Meeting documents

Audit Committee
Tuesday, 24th July, 2018 9.30 am

Date: Tuesday 24th July 2018 Time: 9.30 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndReport toReport of
Councillor J. Collins (Vice-Chair in the Chair)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (173K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

The following apologies for absence were reported:-

Mr. Peter Williams, Councillors M. Cross, L. Winnett and WAO Representative

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATION

No declarations of interest or dispensations were reported.

Noted
5. AUDIT COMMITTEE
Minutes (274K/bytes)
Cofnodion (115K/bytes)

The minutes of the Audit Committee held on 12th June, 2018 were submitted for accuracy points.

RESOLVED that the minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (111K/bytes)
Workforce Development Report (209K/bytes)
Appendix A (59K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 12th June, 2018 was submitted, whereupon:-

Audit Committee - Minutes of the meeting held on 27th March, 2018 (progress on sign-off of the 16/17 Statement of Accounts)

The Head of Financial Services referred to previous discussions in relation to the current inquiry being undertaken by WAO and reported that the inquiry was still ongoing. If the inquiry was concluded prior to the next meeting of the Audit Committee in September the Officer undertook to circulate information to Members in the interim.

In response to a question raised by a Member the Chief Accountant Corporate Services explained that the delay in sign off the 2016/17 Accounts would have a 'knock on' effect as they needed to be signed-off prior to sign-off of the 2017/18 Accounts, but hopefully the inquiry would be concluded by the next Audit Committee in September.

A discussion ensued when the Officer explained that the Committee approved the 2016/17 Accounts last year, but they were not signed-off by WAO. On conclusion of the inquiry the 2016/17 Accounts would come back to Committee for formal sign-off by the Auditor General.

The Head of Financial Services was unable to provide details of the inquiry, but confirmed that WAO was keeping the Managing Director fully informed of progress.

The Head of Governance & Partnerships undertook to raise Members' comments with WAO at their quarterly meeting.

Audit Plan Outturn 2017/18 - Social Care Workforce Development (Reasonable Assurance)

In response to a question raised by the Chair the Head of Internal Audit confirmed that a minimum of 2 additional staff would be trained up by the end of June 2018 to ensure continuity of service in relation to preparing budgetary reports.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Action Sheet be noted.

Agreed
7. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BLAENAU GWENT REGISTRATION DISTRICT 2017-2018
Report (232K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (6M/bytes)
Appendix 2 (460K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance (and Proper Officer for Births, Deaths and Marriages).

The Corporate Support Manager presented the report which informed Members of the annual performance assessment of Blaenau Gwent Registration District. The Registration Service was delivered by the Local Authority within its governance framework but was overseen by the Registrar General.

A performance report and service delivery plan had to be submitted annually to the Registrar General which was assessed against key performance indicators and national standards, and the Officer was pleased to report that Blaenau Gwent had been assessed as a high performing service against most of the key PI's and national standards.

A Member said this was a very pleasing report and suggested that a press release be issued.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Agreed
8. DRAFT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2017/2018
Report (139K/bytes)
Appex (9M/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer.

The Chief Accountant Corporate Services presented the Draft Statement of Accounts for 2017/18 for information. The Authority had a legal requirement to prepare a draft set of Accounts to be certified by the Chief Finance Officer by the 30th June, 2018, and the Officer confirmed that this was undertaken on the 29th June, 2018. In compliance with regulations a period of public inspection commenced on the 23rd July, 2018 and this would run until 17th August, 2018 following which WAO would commence its audit. Following this process, the Accounts would come before Committee by 30th September, 2018 for approval.

The Officer then highlighted some of the significant matters affecting the Accounts and outlined the Authority's overall financial position.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Audit Committee receives the Draft 2017/2018 Statement of Accounts for information, prior to the requirement to approve in September.

Agreed
9. WALES AUDIT OFFICE - OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY: FIT FOR THE FUTURE? BLAENAU GWENT COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL
Report (126K/bytes)
Appex 1 (182K/bytes)
Appex 2 (70K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Governance & Partnerships and Designated Head of Democratic Services.

The Corporate Performance Manager presented the WAO report 'Overview and Scrutiny: Fit for the Future: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council' (Appendix 1). A review was undertaken of all 22 LA's in Wales and looked at how fit for the future the scrutiny function was and how LA's had started to implement the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 in relation to scrutiny and also scrutiny of the Public Service Board. The Officer confirmed that the report had been considered by the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee on the 23rd July, 2018.

Following their review WAO concluded that 'the Council had made positive changes to its scrutiny function and its commitment to improve makes it well placed to work differently to respond to future challenges'.

The WAO identified one proposal for improvement that the Council was expected to implement and this was highlighted at section 2.4 of the report. The main response to the proposal for improvement was attached at Appendix 2, and this information would be included in the business plan of the Corporate Performance Team and the action plan would be monitored by the Democratic Services Committee and Council.

