Agenda and minutes

Audit and Governance Committee - Thursday, 16th December, 2021 6.30 pm, NEW

Venue: Walton Suite, Winchester Guildhall

Contact: Nancy Graham, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 01962 848 235 email:  ngraham@winchester.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Disclosure of Interests

To receive any disclosure of interests from Members and Officers in matters to be discussed.

Note: Councillors are reminded of their obligations to declare disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and/or prejudicial interests in accordance with legislation and the Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Craske declared a personal (but not prejudicial) interest with regards to his employment with KPMG, who provided audit services to the Council.

 

 

2.

Chairperson's Announcements

Minutes:

Councillor Power advised that conservative nominations for appointment to the Workforce Working Party were to be confirmed. Councillor Gemmell agreed to provide these.

 

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 11 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee held 11 November 2021 be approved and adopted.

 

4.

Public Participation

To receive and note questions asked and statements made from members of the public on matters which fall within the remit of the Committee.. 

 

NB members of the public are required to register with Democratic Services three clear working days before the meeting (see below for further details).

 

Minutes:

No members of the public had registered to speak.

 

5.

Treasury Management mid-year monitoring report 2021/22 (AG65) pdf icon PDF 487 KB

Minutes:

Gemma Farley (Hampshire County Council) was present (virtually via MS Teams) at the meeting and introduced the report and provided an update to members on interest rate changes and also CIPFA code updates. 

 

Ms Farley responded to members’ questions.  She advised that she would confirm to committee members on possible impact on returns from the council’s pooled property fund following the increase to the Bank of England base rate; although it was not expected that there would be any significant change.

 

Councillor Cutler also reassured members that the council would continue to re assess its budgetary position having regard to increases to both inflation and interest rates, as well as having regard to the government’s spending review settlement. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Treasury Management Mid-Year Monitoring Report 2021/22 be noted.

 

6.

Governance Quarterly Update Q2 2021/22 (AG60) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

The Strategic Director introduced the report and advised that subsequent to its publication, the outstanding audit action regarding the Hampshire Cultural Trust was now complete.  The outstanding audit actions regarding health and safety were also likely to be completed in the new year and this would be confirmed to committee members.

 

The Strategic Director responded to members’ questions on the reasons for the delay to the scheduled review of the constitution and the steps being taken to mitigate this. Regarding the Corporate Risk Register, the Director agreed that future quarterly reports could contain additional commentary regarding changes to mitigation measures and to risk status etc. 

 

During debate, the committee considered the risk to service delivery from impacts from Covid-19 and the latest variant and received reassurances from the Director regarding the mitigation measures in place.  Members agreed that ensuring front line council services were maintained during the pandemic was more important that compliance with the internal audit plan.

 

Officers were commended for their work in continuing to maintain services during the pandemic. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.                That the content of the report, the progress against the internal audit management actions be noted and that the cabinet member have regard to the comments raised by the committee.

 

2.                That having reviewed the Corporate Risk Register, as per the Risk Management Policy, and that the activity undertaken managing the corporate risks during the quarter be noted.

7.

Public Sector Equality Review (AG67) pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Lead (Legal) and the Senior Policy and Programme Manager introduced the report. 

 

The committee’s attention was drawn to an omission in the report at paragraph 3.8 whereby ‘age’ (which was a protected characteristic) had been inadvertently missed out.  An equality impact assessment would be circulated to committee members and would also be included with report CAB3331 when presented to cabinet.  

 

The Service Lead (Legal) and the Senior Policy and Programme Manager responded to members’ questions.

 

Members were mindful of the significant work to be undertaken to deliver the requirements of the review of the public sector equality duty.  Therefore, as well as the need for clarity of senior member ownership at cabinet level, it was agreed that there should also be an additional member role to champion and drive forward the necessary changes with appropriate mechanisms in place to report to the cabinet member on progress.

 

Members also acknowledged that all decision making of the council should reflect the requirements of the duty and should therefore be reflected in in all committee reports. With regard to officer and member training as part of implementation, it was suggested that this be undertaken as part of annual equality and diversity training.  

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the comments outlined above be forwarded for consideration by Cabinet at its meeting on 25 January 2022 in relation to report CAB3331.

8.

Invitation to become an opted-in authority - The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015 (AG66) pdf icon PDF 309 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Head of Finance introduced the report.  By way of an update, it was confirmed that Hampshire and Isle Wight Chief Finance Officers had concluded that a local arrangement for the appointment of external auditors compared to the option presented by the Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) invitation was likely to require more resource to undertake the necessary work. 

 

RECOMMENDED (TO COUNCIL):

 

That the Council accepts the Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) invitation to ‘opt-in’ to the sector led option for the appointment of external auditors for five consecutive financial years commencing 1 April 2023.

 

 

Registering to speak at this meeting:

The information below relates to the majority of meetings of the council but please note that different rules do apply for registering to speak at meetings of Full Council, Licensing Sub Committees, Planning Committees, Open Forums and Standard Sub Committees. Further information can be obtained using the contact details above.

Members of the public may speak at this meeting, provided they have registered to speak three working days in advance. Please contact Democratic Services via democracy@winchester.gov.uk or (01962) 848 264 to register to speak and for further details.

Members of the public should note that a live audio feed of the meeting will be available from the councils website (www.winchester.gov.uk ) and the video recording will be publicly available shortly after the meeting. For members of the public who are unable to utilise this facility a limited number of seats will be made available at the above named location however attendance must be notified to the council at least 3 working days before the meeting. Please note that priority will be given to those wishing to attend and address the meeting over those wishing to attend and observe.

 

Audit and Governance Committee on Thursday, 16th December, 2021, 6.30 pm{sidenav}{content}