Agenda and minutes
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 7:00 pm
Venue: Salon, York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham
Contact: Louise Hall, 020 8891 7813, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies were received from District Auditor Paul Grady.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members are asked to declare any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
No declarations of interest were received.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2012.
The minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2012 were agreed as a correct record and the Chairman authorised to sign them.
REPRESENTATIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC (IF ANY)
No representations were received.
No representations from members of the public had been received.
To receive opinion reports of the Audit Commission.
The Committee received a two part report of the External Auditors, The Audit Commission, containing the Audit Plan and Audit Plan for the Pension Fund.
Sarah Ironmonger, Audit Manager for the Audit Commission was in attendance to present the reports to the committee. She introduced the Audit Plan andin particular she drew the attention of the committee to the following information:
(i) Risks identified:
· Heritage Assets
· Data Migration
· Parking Fine Repayment
(ii) Key milestones included in the plan
(iii) Significant risks for the Council – including the efficiency review.
In response to question raised and comments made the committee received the following information from officers
(i) That the heritage risks identified related to new requirements on Local Authorities to recognise any important heritage aspects of an asset in recording its value.
(ii) That the ability of schools in the Borough to provide places was not considered as a risk by Auditors. Those identified related to the effective maintenance of balance sheets and the proper recording of building assets.
(iii) The Parking Fine repayment would be audited to ensure that it was conducted properly in light of the sensitivity of the matter and the potential for challenge.
Ms Ironmonger went on to introduce the second part of the report – the Pension Fund Audit Plan. In particular she referred to the following:
(i) That the council had met the requirement to have a separate bank account for the pension Fund but had not transferred all transactions to it. Audit would monitor this to ensure that this was the case in the future.
(ii) That the estimations of life expectancy and the impact of those estimates on the Pension Fund where carried out by actuaries and that the governance of the Fund in terms of sustainability was within the remit of the Pension Fund Committee and not the Audit Committee.
It was RESOLVED:
That the information in both reports be NOTED.
To receive a report of the head of Internal Audit and Risk Management summarising the work carried out by internal audit since November 2011.
The Committee received a report of the Joint Heads of Internal Audit the purpose of which was to provide a summary of the work carried out by internal audit since November 2011.
The Joint Heads of Service were in attendance to present the report and Ms Wilson drew the attention of the committee to the following information contained within it:
(i) The appendices to the report which provided a more detailed assessment of the Internal Audit assignments in progress and the Priority one recommendations resulting from them to date.
In response to questions raised and comments made the committee received the following further information form officers:
(i) That while the number of priority recommendations that would result from a School audit would be expected to be slightly higher than an internal department the number found in relation to East Sheen primary was particularly high. Negotiations had taken place to agree remedial action and a follow up visit would be made in due curse in order to ensure that these mitigating measures had been implemented. The Director of Education was aware of the work being undertaken.
(ii) That proactive work was being undertaken to ensure the council complied with all relevant legislation in relation to payment collection.
(iii) That the risk identified in pertaining to financial assessments was that some applicants would receive more than their entitlement owing to lack of evidence. It was proposed that stringent evidence tests be consistently imposed in the future. That in order that these requirements did not discourage people from applying the guidance for applicants would be made clearer and support from RUILS would continue to be offered.
(iv) That implementation of recommendations in relation to library services would continue to be sought even where libraries were transferred to volunteer control.
(v) That responsibility for monitoring certain risks such as legionella and asbestos may remain with the local authority even when services were being provided via a commissioning agreement and this would be reflected in the risk management programme.
(vi) That the street lighting contract could not be confirmed as signed at the time of the meeting.
(vii)That the priority one recommendations continue to be reviewed by the Committee
It was RESOLVED
That priority one recommendations be reviewed again in 6 months.
That an e-mail containing the priorities be circulated to members in advance of the committee in order that specific items could be selected for enhanced scrutiny at the meeting.
To receive a report of the head of Internal Audit and Risk Management summarising the progress on previously reported audits.
The Committee received a report of the Joint Head of Internal Audit and Risk management summarising the progress made to date on audits previously reported to the Committee.
In attendance to speak to the report were Simon White, Audit Manager and Mike Gravatt, Assistant Director of Finance and Corporate Services.
Simon White introduced the report to the Committee; in particular he referred to the following information contained within it:
(i) That 100% of the recommendations made against eight of the priority one recommendations had now been implemented.
(ii) A number of recommendations had been superseded by others in the time since they were last reported.
