Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King's Lynn PE30 5DQ. View directions

Contact: Wendy Vincent, Democratic Services Officer, 01553 636661, Email:  wendy.vincent@west-norfolk.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

A53

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs J Collingham and C Manning.

A54

Minutes pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To approve the minutes from the Audit Committee held on 12 November 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Audit Committee held on 12 November 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

Matters Arising

 

A49 Record Retention and Disposal Policy Review:  Page 8, para 2: The Senior Policy and Performance Officer undertook to check the legal requirement on viewing previous and future agendas and minutes being available in hard copy or electronically. Councillor Kunes commented that to date, a response had not been emailed to the Committee.

 

A48 Mid-Year Review Treasury Report 2018/2019: Page 5, Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services Loan which was due to be paid back to the Council on 30 November 2018.  Councillor Pope asked if on 12 November 2018, the Council was aware that NWES would not be in a position to repay the loan on 30 November 2018.  In response, the Deputy Chief Executive explained that discussions had been held with NWES and there was no indication that the loan would not be repaid on the due date, 30 November 2018.  The Deputy Chief Executive added that if NWES defaulted on the repaying of the loan, under the Partnership Agreement the building would revert back to the Borough Council.

 

A47 Corporate Risk Register Monitoring Report:  Page 6, para 4, it would be appropriate for the Audit Committee to monitor the progress of major housing schemes.  Councillor Tilbrook asked how the Committee should monitor progress.  In response, the Deputy Chief Executive advised that the Committee would need to decide on the frequency of the monitoring to be undertaken and commented this could be on a quarterly basis.  The Committee was advised that an update was included in the capital programme report to Cabinet on 5 February and would also be updated in the outturn report in June 2019.  The Chairman, Councillor Middleton suggested that a discussion would be held at the next sifting meeting as to how the Committee could monitor progress which was agreed by those present.

A55

Declarations of Interest

Please indicate if there are any interests which should be declared.  A declaration of an interest should indicate the nature of the interest (if not already declared on the Register of Interests) and the agenda item to which it relates.  If a disclosable pecuniary interest is declared, the Member should withdraw from the room whilst the matter is discussed.

 

These declarations apply to all Members present, whether the Member is part of the meeting, attending to speak as a local Member on any item or simply observing the meeting from the public seating area.

Minutes:

Councillor Kunes declared an interest as a freemason.

A56

Urgent Business Under Standing Order 7

To consider any business which, by reason of special circumstances, the Chairman proposed to accept as urgent under Section 100(b)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

A57

Members Present Pursuant to Standing Order 34

Members wishing to speak pursuant to Standing Order 34 should inform the Chairman of their intention to do so and on what items they wish to be heard before the meeting commences.  Any Member attending the meeting under Standing Order 34 will only be permitted to speak on those items which have been previously notified to the Chairman

Minutes:

Councillor C Joyce for the Risk Management Policy and Strategy Review – Final Report and Record Retention and Disposal Policy review – Final Report.

A58

Chairman's Correspondence

Minutes:

The Chairman informed the Committee that a number of questions had been asked in full Council regarding the ongoing situation in relation to the NWES loan.  Members were advised that the NWES/KLIC Review Report would be presented to the Audit Committee on 11 March 2019

A59

Risk Management Policy and Strategy Review - Final Report pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Policy and Performance Officer presented the final version of the report prior to it being taken forward to Cabinet in March 2019.

 

Members were reminded that a draft version of the report was presented to the Committee in November 2018 and drew Members’ attention to section 3.2 of the report which set out the two amendments by the Committee at their previous meeting.

 

Under Standing Order 34, Councillor Joyce referred to paragraph 7.5.1 (page 32) – Section 151 Officer and asked for clarification on “The Officer must be informed of any potential financial risk arising from project or service activities as it emerges.”  He added that the word emerges was broad and that the wording should be tightened up and asked what was the trigger point for a Service Manager to inform the S151 officer.  In response, the Senior Policy and Performance Officer explained that the policy was intended to be flexible and that risk was a dynamic concept with all projects.  He further commented that at the outset it was difficult to predict how the project would pan out and that the onus was on the Project Manager/Service Manager to review progress and to build in a mechanism to mitigate any issues that might arise.  The Projet Manager/Service Manager was responsible for informing the S151Officer of any potential financial risk.

