Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Email: CommitteeServices@horsham.gov.uk  Direct Line: 01403 215465

Items
No. Item

AAG/4

Minutes pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To approve as correct the minutes of the meetings held on 14 April and 26 May

(Note: If any Member wishes to propose an amendment to the minutes they should submit this in writing to committeeservices@horsham.gov.uk at least 24 hours before the meeting.  Where applicable, the audio recording of the meeting will be checked to ensure the accuracy of the proposed amendment.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that the names of ex-Audit Committee Members were present in the minutes of the meeting on 26 May 2021. Following an amendment to correct the Membership of the Committee in these minutes both the minutes of the meetings held on 14 April 2021 and 26 May 2021 were approved as accurate records and signed by the Chairman.

 

AAG/5

Declarations of Members' Interests

To receive any declarations of interest from Members of the Committee

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

AAG/6

Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chairman of the Committee or the Chief Executive

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that the order of items on the agenda would be re-arranged to take the Risk Based Verification item first.

 

AAG/7

Risk Management - Quarterly Update pdf icon PDF 333 KB

To receive the report of the Director of Corporate Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Corporate Resources presented the Risk Management Quarterly Update to the Committee. The report included an update on the Corporate Risk Register for consideration and provided an update on progress with the quarterly departmental risk register reviews.

 

It was reported that there were five risks considered to be high:

 

CRR19 - Ongoing reduction in planning fees; reduced car parking income; increased homelessness; and increased housing benefit claims; leisure centres; property income; investment income.

 

CRR01c - Decrease in Rateable Value due to appeals and businesses going under. This may cause the Council to fall below the business rates baseline, resulting in loss of funding.

 

CRR01b - Funding from Government is less generous than assumed in the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) from 2021

 

CRR05 - Officers are either unaware of expected controls or do not comply with control procedures.

 

CRR18 - (i) A malicious attacker exploits a known or unknown security weakness to penetrate the Council’s ICT systems. The level of threat has been raised by the Cabinet Office to amber. (ii) IT not working due to environmental problems: fire, flood, power cut.

 

Departmental risk registers had been reviewed and updated.

 

The Committee noted the contents of the report and relevant appendices.

AAG/8

Internal Audit reviews of Revenues and Benefits 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 282 KB

To receive the report of the Director of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

The Director of Corporate Resources reported the outcome of the internal audit reports of Revenues and Benefits completed by Milton Keynes’ internal audit as part of the agreement in which some Northamptonshire-based Council’s provide Horsham District Council’s Revenues and Benefits service.

 

All three audits, completed in the fourth quarter of 2020/21, achieved good assurance for the control environment. The Benefits audit showed substantial assurance for compliance and the two Revenues audits good assurance for compliance.

 

AAG/9

Internal Audit - Annual Report and Opinion 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 292 KB

To receive a report from the Chief Internal Auditor

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The 2020/21 internal audit plan was approved by this committee in April 2020. All reviews had been completed, except for one.

 

The Chief Internal Auditor provided an annual audit opinion of “reasonable assurance” that Horsham District Council had in place an adequate and effective framework of governance, risk management and internal control for the period: 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

 

Where internal audit had identified areas where controls could be improved, appropriate remedial action had been agreed with management.

 

The Chief Internal Auditor went on to provide a summary of key audit findings for quarter 4 2020/21.

 

AAG/10

Annual Governance Statement pdf icon PDF 305 KB

To receive the Annual Governance Statement for 2020/2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Corporate Resources reported that the annual review of the Council's governance, risk management and internal control arrangements had been undertaken to support the Annual Governance Statement for 2020/21.

 

The review included information and assurance gathering processes as well as a review of the Council's Governance framework against the best practice framework devised by CIPFA/SOLACE. The aim was to ensure that the Council had effective governance, risk management and internal control processes in place to assist with accountability and the delivery of objectives. The review process had identified any shortfalls in these arrangements to enable them to be addressed. The Annual Governance Statement includes an action plan to help improve the effectiveness of the Council’s governance arrangements and control environment.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Annual Governance Statement for 2020/21 be approved.

 

AAG/11

Treasury Management Activity and Prudential Indicators 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 422 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

The Group Accountant (Technical) reported that, at 31 March 2021, the Council had no external debt and investments totalled £59.0m including call accounts and Money Market Funds.

 

During 2020/21, the Council’s cash balances were invested in accordance with the Council’s treasury management strategy apart from two instances. There was a breach of an investment limit with another Local Authority which was reported in the mid-year report, and one indicator where the actual indicator for interest risk was higher than the estimate, a consequence of large amounts of Covid-19 grants being held by the Council at year-end.

 

Interest of £0.858m was earned on investments, an average return of 1.5%. This was £0.075m under the budget of £0.933m.

 

After taking into account a provision for losses, investment property income was £3.6m, which was £0.2m below the £3.8m budget.

 

The pandemic had a significant effect on investment income throughout the year and this was expected to continue in 2021/22 dependent on the strength of the economic recovery.

AAG/12

Subsidiary Housing Company Accounts pdf icon PDF 327 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Community Services

Minutes:

The Director of Horsham District Homes Ltd and Horsham District Homes (Holdings) Ltd presented the draft audited annual report and financial statements for both companies.

 

Consolidated group accounts for 2020/2021 were not required to be prepared as the value of the transactions in the companies’ accounts were considered immaterial.

 

The accounts for both companies had been audited by an independent auditor and would be approved and signed at the companies’ board meeting in July 2021.

 

To consider a report containing exempt of confidential information

            RESOLVED

 

That, under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business, on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in Part I of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, by virtue of paragraph 7 regarding information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.

AAG/13

Risk Based Verification Policy

To receive a report from the LGSS Revenues & Benefits Operations Manager

Minutes:

The Revenues & Benefits Operations Manager presented a review on the effectiveness of the current Risk based Verification product.

 

            RESOLVED

 

That the Committee approve the removal of the Risk Based Verification Software.

 

AAG/14

Urgent Business

Items not on the agenda which the Chairman of the meeting is of the opinion should be considered as urgent because of the special circumstances

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.