Matters arising (if any)
To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.
External Audit Report on grants and returns 2016/2017
(Item 9 from the minutes of the meeting of the Audit Advisory Committee on 20 March 2018)
It was noted that a written update on the implementation of the action plan created by the Housing Benefit Team to address the findings of the External Audit Report on grants and returns 2016/17 had been circulated to all Members.
Report on i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd
(Item 8 of the minutes of the minutes of the previous meeting)
The Chair informed Members that Eugene Sullivan (Former Independent Advisor the Committee) had sent his comments related to aligning the risks for i4B Holdings Ltd and the Council to Carolyn Downs (the Council’s Chief Executive) and Conrad Hall (the Council’s Chief Finance Officer) who would provide a response.
Independent Advisor to the Committee
The Chair informed Members that Mr Sullivan had resigned due to ill health. The Committee placed on record their appreciation of the support he had provided to the Committee throughout the years he had served as an Independent Member and an Independent Advisor.
Members discussed the value Independent Members added to the wide range of topics discussed by the Committee and were in unanimous agreement that the vacancy that had been created following Mr Sullivan’s resignation must be filled. It was noted that there were four Independent Members who had joined the Committee following its merger with the former Standards Committee and who supported Elected Members by providing a different perspective and robust challenge to the matters considered by the Committee. Therefore, a preference for a person with commercial operational background who had a solid finance understanding was expressed. Furthermore, Members pointed out that it would be preferable for the Independent Adviser to live within commutable distance from the Council so informal discussions with Members and senior officers could take place as and when necessary.
Paul Dossett (Partner, Grant Thornton – External Audit) acknowledged that Independent Members added value to audit committees and noted that a financial management code for Chief Finance Officers which was drafted by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) contained a section on the effectiveness of audit committees and emphasised the importance of self-assessment.
Althea Loderick (the Council’s Strategic Director of Resources) added that the specification of the role could be shared with professional head hunter companies which specialised in recruiting non-executive members with specific qualifications as this would provide a good opportunity to source the right type of candidates.
Mr Hall noted the contents of the discussion and said that he would make the necessary arrangements to start the recruitment process, the structure of which would be agreed in consultation with the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the Committee.
(i) An Independent Advisor to the Committee would be recruited;
(ii) The Chief Finance Officer, in consultation with the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the Committee, would design the recruitment process and would make the necessary arrangements to initiate it.
2017/18 Treasury Management Outturn Report
(Item 10 of the minutes of the minutes of the previous meeting)
The Chair noted that a Mid-Year Treasury Report had been included under Agenda item 7 of the present meeting.
Counter Fraud Annual Report 2017/18
(Item 12 of the minutes of the minutes of the previous meeting)
The Committee heard that the average value of each recovered property had been adjusted to reflect the actual value in the Borough.
Risk Management Framework Review
(Item 14 of the minutes of the minutes of the previous meeting)
The Chair informed Members that senior managers had been supportive of the the Risk Management Strategy. It had been discussed at Departmental Team Meetings (DMTs) and it would be presented to the Council Management Team (CMT) in December 2018, following which a report would be provided to the Committee at the meeting on 5 February 2019.
Councillor Aden was in attendance at the meeting between 6:03 pm and 6:10 pm.
Councillors S Choudhary and Colwill joined the meeting at 6:03pm and 6:08 pm respectively.