 

Councillor Joyce asked if there was a paper trail to the S151 officer in that she had been informed of the risk in accordance with the audit requirements.  In response, the Senior Policy and Performance Officer advised that discussions and internal meetings were held in relation to projects, capital investment, etc and to review documents such as project initiation documents, businesses cases and progress reports.  Notes were taken of the internal meetings and any specific issues highlighted and actions arising were included in the notes.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive suggested that the word “financial” be inserted before the word security on the third line of paragraph 7.5.1 and added that the Council’s Contract Standing and Financial Regulations set out the requirements before any budget was allocated and approved.  The Committee was advised that in relation to the Council’s Capital Programme, Cabinet approved the budget.  It was noted that the Council had a Project Board for Major Projects in place which monitored major projects and minutes were taken.  If a Service Manager raised a financial concern it would be discussed at Management Team and that minutes were taken and actions recorded.

 

In relation to the NWES loan, Councillor Pope commented that in his opinion the Borough Council had carried all the risk.  He referred to the Cabinet meeting on 14 September 2016 when a further loan was requested to mitigate a cash flow shortfall and outlined the questions he raised at that meeting on the proposed arrangements for the repayment of the loan and the terms of the proposed loan.

 

In response to questions raised by Councillor Pope regarding the NWES/KLIC internal audit review, the Leader, Councillor Long  ...  view the full minutes text for item A59

A60

Record Retention and Disposal Policy Review - Final Report pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Policy and Performance Officer presented the final version of the report prior to it being taken forward to Cabinet in March 2019.

 

Members were reminded that a draft version of the report was presented to the Committee in November 2018.  It was noted that there were some modifications to the retention schedule at Appendix B.

 

Councillor Dark referred to page 61, 1.31 retention of promotional or campaign events being kept for a period of 3 years.  He commented that this seemed to be a short timescale, bearing in mind the Administration was for 4 years and that Members may wish to look back on decisions/information. 

 

Councillor Kunes concurred with the comments made by Councillor Dark.

 

The Senior Policy and Performance Officer undertook to feed the above comment back to the relevant Service Manager.

 

Under Standing Order 34, Councillor Joyce addressed the Committee.  He referred to page 47, paragraph 4.1 – Elected members are responsible for overseeing effective management by the officers of the council and promoting adherence to this policy and the support framework, etc.  Councillor Joyce asked when were the Committee Clerk’s notes destroyed, before or after the minutes were agreed at the next meeting.  Councillor Joyce referred to a Freedom of Information request when the response had been that the Committee Clerk’s notes had been destroyed prior to the approval of the minutes at the next meeting..

 

The Committee debated the above issue.  The Chairman, Councillor Middleton proposed that legal advice be sought from Eastlaw on the legal requirement for destruction of Committee Clerk’s notes and who approved the final minutes.

 

Councillor Smith referred to page 63, corporate complaints and ?? in the numbers box.  The Senior Policy and Performance Officer advised that it was a living document which would be populated in due course.  The Deputy Chief Executive suggested that the ?? be amended to read “under review-.”

 

RESOLVED:  1) The Panel approved the final version of the report prior to being presented to Cabinet in March 2019.

 

2) Legal advice be sought from Eastlaw on the legal requirement for the destruction of Committee Clerk’s notes and approval of the minutes.

A61

Update on progress with the Annual Governance Statement covering the 2018/2019 year pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Policy and Performance Officer reminded Members that at the Audit Committee meeting in July 2018 Members approved the Council’s Annual Governance Statement covering and reflecting back on the 2017/18 financial year.

 

It was explained that during 2015/16 it had been agreed that the committee should receive an update on the progress being made with the action plan arising from the Annual Governance Statement.

 

The report provided that update in relation to the action plan for 2018/19.

 

There were no questions or comments from the Committee.

 

RESOLVED:  The Committee noted the progress report with the Council’s Annual Governance Statement arrangements.

 

A62

Committee Work Programme 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To note the Committee’s Work Programme for 2018/2019.

Minutes:

The Chairman, Councillor Middleton advised the Committee that the Financial Services Manager who would deliver the Treasury management training would be leaving the authority before the next meeting and therefore proposed that the training be deferred, which was agreed by the Committee.

 

The Chairman outlined the amendments to the work programme.

 

The monitoring of the Major Housing scheme would be discussed at the next sifting meeting.

A63

Date of Next Meeting

To note that the date of the next meeting of the Audit Committee will take place on Monday 11 March 2019 at 5 pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Audit Committee would be held on 11 March 2019 at 5 pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn.