/16; and reviews of the Narrative Statement and arrangements for producing the Annual Governance Statement.


DECIDED – That the report be noted.


RBC 2016/17 fee letter pdf icon PDF 92 KB


The Committee received a copy of correspondence from Grant Thornton, the Council’s external auditors, to the Director of Resources advising of a new framework for local public audit under which Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA) would oversee the former Audit Commission's audit contracts for local government bodies until the end in 2018.  The PSAA prescribes that 'scale fees are based on the expectation that audited bodies are able to provide the auditor with complete and materially accurate financial statements, with supporting working papers, within agreed timescales'.  There were no planned changes to the overall work programme for local government audited bodies for 2016/17, other than the adoption of new measurement requirements for the Highways Network Asset.


The Council’s main audit fee was set at £136,373 and covered Grant Thornton’s audit of the Council’s financial statements; work to reach a conclusion on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the Council’s use of resources (the “value for money” conclusion); and work on the Council’s whole of government accounts return.  A fee for any additional work in respect of the new Highways Network Asset requirements was not included in this fee.  The Council's indicative grant certification fee for 2016-17 had been set by the PSAA at £18,600. This fee covered the cost of certifying the housing benefit subsidy claim only and was based on final 2014-15 certification fees. 


The Committee raised considerations in relation to potential implications of the outcome of the European Union referendum; the Highway Network Assets review exercise which the external auditor acknowledged would be a large piece of work they would look to make an early start on; and changes to operating leases in future years.


DECIDED – That the external audit Fee Letter for 2016/17 be noted.


Risk Management Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 216 KB


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Resources providing an annual summary on risk management activity during the 2015/16 financial year.  Further to the submitted report, the Committee was advised that the Council’s Risk Manager was attending the Alarm (the public risk management association) Awards Ceremony that evening, at which the Council had been nominated for the Resilience Award in relation to the response to the Boxing Day 2016 floods.


DECIDED – That the report be noted.


Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 233 KB


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Resources advising that, in order to comply with best professional practice, the Audit and Governance Committee should complete an annual report to the Council on the work undertaken by the Committee during the previous year.  A draft Annual Report for 2015/16, prepared by the Chair in consultation with the Head of Internal Audit, was submitted for consideration.


DECIDED – That the draft Annual Report for 2015/16 by the Audit and Governance Committee be approved in principle, with any final comments to be forwarded to and agreed by the Chair of the Committee and the Chief Internal Auditor, prior to a submission to the meeting of the Council to be held on 26th July 2016.


Audit and Governance Committee Effectiveness - Self-Assessment pdf icon PDF 199 KB


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Resources presenting a view of compliance by the current Audit and Governance Committee against recognised best practice, as well as a view on the effectiveness of the Committee, as considered appropriate by the Chair of the Committee.


DECIDED – That the report be noted.