A brief discussion ensued when a Member expressed concern that the page numbers of paper copies of Committee agendas did not correspond with the electronic copy, and the Officer confirmed that this issue would be addressed.

A Member said the report was welcomed by the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee yesterday where Members felt it was good reflection of the work undertaken in Blaenau Gwent.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Audit Committee accept the WAO review and actions to implement the proposals for improvement.

Agreed
10. INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN 2018-2023
Report (330K/bytes)
Apendix A (211K/bytes)
Appendix B (57K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Internal Audit.

The Head of Internal Audit presented the report which provided Members with the five year strategic Audit Plan for the period 2018-2023. The plan was produced following a risk assessment exercise whereby each potential audit area was scored using a matrix against a set of criteria relating to the audit risks, Authority's objectives and the views of the Head of Service. This exercise produced a score for each audit area which was then prioritised based on the highest scoring audits in each service area. Audits that the Authority was obliged to perform, such as grant certification, were excluded from the process and automatically sat within the one-year operational plan, and these were reflected as either 'F' or 'S' under the risk score.

The fundamental financial systems have traditionally been audited year on year as part of the managed audit approach adopted with the external auditor, however, WAO had now changed this approach and there would no longer be a requirement for an annual audit of each of the fundamental financial systems.

The results of the financial systems audits had been analysed and there had been improvement in the internal controls within some of these systems over a number of years. In addition, performing full systems audits of all financial systems created a significant burden on the audit resource. As a result it was decided to change the audit approach for financial systems, and those audit areas that had received Reasonable Assurance or Full Assurance grades for the past three years would move to a Control Risk Self-Assessment (CRSA) approach where suitable.

The Officer clarified points raised by a Member and it was

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Audit Committee approve Option 1, namely to approve the Audit Plan attached at Appendix A, deeming it to provide sufficient coverage upon which the HIA can provide an annual audit opinion, enabling the Committee to fulfil its assurance role.

Agreed
11. AUDIT PLAN PROGRESS REPORT APRIL TO JUNE 2018
Report (315K/bytes)
Appendix A (117K/bytes)
Appendix B (206K/bytes)
Appendix C (98K/bytes)
Appendix D (117K/bytes)
Appendix E (215K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Internal Audit.

The Audit Manager presented the report which updated Members on progress against the Internal Audit Plan for the period 1st April to 30th June, 2018. Activities for the period were set out in Appendix A, and an Internal Audit Summary report was attached at Appendix B. Performance data for the section for the period was presented at Appendix C, and the Internal Audit Service completed 17.96% of the Audit Plan against a target of 20.00%. The section's sickness for the period was an average of 0.17 days per person against a department target of 6 days per person.

A Member referred to Appendix A and sought an explanation on the Internal Control Classification for Out of County Placements.

The Audit Manager explained that the status 'not applicable' was due to the fact that the audit was currently ongoing and there was no anticipated grading at this point in time.

In response to a question raised by a Member, the Property Services Manager confirmed that the actions were in the process of being implemented.

The Audit Manager said a follow-up audit would be undertaken in 6-12mths and depending on progress would be reported back to Committee.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Audit Committee note the findings within the attached Appendices, and the progress on activities for the period April to June 2018.

Agreed
12. ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT
Report (88K/bytes)
Appex (260K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Internal Audit.

The Head of Internal Audit presented the draft Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for 2017/18 which provided an assessment of the effectiveness of the Authority's governance arrangements. The final version of the AGS would be reported to Committee in September and would be updated to reflect any changes.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Audit Committee approve and adopt the Annual Governance Statement.

Agreed
13. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT 2017/18
Report (113K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Internal Audit.

The Head of Internal Audit presented the report which provided the Officer's objective review of the Authority's system of internal control during the financial year 2017/18 and annual audit opinion.

The Officer concluded that Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council's system of internal control during the financial year 2017/18 operated to a level which gave Reasonable Assurance on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the organisation's framework of governance, risk management and control.

In response to a question raised by a Member regarding Control Risk Self-Assessment in school audits, the Officer reported that positive feedback had been received from schools regarding the approach, but it would continue to be monitored.

The Officer clarified points raised by a Member regarding the audit procedures for the SRS, and it was

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Audit Committee acknowledge the annual audit opinion of the Head of Internal Audit, and based on the findings of the audit work undertaken during 2017/18 and the positive development of the Authority's governance framework, there was continued improvement in the internal control environment. As such the HIA's opinion was that Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council's system of internal control during the financial year 2017/18 operated to a level which gave Reasonable Assurance on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the organisation's framework of governance, risk management and control.

Agreed
DECISIONS UNDER DELEGATED POWERS