Licensing, Audit and General Purposes Committee - Monday, 30th January, 2017 7.00 pm - Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Offices, Farnborough

Contact: Committee Administrator, Kathy Flatt  Tel. (01252 398829) or email  kathy.flatt@rushmoor.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

21.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 28th November, 2016 (copy attached).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 28th November, 2016 were approved and signed by the Chairman. 

 

22.

Selection of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

The Chief Executive to report on the outcome of the selection process for the Mayor-Elect and Deputy Mayor-Elect 2017/18. A copy of the criteria for the selection process is attached for information.  The Committee will be asked to make a recommendation to the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported on the outcome of the selection process for the Mayor-Elect and the Deputy Mayor-Elect for 2017/18. The Chief Executive had contacted the appropriate Members on the seniority list and reported that Cr. S.J. Masterson was the next Member able to accept the nomination for Deputy Mayor. Through normal progression, Cr. Sophia Choudhary, currently Deputy Mayor, would progress to the position of Mayor for 2017/18.

 

The Committee RECOMMENDED TO THE COUNCIL that:

 

(i)        Cr. Sophia Choudhary be appointed as Mayor-Elect for the 2017/18 Municipal Year; and

 

(ii)       Cr. Stephen John Masterson be appointed as Deputy Mayor-Elect for the 2017/18 Municipal Year.

 

23.

The Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To receive a report from Ernst & Young (copy attached) which sets out how the company will carry out its responsibilities as auditor for the audit of the 2016/17 financial year.   

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed to the meeting Mr. Adrian Balmer, Manager, Government and Private Sector of Ernst & Young who reported to the Committee on the Audit Plan which set out how the company intended to carry out its responsibilities as auditor.  The Plan summarised an initial assessment of the key risks driving the development of an effective audit for the Council and outlined a planned audit strategy in response to those risks. 

 

RESOLVED: That the Audit Plan be noted.

 

24.

Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 32 KB

To receive a report from Ernst & Young (copy attached) which summarises the results of the audit work on the Council’s major grant claim under the Housing Benefits Subsidy Scheme for the financial year 2015/16.

Minutes:

The Committee received a copy of Ernst & Young’s Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report 2015/16 in connection with the audit of the Council’s claim to the Department for Work and Pensions in respect of the housing benefit subsidy.  It was noted that the claim had been checked and certified with a total value of £37,327,041 and that the submission deadline had been met.  Members also noted that the 2015/16 certification fee was £8,652 and that the indicative certification fee for 2016/17 was £7,511.

 

RESOLVED:  That Ernst & Young’s Certification of Claims and Returns Annual Report 2015/16 be noted.

 

25.

External Auditor's Sector Briefing pdf icon PDF 861 KB

To receive a copy of Ernst & Young’s local government and audit committee briefing paper (copy attached).  

Minutes:

The Committee received Ernst & Young’s Local Government Audit Committee Briefing paper, which covered Government and economic news, accounting, auditing and governance, regulation news and key questions for the audit committee. 

 

RESOLVED:  That the Local Government Audit Committee briefing paper be noted.

 

26.

Fees and Charges - Skin Piercing pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To consider the Head of Environmental Health and Housing’s Report No. EHH1702 (copy attached), which seeks approval for revised fees and charges for skin piercing registration functions provided by the Environmental Health and Housing Service, to come into effect on 1st April, 2017.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Head of Environmental Health and Housing’s Report No. EHH1702, which sought approval for revised fees and charges for skin piercing registration functions provided by the Environmental Health and Housing Service

 

The Committee was advised that fees for the registration services had last been reviewed in January, 2011 and had been set at £125 to register a business premises and £92 to register a person.   Following a review of the work required to deliver the registration activity, and based on the principle of full cost recovery for the services provided, it was proposed that the fee for the registration of the premises should be set at £180 and the fee per person should be set at £90.  The fees would come into effect from 1st April, 2017.

 

RESOLVED:   That approval be given to the revised fees, as set out in the Head of Environmental Health and Housing’s Report No. EHH1702.

 

27.

Internal Audit Update pdf icon PDF 332 KB

To receive the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD1701 (copy attached) on internal audit work undertaken during September to December, 2016. 

Minutes:

The Committee received the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD1701, which set out the work of internal audit undertaken during the period September to December, 2016.

 

The Report set out details in respect of: Housing Benefits; treasury management; Council Tax billing and collection; Council Tax and NNDR recovery; server virtualisation; audit follow-ups; and, mobile devices follow-up.  Members were also advised that audit work was currently underway in respect of Public Sector Internal Audit Standards, cash receipting, parking machine income and Activation Aldershot (Capital Project). 

 

During discussion, a question was raised in respect of payment of National Insurance in connection with the calculation of Members’ allowance payments at the start of a Municipal Year.  It was agreed that this issue would be raised with Human Resources.

 

RESOLVED:   That the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD1701 be noted.

 

28.

