Venue: Council Offices, Farnborough
Contact: Committee Administrator, Kathy Flatt Tel. (01252 398829) or email email@example.com
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 25th January 2021 (copy attached).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 25th January 2021 were
approved and would be signed by the Chairman at a later date.
the Monitoring Officer’s Report No. LEG2101 (copy attached) on the responses
received in respect of the consultation exercise on the Draft Councillors’ Code of Conduct and on finalising
the Code for approval.
Committee considered the Monitoring Officer’s Report No. LEG2101 which set out
a draft new Code of Conduct for Councillors following
a period of public consultation. It was
noted that a total of four responses had been received, not all of which were
relevant to the proposed update to the Code and the comments received were set
out in Appendix B to the Report.
noted that the consultation exercise had included a consultation page on the
Council’s website, a letter to 3,000 residents who had asked to be kept
up-to-date on Council news and consultations.
There had also been a social media campaign and the Monitoring Officer
had also contacted a number of local and partner organisations
asking for their views on the draft Code of Conduct.
Committee reviewed the responses received to the consultation exercise. It was considered that the Code, as drafted,
provided safeguards around each of the concerns received.
RESOLVED: That the Council be RECOMMENDED
TO APPROVE the draft Code of Conduct for Councillors,
as set out in the Monitoring Officer’s Report No. LEG2101.
the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD2101 (copy attached), which sets out the
Council’s Bring Your Own Device Policy for approval. The Report will be presented by Mr. Nick
Harding, Head of IT, Facilities and Projects.
Committee considered the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD2101, which set out the
Council’s Bring Your Own Device Policy, which had been developed to allow employees,
Members and contractors to access Council emails, contacts and calendar using
their own mobile devices.
The Head of
IT, Facilities and Projects advised the Committee that the Policy referred to
any person wishing to use a device owned by someone other than the Council in
order to access Council data. The
Council was able to provide access to Outlook email, contacts and calendar
through a secure application on such a device.
The Committee noted that user responsibilities were defined within the
Policy and included:
are responsible for the safekeeping of their own personal data and ensuring
that it was backed up
sensitive information should not be emailed via the user’s mobile device, as it
would not be secure. A Council-owned and
managed laptop or PC should be used.
must ensure that their device is compliant with the system requirements and
that security software was kept up-to-date.
It was also
explained that user responsibilities set out in the Policy had been developed
in conjunction with IT, Legal Services and Internal Audit and was compliant
with cyber security standards. The
Policy would be kept under review annually.
That the Bring Your Own Device Policy, as set out in the Audit Manager’s
Report No. AUD2101, be approved for adoption.
the Executive Head of Finance’s Report No. FIN2107 (copy attached), which gives
details of audit progress for the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2019/20
and the provision of the audit opinion.
Committee received the Executive Head of Finance’s Report No. FIN2107, which
advised Members of the audit progress for the Council’s Statement of Accounts
for 2019/20 and the provision of the audit opinion since the previous meeting
on 25th January 2021. The Committee was
reminded that the deadline for issuing a final set out audit statements of
accounts and audit opinion of 30th November 2020 had not been met.
Chairman welcomed Maria Grindley from Ernst &
Young (EY) to the meeting who was in attendance to provide an update on the
work of EY on the current audit.
advised Members that, owing to the impact of Covid-19, the deadlines for the
completion and publication of the 2019/20 accounts had been relaxed in
recognition of the possible disruption to relevant authorities caused by the
coronavirus pandemic. The Report set out
the current deadlines, as set out in Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and
the revised deadlines, as set out in the Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus)
(Amendment) Regulations 2020.
set out the background to the current position.
It was noted that 265 public bodies had not received an auditor opinion
by 30th November 2020 and that, according to data from Public Sector Audit
Appointments, the number of public bodies that had not received their audit
opinion by mid-March was 147.
Executive Head of Finance reported to the Committee on the current status of
the audit and advised that a meeting had been held with EY the previous week to
work through some of the issues raised by EY.
It was anticipated that the information required by EY would be
available by the middle of April to give EY time to work through any queries
and raise these with the Council. It
was, therefore anticipated that the audited Statement of Accounts and the Audit
Results Report would be available to be considered by the Committee at the
meeting in May 2021.
informed the Committee that deadlines for the completion and publication of the
2020/21 and 2021/22 accounts had been amended as part of the Government’s
response to the recommendations of the independent Redmond Review into the
effectiveness of external audit and transparency of financial reporting in
local authorities. It was noted that the
new regulations, which would come into force on 31st March 2021 would amend the
draft and final accounts publication deadlines for relevant bodies from 1st
June and 31st July to 1st August and 30th September for the next two accounting
years and the position would be reviewed.
The Committee was advised that the Council had amended its 2020/21 accounts closure process to meet the revised Accounts and Audit Regulation 2021 timetable. It was felt that the timetable would be challenging as a result of continuing Covid-19 pressures. In addition, the delay in concluding the 2019/20 audit would mean that the opening balance for 2020/21 would be fluid and that working on two audit years at the same time and having to revisit opening ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
the Internal Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD2102 (copy attached) which sets out
the Internal Audit Plan for 2021/22.
The Committee considered the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD2102, which set out the Audit Plan for 2021/22. The annual Audit Plan provided a framework for the use of audit resources to enable the Audit Manager to provide the Authority was an overall assurance of the internal control environment.
