Agenda and minutes

Venue: Boardrooms 7&8 - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley HA9 0FJ. View directions

Contact: Nikolay Manov, Governance Officer  Tel: 020 8937 1348; Email:  nikolay.manov@brent.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

Minutes:

The following apologies for absence were received:

·         Councillor A Choudry (with Councillor Stephens present as a substitute)

·         Councillor Kansagra (with Councillor Colwill present as a substitute)

·         Robert Cawley (Independent Member)

·         Sheila Darr (Independent Member)

·         Nigel Shock (Independent Person)

·         Keir Hopley (Independent Person)

·         Althea Loderick (Strategic Director of Resources, Brent Council)

·         Paul Dossett (Partner, Grant Thornton – External Audit) -  Sophia Brown (Senior Manager) and Danielle Swain (Audit Executive) were present in his place.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.

Minutes:

In relation to Agenda items 10 and 11, Peter Gadsdon declared that he was both a Director of i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd and the Council’s Director of Performance, Policy and Partnerships.

 

3.

Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.

Minutes:

There were no deputations.

 

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 11 December 2018, be approved as an accurate record.

 

5.

Matters arising (if any)

To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

Report on i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd

(Item 5 of the minutes of the minutes of the previous meeting)

 

It was noted that an update on the operation of the Council’s wholly owned companies – i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd, would be provided at the present meeting. 

 

Independent Advisor to the Committee

 

Please see Minute item 19.

 

Risk Management Framework Review

(Item 5 of the minutes of the minutes of the previous meeting)

 

It was noted that an update on the Risk Management Framework Review would be provided at the meeting of the Committee on 20 March 2019.

 

Lender Option Borrower Option Loans

 

Please see Minute item 19.

 

Councillor Naheerathan joined the meeting at 6:04 pm.

 

6.

Emergency Preparedness Update pdf icon PDF 116 KB

The report briefly outlines the progress made since the last update to the Committee provided in July 2018. It details the type and number of incidents in Brent and provides some information around initiatives and programmes of work under way to enhance our resilience and response arrangements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Carolyn Downs (the Council’s Chief Executive) introduced the report which briefly outlined the progress made since the previous update to the Committee in July 2018. Ms Downs noted that the paper had been presented sooner than July 2019 in order to bring it in line with the London-wide assurance and challenge process that had been instigated. Brent had submitted a self-assessment (available at Appendix A (pages 17-23 of the Agenda pack)) which had been moderated at a sub-regional level. Members heard that common themes where improvement was desirable across all Local Authorities had been identified and a local action plan to address these would be created with relevant guidance and support from London Resilience. These included – humanitarian response; community engagement and management; media and communications management; and governance.

 

Ms Downs said that a specific area of work in the last couple of months had been Brexit and the prospect of leaving the European Union (EU) without a deal. Local Authorities across London had been in the process of developing a risk assessment for such a scenario. Some of the areas of greatest concern had been related to caring for vulnerable residents and waste management and disposal. It was noted that any additional risks associated with Brexit would be included in the Council’s Risk Register.

 

The Committee welcomed the report and enquired about the amount of time and resources officers had spent working on Brexit-related issues; the possibility of reimbursing extra costs from Her Majesty's Government; local initiatives to ensure continuality of support for care and medical packages; and keeping Members informed about new developments. Ms Downs responded that the time spent on Brexit had not been excessive, e.g. the Council had been able to cope using its existing resources. Nevertheless, the Government had written to all Local Authorities to notify them of additional funding allocated to them and Brent’s share was £210,000. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government had asked councils to provide advice to EU residents about the settlement scheme that had been established and Brent had already held a ‘Time to Talk’ event dedicated to Brexit. Peter Gadsdon (the Council’s Director of Performance, Policy and Partnerships) said that another ‘Time to Talk’, focused on the consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the EU, had been planned to take place in early April 2019. It was noted that a dedicated seminar for Elected Members would be organised once more information about Brexit became available. As far as care and medical packages were concerned, Mr Gadsdon said that he would start convening weekly meetings with officers from the Children and Young People Department and the Community and Wellbeing Department as well as external partners to discuss specific implications for the health and social care sector.