Annual Treasury Management Strategy 2017/18 and Prudential Indicators for Capital Finance pdf icon PDF 495 KB

To consider the Head of Financial Services’ Report No. FIN1703 (copy attached), which sets out the Treasury Management Strategy 2017/18, Prudential Indicators for Capital Finance and the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement for submission to the Council on 23rd February, 2017.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Head of Financial Services’ Report No. FIN1703, which provided an update on the Treasury Management Indicators and Prudential Indicators for capital financing for the year 2016/17.  The Report also set out the proposed Treasury Management Strategy for the year 2017/18, including the borrowing and investment strategies and treasury management indicators, the Prudential Indicators for capital finance for 2017/18 and the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement. 

 

The Report advised that funds invested consisted of short-term cash available due to timing of income and expenditure (e.g. from movements in working capital or from reserves that needed to be available in the short term) and potentially longer-term investment funds derived from the Council’s capital receipts.   Arlingclose’s advice continued to indicate that the Council should diversify investment risk by spreading smaller amounts over an increasing number of counterparties.

 

Members noted that the Council would now need to incur some borrowing to support the financing of its approved Capital Programme in the current year.  The Council therefore would commence 2017/18 in a position where its investment holdings remained significant, but it also carried some debt.  There would be an inevitable requirement to incur some additional borrowing to service capital expenditure in 2017/18.   Careful observation of the Prudential Indicator “gross debt versus capital financing requirement” would need to be undertaken progressively throughout the financial year.  This meant that the Council would have to redeem an element of its market investments towards the end of 2017/18 and in future years in order to reflect the requirements of this Indicator.

 

During discussion, Members raised questions concerning a cap on borrowing, property assets and sources of long-term and short-term borrowing. 

 

RESOLVED:  That Cabinet be recommended to approve:

 

(i)        the revised Treasury Management and Prudential Indicators for the year 2016/17, as set out in Appendix A to the Head of Financial Services’ Report No. FIN1703;

 

(ii)       the Treasury Management Strategy, Annual Borrowing Strategy and Annual Investment Strategy, as set out in Appendix B to the Report;

 

(iii)      the Prudential Indicators, as set out in Appendix C to the Report; and

 

(iv)      the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement, as set out in Appendix D to the Report.

 

29.

Follow Up from Audit Results Report pdf icon PDF 244 KB

To consider the Head of Financial Services’ Report No. FIN1704 (copy attached) which sets out the Council’s response to an issue raised by Ernst & Young in their annual Audit Results Report, previously reported to the  Committee on 26th September, 2016.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Head of Financial Services’ Report No. FIN1704, which set out the Council’s response to an issue which had been raised by Ernst & Young in its Annual Audit Results Report and considered by the Committee on 26th September, 2016. 

 

By way of background, the Committee was advised that the Audit Report had identified an uncorrected error in the accounts and the proposed treatment of this had been set out in the Letter of Representation from Management which had been discussed and approved by the Committee. In the Letter of Representation a commitment had been made to review the entire population of debtors and to correct any errors subsequently identified, prior to the submission of the accounts for 2016/17 and to adopt necessary procedures to ensure that all debtor balances were adequately evidenced and provided against where necessary.  

 

The Committee was advised that the Accountancy Team within Financial Services had carried out a complete exercise on all debtors that fell outside of the verifiable systems (i.e. sundry debtors, Council Tax, business rates, housing benefit, purchase ledger) to identify all accounts where there had been no movement during 2015/16.  These had then been reviewed for supporting evidence.  This exercise had identified four other balances where sufficient supporting evidence of a collectable debt was no longer available and of action taken since.  The total amount written back to the General Fund would be £91,877, which represented 1.85% of total debtors.   It was advised that a process would be built into the annual accounts timetable going forward so that information relating to debtors was adequately maintained and an assessment would be made for any provision against bad debt and doubtful debt. 

 

The Report informed the Committee that the debtors that fell outside of the main systems were a small fraction of the total debtors category and were largely highways related (where works were recharged to others such as Hampshire County Council) or are in receipt of rent deposits or car loans, all of which were recorded well within services.   A working paper had been prepared to share with the auditors to demonstrate compliance with best practice and with the proposals set out in the Letter of Representation.

 

Members were also advised that the variance in the revenue account had been reported to the Cabinet as part of the October budget monitoring report (Report No. FIN1622) and had therefore been taken into account when estimating the outturn position for 2016/17.

 

RESOLVED:   That the action proposed in response to the Audit Results Report, as set out in the Head of Financial Services’ Report No. FIN1704, be noted. 

 

30.

Pay Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 9 KB

To consider the Corporate Director’s Report No. CD1701 (copy to follow), which seeks approval of the Pay Policy Statement for recommendation to the Council for adoption.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Corporate Director’s Report No. CD1701, which set out the framework within which pay was determined at the Council and provided an analysis comparing the remuneration of the Chief Executive with others employed by the Council. 

 

The Committee was advised that the ratio between the Chief Executive and the full-time equivalent salary for a permanent member of staff employed on the lowest grade was 7.1:1, which was lower than when the exercise had been undertaken for the previous year when the figure had been 7.5:1.    It was also advised that the ratio that looked at the median remuneration of staff compared to the Chief Executive showed no change from the previous year and remained at 3.8:1.

 

The Committee RECOMMENDED TO THE COUNCIL that the Pay Policy Statement 2017/18 be adopted.