Agenda item


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The Senior Internal Auditor presented the report and explained that as a Local Authority the Council was not legally obliged to apply the provisions of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.  However, it was explained that as a responsible public body, the Borough Council who do not undertake any such regulated activities should employ policy policies and procedures which reflect the essence of the UK’s anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering regimes.


The Panel was informed of the key changes set out in the supplement published on Mod Gov.


Members’ attention was drawn to the key issues set out in the report and advised that this was a policy review to replace the current Anti-Money Laundering Policy which was formally approved on 21 April 2020.


The Chair thanked the Senior Internal Auditor for the report and invited those Members attending under Standing Order 34 to address the Panel.


Under Standing Order 34, Councillor Kemp asked which Directorates received training and how often it was updated.  In response, the Senior Internal Auditor explained that the next step would be to carry out an assessment to help inform and understand the areas of the organisation and which officers would require training.


The Chair invited the Panel to ask questions/make comments, a summary of which is set out below.


Councillor Long welcomed the revision of the policy and the opportunity to scrutinise the proposed changes.


In response to comments made by Councillor Nash on Councillor involvement to enable an oversight of the policy, the Senior Internal Auditor advised that he was not aware of any Councillor involvement.


Councillor Nash asked if it was possible to amend the policy to include Councillor involvement.  In response, the Monitoring Officer outlined the legal process and undertook to review the request with the Senior Internal Auditor the following day.


The Chair, Councillor Dark commented that there was reliance on staff to report anything unusual and asked if officers were confident that this message was conveyed to staff that the matter could be pushed further up the chain if on any occasion they felt uncomfortable and that the proper level of training would be given.  In response, the Senior Internal Auditor explained that there were plans in place to ensure the required arrangements were put in place.  It was the Council’s intention to liaise with the Norfolk Fraud Hub and for the Borough Council to lead for Norfolk.


Following further questions from the Chair, the Senior Internal Auditor explained that the Council was liaising with another local authority in the UK who already had the training arrangements, etc in place.


Councillor Nash further commented on how staff could raise an issue and asked how Councillors could be assured that the policy was safe without any Member involvement.  In response, the Senior Internal Auditor drew attention to the flow chart in the report which set out the criteria and the steps staff could take.


In response to further comments from Councillor Nash regarding any financial risk to the council, for example fly tipping, the Monitoring Officer explained that this was a separate issue.


Councillor Nash proposed an amendment to the Policy to include Member involvement which was seconded by Councillor Devulapalli.


Councillor Long commented that he could see the point Councillor Nash was making but did not want the Council to build this element into a policy which could jeopardise a case.


Councillor Nash concurred with the comments made by Councillor Long and stated did not wish to prejudice ay case but reiterated the importance of Councillor involvement.


The Chair, Councillor Dark stated that he understood the concern raised by Councillor Nash but added officers who had been professionally trained to deal with such matters often had to act quickly and did not wish to slow the process down if there was Councillor involvement.


The Chair invited the Portfolio Holder for Finance to address the Panel.


The Portfolio Holder for Finance explained that the anti-fraud process dovetailed with this policy and highlighted the importance of the Council complying with legislation.


Councillor Nash stated that he was not satisfied with the response given and made reference to the Council’s Whistleblowing policy.


The Chair referred the Panel to the proposal by Councillor Nash to amend the policy to include Councillor involvement, which had been seconded by Councillor Devulapalli.


The Panel voted on the above amendment which was lost (4 For, 7 Against, no abstentions).


RESOLVED:  The Panel supported the recommendation to Cabinet as set out below:


a)            Approval for this Policy to be put forward to Cabinet and Full Council for formal adoption.


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