Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee
Friday, 24th March, 2017 9.30 am

Venue: City Hall

Contact: Steve Gregory  0117 92 24357

Items
No. Item

64.

Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Minutes:

No apologies received.

 

65.

Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest from the Councillors.  They are asked to indicate the relevant agenda item, the nature of the interest and in particular whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.

 

Any declarations of interest made at the meeting which is not on the register of interests should be notified to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion.

 

Minutes:

None declared.

 

66.

Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 223 KB

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

Minutes:

The Minutes of the 27 January 2017were agreed as a correct record.

 

67.

Action sheet pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Minutes:

The Action sheet was noted.

 

68.

Public Forum

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.

 

Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum.  The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda.  Public Forum items should be emailed to democratic.services@bristol.gov.uk and please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:-

 

Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by 5 pm on 20 March 2017.

 

Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting.  For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00 noon on 23 March 2017.

Minutes:

None received.

 

69.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 273 KB

To note the work programme.

Minutes:

The Work Programme was noted.

 

70.

Update on Council's Control Framework (based on the work of Internal Audit) pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Head of Internal Audit in respect of a dashboard view of the control framework within the Council, based on the work of Internal Audit (IA) during the period of 1st April 2016 – 28th February 2017. 

 

The Committee discussed the contents of the report and arising from this the following key points were made or clarified –

 

Figure 1 - Residual Level of Risk & Figure 2 - Risk Trend

 

1.     Noted that there had been an increase in red indicators and a decrease in amber and green indicators. Members were informed that the increase in red indicators needed to be understood in context as this was consequent upon the work that was done and where attention was being focussed eg known poorer areas of service provision and schools governance which had not been investigated for a number of years;

2.     Recent staff reductions in the Internal Audit team required remaining resources to focus on high risk areas so it was likely that the red indicator trend would increase in the short term;

3.     The Audit Plan would in future identify key high risk areas so that progress could be made;

4.     It was emphasised that amber should not always be seen as a potential problem as it might mean that the service area was not ‘very good’ but improvements were ongoing. The information was effectively a ‘snapshot’ of evidence found at the time of the audit;

5.     The next report would update on all these areas and a narrative would be provided to outline the peaks and troughs of performance and the overall direction of travel;

6.     Some areas had not responded to internal audit recommendations for various reasons eg, finance, procurement, projects. It was thought that this was down to embedded cultures and inability to prioritise internal audit recommendations. It was vitally important that these areas of service be fed into the Audit Plan to ensure that improvements would be made;

7.     With regard to cultural aspects it was recognised that scrutiny commissions had a role to play in terms of providing an influence on how work was done;

8.     Some members felt that in serious cases internal audit should effectively ‘name and shame’ senior managers and that they be invited to the Audit Committee to help find a positive way forward;

9.     Members were assured that going forward all areas of poor performance would be reviewed to ensure that the right skills and capacity was in place to make significant improvements. A report would be brought to the Audit Committee which would show where senior officers were being challenged to make significant improvements to their areas of work and service provision;

Figure 3 - Level of Assurance

 

 

10.  Regarding ‘Assurances’ members were advised that the amber indicator did not mean ’bad’ performance but doing the bare minimum. Assurance was given that this would be followed up proactively until a green indicator was achieved including the involvement of directorate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.

71.

Internal Audit Draft Annual Plan for 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 163 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Head of Internal Audit in respect of a Draft Internal Audit

Plan regarding detailed planned audit work for 2017/18.

 

The Committee discussed the contents of the report and arising from this the following key points were made or clarified –

 

1.     Regarding consultation (2.4) in future scrutiny commission members would be included;

2.     A member expressed concern that the Bundred report was not on the agenda. Service Director (Finance) explained that the Overview & Scrutiny Management Board was leading on this. With specific regard to governance issues the opinion of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Audit Committee would be sought;

3.     For future work the Audit Committee Terms of Reference would be revised with particular emphasis on its governance role. A special meeting could look at this or the Chair and Vice Chair of the Audit Committee could oversee informally with an option for an additional meeting. Notwithstanding that additional training sessions might be necessary regarding any changes to how the Audit Committee might work in the future;

4.     Contract renewals needed to be reviewed as some contracts were not being flagged up in advance in the Council’s Forward Plan which could lead to contracts needing to be extended and thereby waste money by not entering into a properly negotiated contract; 

5.     It was suggested that the App store was a security risk and could present the Council with a significant cost risk if councillors downloaded apps and charged them to the Council, equally high data usage cost the Council money. Noted that this issue was already being looked at by internal audit team;

6.    A clear timetable would be produced for the Audit Plan once all the work areas and associated consultation with partners had been completed. Progress reports would be made to the Audit Committee so that members were kept fully informed.

 

Resolved - that, subject to the comments made during the discussion, the report be noted.

 

72.

Money Laundering Policy Update pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Service Director Finance & S.151, in respect of a review of the Money Laundering Policy and guidance that had been undertaken to simplify and clarify guidance for work colleagues.

 

The Head of Internal Audit advised members that the Money Laundering officer would be the Section 151 officer subject to approval by Cabinet.

 

Resolved – that the report be noted.

 

73.

BDO Audit Plan 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from BDO the Council’s external auditors in respect of the Audit Plan 2016/17 and which set out the work BDO would carry out in discharging their responsibilities to give an opinion on the Council’s financial statements and a conclusion on the Council’s value for money.

The plan set out BDO’s responsibilities under the Code of Audit Practice and included an

outline of the key issues relevant to the audit of the financial statements and an initial assessment of the key risks.

 

Key points raised were that due to the Council’s large budget deficit, value for money was now essential and that mitigation of reductions in expenditure continued to take place robustly.

 

Resolved – that the report be noted.

 

74.

BDO Annual Fee Letter pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from BDO the Council’s external auditors in respect of the Annual Audit Letter.

 

Resolved – that the report be noted.

 

75.

Honorary Aldermen nomination pdf icon PDF 189 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Service Director Legal & Democratic Services to consider and decide whether a nomination for Honorary Alderman should be recommended to Full Council for approval.

 

After due consideration of the unique circumstances surrounding the nomination in this case, due to the Member dying in office, it was proposed and seconded that the nomination be agreed in principle subject to checking with the nominees family for their approval.

 

On being put to the vote there five in favour and two abstentions, the motion was therefore carried.

 

Resolved – that, given the exceptional circumstances in this case due to the Member dying in office, the nomination for Honorary Alderman, as nominated by the respective political group be approved subject to checking with the nominees family for their approval, and that a recommendation to Full Council on the appointment of a new alderman be made.

 

76.

Information item - Whistleblowing Arrangements Governance pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Minutes:

The item was noted.