The Report set out the methodology used for compiling audit coverage, including the updating of the risk universe to show audiable areas as at January 2021 and this would be reviewed as appropriate. The risk criteria had been developed to ensure all relevant areas had been considered in determining the level of risk exposure within an auditable area. The Corporate Risk Register and the details within the Annual Governance Statement were also taken into account when reviewing the risk universe and developing the Audit Plan. The Report set out a timetable for communication on and monitoring of the Plan.
The Report stated that there was currently a vacant full-time auditor post and that the work of this post would be carried out by contract auditors in 2021/22.
The first six months’ work of the 2021/22 Audit Plan was set out in Appendix A to the Report. This work had been selected from the higher risk areas. However, it was noted that this list was fluid and could be responsive to the changing environments faced by the Council or resource availability. An update would be provided at the Committee’s meeting in July 2021.
RESOLVED: That the Annual Audit Plan, as set out in the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD2102, be approved to be monitored and updated on a rolling quarterly basis.
the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD2103 (copy attached), setting out work
carried out towards the implementation of the actions detailed in the Annual
Governance Statement, originally
presented to the Committee in July 2020.
Committee received the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD2103 which gave details of
the work carried out towards the implementation of the actions defined in the
Annual Governance Statement, which had been presented to the Committee in July
That the Audit Manager’s Report No. AUD2103 be noted.
the Joint Report (No. DC2109 – copy attached) of the Head of Democracy and
Community and the Monitoring Officer, which sets out proposals for the future
arrangements for the Committee.
Committee considered the Joint Report of the Head of Democracy and Community
and the Monitoring Officer (Report No. DC2109), which proposed changes to ensure
the future effectiveness of the Committee, with a strong focus on its corporate
governance role providing oversight, protection and public confidence in
introducing the Report, the Monitoring Officer explained that the Council,
along with many other authorities within the sector, had been diversifying its
range of activities to both mitigate the risk of financial restructuring as a
result of Central Government funding changes, and to facilitate the Council to
take a much stronger role in place shaping and to influence the regeneration of
the area. In order to deliver against
this more diversified agenda, the Council had sought to establish key delivery
vehicles such as the Rushmoor Development Partnership to pursue regeneration
and Rushmoor Homes Ltd to deliver local housing solutions. The Council had also sought to become more
commercially focused in seeking out income generating sources and had
considered a wide range of commercial income investment opportunities. All of these areas of activity required good
governance, careful oversight and risk management, supported with transparent
arrangements to provide the public oversight, protection and confidence
necessary. It was felt that high quality
Elected Member oversight was a pivotal lynchpin to providing that public
advised that the Council was keen to build on lessons learned by high profile
local authority failures, especially in respect of the role of corporate
governance, use of expertise and independence and the approach to risk
management and transparent decision making.
set out proposals to implement arrangements for the Licensing, Audit and
General Purposes Committee to help ensure and support the Committee’s
effectiveness in the future. The
proposed arrangements were:
Committee Name – It was proposed to change of the Committee’s name to ‘Corporate
Governance, Audit and Standards Committee’, which was a more accurate
reflection of the Committee’s work and focus.
This would take effect from the first meeting of the new Municipal Year
in May 2021.
Terms of Reference and Statement of Purpose - It was proposed to add a new Statement of
Purpose as an introduction to the Committee’s terms of reference to bring
greater focus to the corporate governance and audit role. This was set out in Appendix 1 to the Report.
It was proposed to continue the membership of the Committee as 11 Members
(non-executive and politically balanced) with a new provision to appoint up to
three additional non-voting, co-opted Independent Members. These Independent Members would be invited to
join meetings for discussion on all corporate governance and audit matters.
· Independent Members – It was proposed to follow good practice, which showed that for committees with audit responsibilities, the co-option of independent members with technical knowledge and expertise could be beneficial, helping with the process of in-depth questioning and committee discussion. A copy of the Person Specification for Independent Members was set out in Appendix 3 to the Report. ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
the Joint Report (No. DC2110 – copy attached) of the Head of Democracy and
Community and the Monitoring Officer, which recommends a two-year extension to the
term of office for the Council’s Designated Independent Person – Mrs. Mary
Committee considered the Joint Report of the Head of Democracy and Community
and the Monitoring Officer (Report No. DC2110), which recommended a two-year
extension to the term of office for the Council’s Designated Independent
Person, Mrs Mary Harris. It was
explained that this was a role which was required under the Localism Act 2011
to assist the Council in promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct
amongst its elected Members.
set out role description and statutory functions of the Designated Independent
Person. It was noted that there was no
payment for this role, however, a small annual retainer allowance was paid,
which was the same amount allowed for a co-opted committee member (currently
£514 per annum).
Committee was advised that it was open to the Council to carry out a fresh
recruitment process or to make an extension to Mrs Mary Harris’ term of
office. It was noted that, since her
appointment, Mrs Harris had attended training, attended regular update meetings
with the Monitoring Officer, carried out her role diligently and had gained
experience from which the Council could benefit for a further period. There had been very few Member conduct
related complaints and the call on the Designated Independent Person has been minimal.
set out details about Mrs Harris, including her qualifications, work experience
and voluntary experience and it was proposed that the Committee should
recommend to the Council to extend the term off office of Mrs Mary Harris for
two years until the end of the 2022/23 Municipal Year.
That the Committee RECOMMEND TO THE COUNCIL that the term of
office of Mrs Mary Harris, as the Council’s Designated Independent Person, be
extended for two years until end of 2022/23 Municipal Year.