Agenda item


Click here to view a recording of this item on You Tube


The Corporate Performance Manager presented the report and explained that Members had considered different versions of the AGS over past committee meetings. 


The Committee was reminded that the AGS was a self-assessment document and reviewed by the external auditors and written around the framework of the Council’s Code of Governance (page 70).


The Corporate Performance Manager explained that the AGS was developed by drawing information from across the organisation, dialogue with senior officers, reading through the committee reports scheduled over the year, looking through external and internal communications and bringing in any ideas identified by the Audit Committee. 


It was highlighted that the document was currently in draft format and on page 90 there was a highlighted area (yellow) where several important audit documents had not yet been concluded and would be included in the final version.  There were two action plans – one drawn from the previous year AGS and those actions should have been delivered in the financial year 2021/22 and an action plan that looked forward a year which included progress updates and further updates on the most current position would be included in the final version.


The Chair commented that this was useful as a preview to the final document and this was an opportunity for Members to identify anything that was missing or needed to be addressed.


Councillor Morley made a number of comments in relation to key performance indicators, corporate risk register, corporate business plan and the disconnection of documents and that a lot more work could be undertaken on governance.  The Corporate Performance Manager noted the points made and would take on board the points made in the final version of the document.  The Corporate Performance Manager invited Councillor Morley to discuss the above points outside of the meeting.


Councillor Rust commented that several important audit documents had not been included but the Committee was invited review the draft Annual Governance Statement 2022 (as attached) and determine that the work undertaken to review the governance arrangements in place during the 2021/22 year was appropriate and that there no additional actions the committee would like to be taken to inform the final version of the document.  Councillor Rust stated that there were gaps and asked if there was a  a list of the audit documents that had not been included and that the Committee was not able to make a decision without all of the relevant information.  In response the Corporate Performance Manager explained that this was a challenge and some of the documents had not yet been prepared and gave an example of the Annual Audit Letter and that there was concern with slight timing misalignment.


The Chair added that the next meeting of the Audit Committee was February and there was a requirement for the AGS to be completed within the current financial year, was there a possibility that the Members could receive an interim statement together with the list of key points need to be added as a written interchange between Members or a sub-group of the Audit Committee to go through it as it was a key document.  In response, the Corporate Performance Manager agreed the proposal set out by the Chair.


Councillor Ryves expressed concern on the apparent anomaly in paragraph 12 of the Council’s Code of Governance areas of special interest, materiality and the ability for scrutiny of wholly companies not being very high.  The Chair asked if some of these things were below the threshold of direct interest to the external auditor perhaps the Council ought to use these as prompts to help the Internal Audit Team set their plan and drill down at that level.  The Internal Audit Manager explained that you would expect to find an element of auditing in the internal audit plan for wholly owned companies and that a paper had been presented to a recent Management Team meeting to understand the arrangements that might be required, planning would commence in January 2023 and in March 2023 the Committee should see a risk assessment around those processes.


The Chair added that the comments made were recorded and included in the minutes.


In response to questions from Councillor Morley on the Statement of Accounts 2020/21 regarding West Norfolk Property Limited the Assistant Director, Resources explained that West Norfolk Property was dormant until November 2020 so there would be some part transactions to take account of and undertook to look at how this would impact upon the Statement of Accounts.


Following a further question from Councillor Morley on the AGS not being included in the Statement of Accounts 2020/21, the Assistant Director reminded the Members  that the draft AGS was presented to the Committee on a number of occasions and when the final statement of accounts 19/20 were signed off in February/March, at that point the final AGS would come back to Committee and pick up any recommendations that came out of the audit process.


After a number of comments made by Members on the complex lengthy documents and the suggestion of considering individual groups to look at separate sections and report back to the Committee, the Chair undertook to discuss the points made with officers and the Committee on the most appropriate way forward.


The Chair thanked the Corporate Performance Manager for the report.


RESOLVED:  The Chair would discuss the comments made with both the Committee and officers on the most appropriate way forward to review the draft AGS 2021/22 prior to the final version of the document being brought to a future meeting of the committee.




Supporting documents: