Meeting documents

Audit Committee
Tuesday, 4th December, 2018 9.30 am

Date: Tuesday 4th December 2018 Time: 09.30 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre

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

PresentAndReport toReport of
Mr. Peter Williams (Chair)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Version of Agenda Coversheet (172K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

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

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors G. Paulsen and L. Winnett.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

No declarations of interest or dispensations were reported.

Noted
5. AUDIT COMMITTEE
Minutes (289K/bytes)
Cofnodion (234K/bytes)

The minutes of the Audit Committee held on 11th September, 2018 were submitted for accuracy points.

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

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET

There were no actions arising from the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 24th July, 2018.

Noted
7. SPECIAL AUDIT COMMITTEE
Minutes (259K/bytes)
Cofnodion (141K/bytes)

The minutes of the special Audit Committee held on 25th September, 2018 were submitted for accuracy points.

A Member referred to the third paragraph on page 5 and said he was pleased that the information had been corrected.

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

Agreed
8. ACTION SHEET
Report (24K/bytes)

The action sheet arising from the special meeting of the Audit Committee held on 25th September, 2018 was submitted.

RESOLVED that the action sheet be noted.

Agreed
9. ORDER OF AGENDA

It was agreed that Item No. 10 (Charitable Trust Accounts) would be considered next on the agenda.

Noted
10. CHARITABLE TRUST ACCOUNTS
Charitable Trust Accounts Report (114K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Chief Officer Resources.

The Chief Accountant Corporate Services presented the report which provided an update position on the preparation of accounts for Charitable Trusts, principally Bedwellty House & Park, and recreation grounds in Cwm, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar.

He explained that preparation of the accounts had been delayed by the requirement to process adjustments relating to the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 accounts, and management of service provision at Bedwellty House & Park transferring to Aneurin Leisure Trust mid-way through the 2014/2015 financial year. These issues had now been addressed and the 2014/2015 accounts presented to WAO for audit in March 2018. However, due to resources issues WAO had only recently undertaken their audit, but an unqualified audit opinion was anticipated, and hopefully the 2014/2015 Accounts would be submitted to Committee in January 2019 for sign-off.

He said the accounts for the financial years ending 2016, 2017 and 2018 for Bedwellty House & Park would be prepared on a receipts and payments basis, as income in each financial year would not exceed 250,000. Work was progressing on these accounts and once the audit was finalised would be submitted to the Charities Commission.

In response to a question raised by a Member, the Officer explained that previous to Bedwellty House & Park transferring to the Leisure Trust, all income and expenditure for the Park was shown in the Authority's accounts. However, since the transfer the Authority's accounts only reflected the management fee paid to the Trust, and all income and expenditure for the facility would be shown within the Leisure Trust accounts.

Following a request from a new Member to the Audit Committee, the Officer provided a brief explanation of the reasons for the delay in the 2014/2015 accounts. He said the accounts were not given sufficient priority, and staff dealing with the accounts did not have the relevant expertise, as a result the accounts had been returned by WAO on a number of occasions.

A brief discussion ensued regarding the difference between Charitable Trust status and Community Asset Transfers, and the implications in terms of accessing funding to ensure sustainability of community facilities. The Chair confirmed that this was a matter for discussion by the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee and it was

RESOLVED that this matter be referred to the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

FURTHER RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be acknowledged.

Agreed
11. THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PUBLIC SERVICES OMBUDSMAN FOR WALES 2017/2018
Report (90K/bytes)
Appendix (2M/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance.

The Information & Data Protection Officer presented the report which provided the performance information in relation to complaints to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. It was pleasing to note that Blaenau Gwent had the lowest number of service complaints in Wales, with the number decreasing from 12 to 10 in 2017/18.

Overall in Wales there had been a 10% reduction in service complaints against Councils, however, there had been a 14% increase for Code of Conduct complaints and these related to Town & Community Councils. The Officer confirmed that the Appendices attached to the report provided a more detailed breakdown of the performance information.

The Chair and Members said this was a very pleasing report for Blaenau Gwent, and the overall reduction in the number of complaints against Councils was also pleasing.