(iii) That 4 of the priority one recommendations remained as ‘red’ and recommendations from Internal audit had not been implemented. The Assistant Director of Finance and Corporate, Mike Gravatt was in attendance to answer any questions from the committee on these audits.
The Committee discussed the report and following comments made and questions raised the Committee received the following further information from officers:
(i) That a possible tanker strike and any resulting petrol shortages was not likely to impact further on the audits in the follow up report. It was further heard that there was a national protocol in place for the emergencies such as the one described and as part of this LBRuT had certain priority vehicles which would be prioritised for receipt of petrol in order that front line services could continue to be delivered. In addition many officers were now fully equipped to work from home and this would further protect the council’s services.
(ii) That those issues which had been superseded by new factors for consideration would not hide long running priorities. Internal Audit would track any name or priority changes in order that issues were not ‘lost’.
(iii) That the information on outstanding priority one recommendations was not only reported to the Audit Committee but also to Departmental Management Team meetings, to ensure the completion of actions. If there were further difficulties passed this point then the information would be taken to the Executive Board. Officers considered these measures to be effective and sufficient.
Mike Gravatt responded to comments made and questions raised regarding the 9 priority one audits for which he was responsible and recommendations had not been implemented.
(i) He reported delays had been caused by some complicated negotiations and complex technical issues. In particular these technical issues were relevant to the work being carried out on Change and systems management.
(ii) That the recommendations relating to change and systems management had been delayed owing to the disparate nature of the systems being aligned. The recommendations were to be reviewed by Internal Audit in September 2012 when further progress was hoped to have been made.
(iii) That completion of the requirement that all users change passwords every three months had been delayed owing to a decision to not require councillors to conform to this requirement.
(iv) That progress had been made towards completion of a comprehensive audit of ... view the full minutes text for item 86.
To receive a report of the Joint Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management which provides an update on the shared service with the Royal Borough of Kingston (RBK) for the delivery of an Internal Audit and Investigations service (IAIS).
The Committee received a report of the Joint Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management the purpose of which was to provide an update shared service arrangements with the Royal Borough of Kingston for the delivery of an Internal Audit and Investigations service.
The Joint Head of Internal Audit was in attendance to speak to the report and drew to the attention of the Committee the following information:
(i) The decisions taken toward the end of creating a shared service to date and those hat would be taken in the future
(ii) The timetable in place for the creation of a shared service
(iii) The consultation planned and the timeframe within which it would be conducted.
The Committee expressed concern that the timeline for recruitment would be difficult to meet but were assured that it was possible as the majority of posts would be filled by existing staff – if there were a need for external recruitment, and therefore a lengthier process it would be for one or two posts maximum. Deloitte would be used to fill any under capacity until all posts were filled.
It was RESOLVED that the information be NOTED.
To receive a report of the Director of Finance and Corporate Resources providing an update on the Corporate Risk Register maintained by the Executive Board.
The Committee received a report of the Director of Finance and Corporate Services containing the updated Corporate Risk Register, maintained by the Executive Board. The Director of Finance was in attendance to speak to the report and asked the Committee for any questions on the register or risk rankings also contained at appendix B.
In response to questions raised and comments made by the Committee officers offered the following information and clarifications:
(i) That the two occasions where the residual risk was higher than the raw risk were errors and would be rescored correctly.
(ii) That the number of ‘red’ risks on the ranking table was a reflection of the prioritising of risks into a table and was not higher than in previous reports.
(iii) That the classification of a risk as ‘red’ on the rankings and on the register proper meant different things. On the register a risk was red if actions identified had not been implemented in the rankings it was related to the likelihood and severity of outcome of the risk
(iv) That benchmarking against other similar authorities was not conducted.
(v) That system provision issues were a priority for the Council as reflected in the report.
It was RESOLVED that:
To receive a report of the Joint heads of Internal Audit and Risk management reporting that a response has been made to the Audit Commission by the Chair and Vice Chair (under delegated powers) on behalf of the Committee and providing a copy of that response for information.
The Committee received a report of the Joint Heads of Internal Audit and Risk Management the purpose of which was to confirm that a response had been made to the Audit Commission by the Chair and Vice Chair on behalf of the Committee, under delegated authority as agreed at the previous meeting of the committee. The response contained within the report had been subject to minor amendments since publication and a new response was tabled at the meeting (attached as appendix a to the minutes).
It was RESOLVED that the response be NOTED.