 

Daryl Jooste (the Council’s Civil Contingencies Manager) acknowledged that community engagement and management had been identified as an area for improvement in the recent self-assessment undertaken by Brent Council. Ms Downs reminded members that during last year’s cold weather emergency shelters had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

External Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 652 KB

This document provides an overview of the planned scope and timing of the

statutory audit of Brent Council (‘the Authority’) for those charged w ith governance.

Minutes:

Sophia Brown (Senior Manager, Grant Thornton - External Audit) introduced the paper which provided an overview of the planned scope and timing of the statutory audit of Brent Council for those charged with governance. She directed Members’ attention to the key matters impacting Grant Thornton’s audit approach of the Authority (page 29 of the Agenda pack), among which included the wider economy and political uncertainty; the adoption of IFRS 9 (Financial Instruments) and IFRS 15 (Revenue from Contracts with Customers); and the implications of Brexit. Ms Brown noted that Grant Thornton had identified significant risks related to the revenue cycle including fraudulent transactions (rebutted); management override of Authority controls; valuation of land and buildings; and valuation of the Pension Fund liability.

 

Danielle Swain (Audit Executive, Grant Thornton – External Audit) reported on the audit plan of the Pension Fund. She said that Brexit could have a significant impact on the funding and investment strategies of pension schemes, and defined benefit schemes were likely to face a number of regulatory issues and uncertainties. Therefore, the Pension Fund would need to manage potential risks by developing contingencies for different outcomes. The significant risk identified for the Pension Fund was incorrect valuation of Level 3 investments. Ms Swain explained that Level 3 investments were difficult to value and the process involved a significant degree of estimation as no comparative investments existed.

 

Members heard that Grant Thornton had determined financial statement materiality to be based on 1.85% (previous year figure – 1.06%) of the Authority’s gross expenditure of the group and the Authority for the financial year and had considered ownership structures, controls and business environment. Therefore,  materiality at the audit planning stage had been set to £20 million (previous year’s figure - £12 million) for the group and the Authority and £8 million (previous year’s figure - £12 million) for the Pension Fund which equated to 1% of the previous’ year net assets for the Pension Fund. The trivial levels[1] had been set to £1 million and £400,000 for the group and the Authority and the Pension Fund respectively and any discrepancies exceeding the trivial level would be reported to the Audit and Standards Advisory Committee.

 

The Committee questioned why materiality levels had been changed and Ms Brown responded that each audit firm used its own methodology to determine materiality. The current levels had been set up taking into consideration ownership structures, controls and the business environment, and reviewing the level of errors from the prior year audit of the financial statements. In response to a Member’s question whether materiality could be set at 1%, Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) emphasised that while it was in the Committee’s power to request materiality to be at 1%, but this was likely to increase the audit fee (currently - £153,684; previous year’s figure - £199,590) and, therefore, such a suggestion should be carefully considered prior to making a formal decision. 

 

Members enquired how much of the information presented in the External Audit  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Accounting Policies pdf icon PDF 83 KB

The Council is required to adopt accounting policies each year to set out how the Statement of Accounts will be produced.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Benjamin Ainsworth (Head of Finance, Brent Council) introduced the report and reminded Members that the Council was required to adopt accounting policies each year to set out how the Statement of Accounts would be produced. The Accounting Policies presented in Appendix A (page 47 of the Agenda pack) had been based on the previous year’s ones with some minor changes to cover new accounting standards, clarify terminology and to align the policies with the latest version of the Code of Practice and underlying financial standards. Mr Ainsworth informed members that the accounting policies could be changed only in specific circumstances which had been outlined in paragraph 3.3 of the report (page 44 of the Agenda pack). 

 

Members welcomed the report and enquired whether potential clawback of grants had been considered. Mr Ainsworth explained that a key element of Brent Council’s approach to the Policies had been that the Council applied the Code of Practice issued by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants (CIPFA). He said that clawback of grants had been a very rare occasion. Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) added that section 2.4 of the Statement of Accounting Policies (page 48 of the Agenda pack) set out the Council’s approach to revenue grants and the Local Authority had reasonable assurance that it would comply with the conditions attached to grants so there would be any repayments.

 

RESOLVED that:

(i)            The contents of the Accounting Policies report, be noted; and

 

(ii)          The Accounting Policies set out in Appendix A be approved.

 

9.

