Agenda and minutes

Governance & Audit Committee
Tuesday, 7th December, 2021 9.30 am

Venue: Hybrid Meeting: via Microsoft Teams/Abraham Derby Meeting Room, General Offices, Ebbw Vale

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Simultaneous Translation

You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so. A simultaneous translation service will be provided if requested.

Minutes:

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

 

2.

Apologies

To receive.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received for Councillors S. Thomas and J. Holt.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To receive.

Minutes:

Councillor B. Summers declared an interest in the following item:

 

Item No. 6 - Response to Audit Wales Enquiry to those charged with Governance and Management (Silent Valley Waste Services)

 

4.

Governance & Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 384 KB

To receive the minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee held on 2nd November, 2021.

 

(Please note the minutes are submitted for points of accuracy only).

Minutes:

The minutes of the Audit Committee held on 2nd November, 2021 were submitted, whereupon:

 

It was reported that B. Baldwin should be amended to read P. Baldwin on the list of attendees on page 1 of the minutes.

 

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

 

5.

Action Sheet - 2nd November, 2021

There were no actions arising from the meeting of the Governance & Audit Committee held on 2nd November, 2021.

Minutes:

There were no actions arising from the meeting held on 2nd November, 2021.

 

6.

Response to Audit Wales Enquiry to those charged with Governance and Management pdf icon PDF 404 KB

To consider the report of the Audit and Risk Manager.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to report of the Audit & Risk Manager.

 

The Audit & Risk Manager presented the report which outlined the management response to the Audit Wales enquiries, attached at Appendix A, and the response provided on behalf of the Committee as those charged with governance.

 

The Officer reported an error to Option 1 of the report which should read:

 

The Committee note the attached Management response to the Audit Wales query and endorse the response of the Governance & Audit Committee as provided by the Chair of the Committee.’

 

A brief discussion ensued when Officers clarified points raised by a Member.

 

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and the Committee note the attached Management response to the Audit Wales query and endorse the response of the Governance & Audit Committee as provided by the Chair of the Committee (Option 1).

 

7.

Complaints information for Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 – 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 495 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

The Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance presented the Council’s performance information in relation to investigations into Stage 1 and Stage 2 Corporate Complaints received for the period 1st April 2021 30th September 2021. 

 

The Officer explained that Stage 1 and Stage 2 referred to the Council’s internal processes for reviewing complaints.  The Officer pointed out that in the event of failure to achieve a resolution through the Council’s internal processes, a complaint could be escalated to Stage 3 and referred to the Public Services Ombudsman for consideration.

 

As previously reported the Governance and Audit Committee now had additional functions to include a role in oversight for complaints, and new statutory powers to:

 

·        Review and assess the Authority’s ability to handle complaints effectively; and

·        Make reports and recommendations in relation to the Authority’s ability to handle complaints effectively.

 

The Council was required to provide the Complaints Standards Authority (CSA) with complaints data on a quarterly basis and report to the Governance and Audit Committee the number and types of complaints received and their outcomes.  The Committee agreed in June 2021 that this report would be presented to Committee twice a year.

 

The Officer then went through the performance information detailed in Appendix 1 of the report.

 

A Member pointed out that there was a higher number of complaints in relation to waste and refuse, and roads and transport and asked whether they should be reported to the relevant Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

 

The Officer said the higher number of complaints within those areas was to be expected due to the nature of the service.  She confirmed that the data was analysed to inform service improvements, but also to identify any trends or issues that may need further consideration by the relevant Scrutiny Committee and the Governance & Audit Committee.

 

Another Member also asked whether there was comparative data available in relation to complaints received in other LA’s, and also sought clarification on whether the figures included code of conduct complaints.

 

In response the Officer confirmed that the figures related to service complaints only.  Data in relation to code of conduct complaints was submitted to the Standards Committee and Council on an annual basis.   In relation to comparative data, the Ombudsman Annual Report presented to the last meeting of the Committee included comparative data across all Councils in Wales, but not in relation to specific service areas. Blaenau Gwent had a relatively low number of complaints compared to other LA’s and this was reflected within the Ombudsman report.  The Officer said data from other LA’s could be obtained but pointed out that this would have to be adjusted to reflect the size and needs of each LA. 

 

In response to a further question the Officer confirmed that the process for making complaints was on the Council’s website.  Each Department had its own Complaints Officer and they were in the process of receiving training in terms of identifying complaints  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Audit Wales Certificate of Compliance for the Audit of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Assessment of 2020-21 Performance pdf icon PDF 474 KB

To consider the report of the Service Manager Performance and Democratic.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Service Manager Performance & Democratic.

 

The Audit & Risk Manger presented the Audit Wales Certificate of Compliance following the audit of the Council’s Assessment of 2020-21 Performance (attached at Appendix 1).

 

A Member expressed concern regarding the delay of the Audit Wales report on Silent Valley.

 

The Audit & Risk Manager said this was a separate issue to this report, but confirmed that the report on Silent Valley would be reported to Committee in due course.

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Committee note the compliance certificate dated November 2021.