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

Agreed
12. AUDIT COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT 2017-2018
Audit Committee Annual Report 2017-2018 (269K/bytes)
Appendix A (164K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Chief Officer Resources.

The Audit Manager presented the Annual Audit Committee Report which outlined the key areas of work undertaken by the Audit Committee to ensure compliance with all aspects of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011, and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Audit Committee Practical Guidance for Local Authorities and Police 2013.

The report showed that the work conducted by the Audit Committee for 2017/18 had been both valuable and productive, and provided the necessary assurance that the Audit Committee had fulfilled its role.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Annual Report be approved and the recommendations be addressed (Option 1).

Agreed
13. AUDIT PLAN PROGRESS REPORT JULY TO SEPTEMBER 2018
Report (120K/bytes)
Appendcies A-F (665K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Chief Officer Resources.

The Audit Manager presented the report which provided an update on progress against the Internal Audit Plan for the period 1st July to 30th September, 2018. A list of activities undertaken during the period was attached at Appendix A, and a summary of findings from audit reports produced in the period, including a formal audit opinion where appropriate. Where individual audits are graded as Limited Assurance or No Assurance, an Internal Audit Summary Report was presented at Appendix B. The follow-up Audits completed during the period where weaknesses had not been implemented were shown at Appendix C.

The Officer concluded that the Internal Audit Section's sickness for the period was an average of 0.17 days per person against a Departmental target of 6 days per person, and the Service had completed 38.02% of the audit plan against a target of 40.00%.

Appendix A - Cwmcrachen Electricity Supply

In response to a question raised by a Member the Head of Internal Audit explained that the Section had been asked to investigate the disparity between the electricity bills and the income collected. A number of areas were identified, and actions had now been implemented to make improvements to ensure that the correct amount was being charged, and recovered from tenants. The Officer confirmed that as the audit was 'limited assurance' it would be subject to a follow-up audit.

Appendix A - Out of County Placements

A Member referred to the 4 weaknesses identified, 2 of which were high risk and said Members needed greater assurance from the relevant Officers that actions to address 'high risk' weaknesses would be implemented.

The Head of Internal Audit explained that the overall audit opinion was 'reasonable'. If there had been significant 'high risk' weaknesses the audit opinion would have been 'No Assurance' and an Internal Audit Summary Report would have been provided. The Officer said if a report was provided for every individual 'high risk' identified, the volume of information would be extensive.

A discussion ensued when the Member asked whether a system could be considered, with minimum impact on resources, whereby Members would receive supplementary information for 'high risk' weaknesses identified.

In response the Head of Internal Audit suggested that at the next Audit Committee, additional appendices be attached to the report on 'high risk' weaknesses identified during the period, and Members could then form an opinion on whether they would like to continue to receive this information.

The Officer also pointed out that where Summary Reports were provided, relevant Officers were asked to attend the Audit Committee to answer any questions arising. The Chair reported that the issue of Officers' attendance had been discussed at the Agenda Meeting.

Appendix B4 - School System Audit (Safer Recruitment)

In response to a question raised, the Head of Internal Audit explained that the audit was undertaken on a sample of five schools. Action plans had been developed, working closely with Corporate OD, and these had been presented to the Joint Headteachers meeting to ensure that issues are addressed moving forward.

Appendix C - Follow-up Audits (Absence Management)

A brief discussion ensued regarding the Itrent system and the Officer explained that the system would make improvements and mitigate some of the recommendations.

In response to a further question, the Head of Education Transformation confirmed that the Joint Headteachers meeting had agreed to report the Safer Recruitment Policy to the Governing Bodies.

Councillor P. Edwards left the meeting at this juncture.

Appendix B3 - ICT User Access

A Member expressed concern that the weaknesses identified in the previous audit had been identified again, along with additional weaknesses, and asked when these would be addressed.

The Officer confirmed that a further full audit would be undertaken during Quarter 4 that would ensure that the actions identified are implemented, and this would be reported to the Committee.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and progress on activities for the period July to September, and the findings within the attached Appendices be acknowledged.

Agreed
DECISIONS UNDER DELEGATED POWERS