2019/20 Treasury Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 156 KB

The report presents the draft Treasury Management Strategy for 2019/20 for consideration by the Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Daniel Omisore (Head of Finance, Brent Council) introduced the report which set out the draft Treasury Management Strategy for 2019/20. He informed Members that the final version, incorporating the views of the Committee, would be included in the budget report presented at the Full Council meeting on 25 February 2019.

 

In relation to the external context, it was noted that the United Kingdom’s (UK) progress negotiating its exit from the European Union (EU), together with its future trading arrangements, would continue to be a major influence on the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2019/20. In addition, the big four UK banking groups had divided their retail and investment banking divisions into separate legal entities under ring-fencing legislation and European banks had been considering their approach to Brexit (for details please see paragraphs 9 and 11 of the report respectively (page 64 of the Agenda pack)).

 

As at 31 December 2018, the Council had held £397 million of borrowing and £114 million of investments, with future estimated borrowing requirements set out in Table 1. Mr Omisore noted that there had not been any breaches of the Treasury Management Strategy or Prudential Indicators since it had been agreed by Council last year. In the past 12 months, the Local Authority’s investment balance had ranged between £190 and £89 million. However, it was forecast to decline as the Councils began the implementation of its updated capital programme.

 

Members enquired about the repayment of one of the Council’s Lender Option Borrower Option loans (LOBOs), the impact of a potential collapse of property prices on the Council’s stock and the impact of Brexit on the cost of borrowing. Mr Omisore said that the Council had managed to secure a favourable deal with a lender which had saved the Local Authority money and had contributed to lowering its debt position.

 

Although the existing Investment Strategy had provisions for purchasing shares in companies that invested mainly in real estate, this option had not yet been taken up.  However, this is constantly monitored and should circumstances change, officers would consider this, depending on a number of factors and after undertaking appropriate due diligence prior to making a decision. This also applied to any investments with Registered Providers which would be individually assessed and discussed with Arlingclose, the Council’s advisors, prior to investing. A significant proportion of the Council’s investments constituted short-term lending to local authorities which was in line with the Council’s 2018/19 Investment Strategy. This had been seen as a secure form of investment which provided benefits for both sides. Moreover, Arlingclose provided real time updates and ratings on all categories of investments which were constantly monitored and reviewed. As far as the implications of Brexit on the cost of borrowing were considered, Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) said that the Local Authority was taking advice from Arlingclose, as of course it was not possible to predict with certainty future changes to interest rates. In his view, given the likely short-term macro-economic impact of a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Report on i4B Holdings Ltd pdf icon PDF 101 KB

This report provides the Audit and Standards Advisory Committee with an update on i4B Holdings Ltd’s (i4B) recent performance, proposed 2019/20 Business Plan, audit arrangements, and risk register.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Peter Gadsdon (Director, i4B Holdings Ltd) introduced the report which provided an update on i4B Holdings Ltd (i4B) recent performance, proposed 2019/20 Business Plan, audit arrangements and risk register. He highlighted that the same Directors sat on the Board of the Council’s other wholly owned company – First Wave Housing Ltd (FWH). Two of them were Council Officers (Gail Tolley, Strategic Director of Children and Young People and Peter Gadsdon, Director of Performance, Policy and Partnerships), one was a backbench Elected Member (Councillor George Crane) and two were independent. The main purpose of the Company had been to assist the Council reduce homelessness by providing affordable, good quality homes, while delivering regeneration and financial benefits to the Council.

 

Business Plan

The Committee heard that the version of the 2019/20 i4B Business Plan that had been included in Appendix 1 to the report (page 89 of the Agenda pack) was identical to the one that would be presented to Cabinet for approval on 11 February 2019. It contained a five-year forecast for the operation of the Company, including a risk analysis and a financial analysis in the context of changing market conditions and Brexit. Mr Gadsdon reported that the acquisition of properties had not been at the pace originally envisaged and the main reason for this was related to the changing market conditions. Nevertheless, the Company had been able to purchase a greater share of in-Borough properties at lower prices than predicted, but the property supply was decreasing. The majority of units were flats and a large proportion of properties were leasehold which meant that additional costs, such as ground rent and service charges, had been added to the Business Plan.[1] 

 

The Board had held discussions with the shareholder about potential ways in which the Company could contribute to meeting housing targets in the Borough. It had been proposed to divert a proportion of the money to buy new build homes on Council ground. Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) said that building Council housing had become more feasible after the Housing Revenue Account cap had been removed and changes in the Right to Buy legislation had been made. Furthermore, increasing the share of properties in Brent and the surrounding areas had been considered as it had been difficult to place residents outside of the Borough. It had been envisaged that the current demand for out-of-Borough accommodation could be met by acquiring 10 properties in addition to the 70 that had already been purchased. The total number of units to be acquired would not be changed and that it would not be necessary to amend the financial requirements of the programme over the 30-year period.

