The Committee discussed the Bundred report and Annual Governance Statement Tracker. The following comments were made:
· B18: Officers advised that the new decision pathway had been recently introduced and had now been approved and published. Although it was noted that there was no specific reference to scrutiny, this formed part of the process. It had been signed off by the Mayor and the new strategic board. Any future issues concerning the pathway would be dealt with as required
· Officers drew the Committee’s attention to the table setting out the details, together with recommendations. Some areas remained only 50% complete (ie Finance) which reflects the scale of the journey completed and what remained to be done. Future focus needed to concentrate on pier reviews and culture
· At the end of the year, 77% of actions were still listed as amber. The Chief Internal Auditor stated that it was very disappointing that this remained the case as of March 2018. An Internal Audit report and Annual Governance Statement were required
· Officers stated that target dates for completion were set out
· Officers confirmed that the Corporate Risk Register was being refreshed with a new approach which would test and mitigate options
· Officers stated that arrangements for accelerating the process were working. Audit Committee could ask for more a more detailed briefing if required
· Members stated that in the past there had been greater style than substance in the preparation of information. This situation had improved recently Shorter notes were often preferable to a fuller report, with links being a useful tool to supplement information as required.. Officers pointed out that Bundred had criticised the lack of sufficient detail in information. As a result, information was provided either through a presentation or a detailed report
· B39 and B40: Whilst most officers would readily provide information to Councillors if required, members stated that it was not always clear where members should go to obtain information. Members did not always know what they were entitled to see. Officers were required to remind all members about this. Action: Nancy Rollason to brief Councillors.
· In addition, some existing generic e-mails were unhelpful and, in some cases, needed to be updated. Officers advised that they represented all Councillors in as open and transparent a way as possible unless a report was exempt. Action: Officers to check generic e-mail addresses and provide information for Councillors to assist them in reducing the amount of time that it can take for them to get information that they require as part of their casework – Denise Murray
· Officers noted concerns from the Independent Members that there needed to be a proper indication where actions were not on track for delivery, in addition to an assessment of what the risks are and how to manage them. It was pointed out that those items which were identified as amber required further action. However, it was acknowledged that a narrative could also be provided Action: Denise Murray
· There were 85 recommendations in the Bundred report. The volume of work required was huge. Officers were working as hard as possible to ensure these were completed. Whilst most of the work was completed, it was hoped to embed the required frameworks by 2019. The Chief Internal Auditor expressed disappointment that some of this work had not been carried out quicker in view of the significant shortcomings identified by Bundred in governance
· In response to members’ concerns that a large number of items remained in amber with no completion date, officers confirmed that this was part of the restructure process. Until this was carried out, the appropriate assessment centre work to identify completion dates could not be made. It was acknowledged that there had been a marked improvement in terms of the Medium Term Financial Plan and the budget process.
· Whilst overall staff morale had significantly improved, work still remained in this area
· Officers agreed to confirm why 9 out of 17 items originally listed as amber were now listed as green Action: Denise Murray
Resolved – that the report be noted.