 

As the Business Plan proposed using a portion of agreed funding for intermediate rented accommodation to support the purchase of one block of 153 units for the provision of key worker accommodation at 60%-80% market rent, i4B would work with the Council’s housing supply and partnerships team to develop this opportunity. 

 

Members asked questions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Report on First Wave Housing Limited pdf icon PDF 103 KB

The report provides the Audit and Standards Advisory Committee with an update on First Wave Housing Ltd’s recent performance, 2019/20 Business Plan, audit arrangements, and risk register.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Peter Gadsdon (Director, First Wave Housing Ltd) introduced the report which provided an update on First Wave Housing Ltd (FWH) recent performance, proposed 2019/20 Business Plan, audit arrangements and risk register. He pointed out that the Company had been more mature than the Council’s other wholly owned venture – i4B Holdings Ltd (i4B) and provided a background to its operation. Members heard that FWH owned 329 residential properties and two commercial premises (for more details on the rent levels and the products offered by the Company, please see Table 1 on page 187 of the Agenda pack). In terms of types of units, approximately 1/3 of FWH portfolio consisted of Brent-owned blocks (Right to Buy bought back-s); 1/3 were other leasehold properties and 1/3 were had been situated in two large blocks in South Kilburn that had been acquired as new builds. 

 

Mr Gadsdon said that a major concern for the Board had been the condition of the stock which had deteriorated due to the lack of investment in the last 10 years. Therefore, a substantial amount of refurbishment work would have to be carried out in order to bring it to the required standards. There were an average of six repairs per property in the last 18 months which was considered high for the industry, while customer satisfaction had been as low as 51%. Nevertheless, the Company was in a strong financial position as rent collection had been good and the value of the properties it owned had increase since they had been purchased.    

 

The Committee welcomed the report and enquired whether there were any differences between i4B and FWH in relation to occupancy and voids. Mr Gadsdon responded that rent collection rates for FWH were monitored on a monthly basis at Board Meetings and had remained consistent at around 100%. Turnover was very low and there were no void properties. Therefore, the Board drew confidence from FWH that i4B would perform well once the programme had been fully developed.

 

Members referred to the fact that the report commented that the shareholder was undertaking an analysis of the benefits of aligning the two companies. Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) explained that under the present arrangements FWH was a registered provider which meant that it could bid for grants from the government to build properties. He highlighted that while it was important to retain the registered provider status, it had to be taken into account that having different types of companies performing various functions could make governance arrangements complicated.

 

RESOLVED that:

(i)            The contents of the Report on First Wave Housing Ltd, be noted;

 

(ii)          The plans set out in the Company’s draft 2019/20 Business Plan be noted;

 

(iii)         The update on recent FWH audit activity, and progress towards implementing previous audit recommendations be noted; and

 

(iv)         The update to the FWH risk register be noted.

12.

Annual Review of the Internal Audit Charter pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The report sets out the revised Internal Audit Charter which has been appended to the report for consideration and approval.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Michael Bradley (the Council’s Head of Internal Audit and Investigations) introduced the report and said that a new Internal Audit Charter (Appendix 1 on page 225 of the Agenda pack) had been produced in accordance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards. It provided a detailed outline of the role of Internal Audit and how the Strategy and Plan would be delivered whilst ensuring compliance with the standards.

 

It was noted that reviewing the Charter by the Audit and Standards Advisory Committee on an annual basis was considered good practice. The Chair added that there were regular meetings between himself, the Vice-Chair and Mr Bradley, while members of the Internal Audit Team had direct access to the Chief Finance Officer.

 

RESOLVED that:

(i)            The contents of the Annual Review of the Internal Audit Charter report, be noted; and

 

(ii)          The Internal Audit Charter be approved in accordance with the requirements of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards.

 

13.

Internal Audit Progress Report for the period September 2018 to January 2019 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

The report provides an update on progress against the Internal Audit Plan for the period 1 September 2018 to 31 January 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Michael Bradley (the Council’s Head of Internal Audit and Investigations) introduced the report which provided an update against the Annual Audit Plan for the period 1 September 2018 to 31 January 2019. He highlighted that a further seven schools[1]had been engaged and the proportion of recommendations that had been implemented was high. However, there was a low return rate of questionnaires issued at the end of each audit asking auditees to provide feedback on a number of areas including usefulness of the audit, quality of the report and usefulness of any recommendations made. Nevertheless, the Internal Audit Team would continue to encourage clients to provide feedback on the service.

 

Mr Bradley referred to Appendix B (page 274 of the Agenda pack) which contained information about follow up reviews of Audits that had been completed. He emphasised that although the assurance rating of the Payroll audit remained ‘Limited’ significant progress had been made towards resolving the issues that had been identified. Furthermore, the number of not implemented management actions in relation to the Direct Payments audit was zero and not seven. In response to a Member’s question about the South Kilburn Regeneration audit, Mr Bradley said that it had been focused on project assurance and its rating had initially been ‘Limited’ as there were issues with some of the components of effective project management.   

 

Members directed their attention to the Internal Audit Planning process for the next financial year (paragraphs 3.17-3.26 on pages 240-242 of the Agenda pack) and Mr Bradley pointed out that resources had been concentrated on areas of high risk. Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) said that a draft Internal Audit Plan would be presented at the meeting in March 2019 to allow the Committee to comment on it. He encouraged Members to raise any specific concerns with himself, Mr Bradley or Colin Garland (the Council’s Audit Manager) so these could be reflected in the Plan. 

 

The Committee welcomed the report and supported the proposed allocation of resources. The Chair commented that ‘Limited’ assurance audits showed that the right areas of the Council had been targeted and the work of the Internal Audit Team was addicting value to the organisation.

 

RESOLVED that:

(i)            The contents of the Internal Audit Progress Report for the period September 2018 to January 2019, be noted;

 

(ii)          The proposed allocation of resources in the Internal Audit Plan 2019/20 be approved;

 

(iii)         Members raised any specific concerns with Mr Hall, Mr Bradley or Mr Garland (the Council’s Audit Manager) so these could be reflected in the Plan. 

 



[1] It was noted that the Internal Audit Team did not audit academies which had separate audit arrangements.

14.

Counter Fraud Quarterly Progress Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 142 KB

The report provides an update on the counter fraud work undertaken for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 December September 2018 (Quarters 1-3).

Minutes:

Michael Bradley (the Council’s Head of Audit and Investigations) introduced the paper which provided an update on the counter fraud work undertaken for the period 1 April to 31 December 2018. He pointed out that 15 properties, with a notional value of £1,395,000, had been recovered in the year to date as a result of fraud or irregularity.

 

The Counter Fraud Team had led on an organised Freedom Pass fraud investigation involving several Councils in London. 17 fraudulent Brent applications had been uncovered and the main subject of the investigation had in court on 26 June 2018 relating to 21 counts of fraud, counterfeiting and forgery. However, the defendant had pleaded not guilty and the trial was scheduled for March 2019. Moreover, the Team had worked on a notable Blue Badge fraud case which had appeared in national news. The defendant had pleaded guilty and had been fined £660, had to pay costs of £572 and a Victim Surcharge of £66. In response to a question whether the Blue Badge cases that had been investigated had involved third parties using fraudulent Blue Badges in Brent, Mr Bradley said that he would seek additional information from the Team and would share it with Members at the next meeting. He commented that the amount of money defendants had been sentenced to pay had been low in comparison to the cost of prosecuting cases. A Member of the Committee suggested that the matter could be referred to the attention of the Local Government Association (LGA) via the Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning.

 

Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) supported such an approach as he considered it to be an effective way of addressing the issue as prosecuting Blue Badge fraudsters often cost the Local Authority more than it could be recovered, especially when the social cost of the fraud and the loss of revenue from parking were taken into account. 

 

RESOLVED that:

(i)            The contents of the Counter Fraud Quarterly Progress Report 2018-19, be noted;

 

(ii)          The issue that the amount of money defendants had been sentenced to pay had been low in comparison to the cost of prosecuting cases of Blue Badge fraud be brought to the attention of the LGA via the Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning; and

 

(iii)         The Committee’s appreciation for the work of the Counter Fraud Team be placed on record.

 

15.

Audit and Standards Advisory Committee - Self Assessment options pdf icon PDF 92 KB

The report provides options for the conduct of an assessment of the performance of the Audit and Standards Advisory Committee.

Minutes:

Michael Bradley (the Council’s Head of Audit and Investigations) introduced the report which outlined potential options for the conduct of an assessment of the performance of the Audit and Standards Advisory Committee. He pointed out that three main approaches had been considered – completing a questionnaire; organising a workshop; and conducting a peer review.

 

Members welcomed the update and the Chair commented that he would prefer the option that included conducting a peer review, however, he acknowledged that it could be challenging to organise one having in mind the difficulties encountered when Members and officers had expressed interest the Council’s internal audit function to be reviewed externally. Members felt that completing a questionnaire might be the most suitable way to conduct the self-assessment as long as senior Council officers, Committee Members, external auditors and key stakeholders had been included in the scope.

 

In response to potential actions that would be taken to address weaknesses that could be identified as a result of the process, Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) explained that should the self-assessment highlight specific shortages, training and coaching would be considered. If this approach did not deliver the expected results, conversations with the respective political group leaders would be held to agree a way forward.

 

Mr Hall informed Members that he would liaise with Mr Bradley to design the questionnaire and would report back to the Committee. The Chair requested results to be treated anonymously so respondents could provide honest feedback about areas that worked well and aspects which required improvement

 

RESOLVED that:

(i)            The contents of the Audit and Standards Advisory Committee – Self-Assessment options report, be noted;

 

(ii)          Mr Hall would liaise with Mr Bradley to design the questionnaire in a way that treated results anonymously; 

 

(iii)         The Council’s external auditors and Members of the Council Management Team be encouraged to participate in the self-assessment questionnaire;

 

(iv)         An update on the self-assessment questionnaire be provided at a future meeting of the Committee.

 

16.

Forward Plan and Agenda for the Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To note the Committee’s Forward Plan and agree a draft agenda for the next meeting, which would be reviewed and finalised by the Chief Finance Officer, the Head of Audit and the Chair of the Committee one month after the date of the current meeting.

Minutes:

It was noted that officers would try to distribute the workload of the Committee evenly throughout the 2019/20 Municipal Year.

<TRAILER_SECTION>

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the Audit Advisory Committee Forward Plan, be noted.

 

17.

To agree a date to hold a meeting between the Chair, the Vice-Chair and the Independent Members of the Committee

Minutes:

This item was deferred to the meeting on 20 March 2019.

 

18.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The following items are not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act1972:

 

Ø  Item 10 – Appendix 1 to i4B Holdings Ltd Business Plan 2019-20

Ø  Item 11 – Appendix 1 to First Wave Housing Ltd Business Plan 2019-20

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that press and public be excluded from the remaining part of the meeting.

 

19.

Matters Arising (continued)

Minutes:

Independent Advisor to the Committee

 

Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) informed Members that the recruitment of an Independent Advisor to the Committee was in progress and a panel would be convened to interview the shortlisted candidates. It was noted that there was a possibility that a recommendation for appointment would be made prior to the Committee meeting on 20 March 2019. 

 

Lender Option Borrower Option Loans

 

Mr Hall explained the nature of Lender Option Borrower Option Loans (LOBOs) and said Brent had taken out its last LOBO more than 10 years ago. He referred to the objections to the Council’s accounts that had been received in relation to LOBOs and said that KPMG (the Council’s former external auditor) had issued their provisional view and the objector and the Council had been given the opportunity to present further evidence within 20 working days. KPMG would then take into account whether the points that had been raised were substantive and would issue their final view. Once this had happened, the objector could not raise any further points of legality unless they took their objection via appeal to the court system at their expense within 21 days.

 

An update on this matter would be provided to the Committee once it became available.

 

20.

Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.

Minutes:

None.