Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Audit Committee (ceased to operate 21/05/2019) Minutes

Date:
Monday, 1st December, 2014
Time:
4.00pm
Place:
Conference Room 2, Second Floor, Municipal Buildings, Church Road, Stockton on Tees
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Barry Woodhouse(Chairman), Cllr Ross Patterson(Vice-Chairman), Cllr Derrick Brown, Cllr Phillip Dennis, Cllr Terry Laing
Officers:
Andrew Barber, Derek MacDonald, Tony Montague, Martin Skipsey(RES), Rob Smithson, Sarah Whaley(LD)
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Alan Lewis, Cllr Mick Moore, Cllr David Wilburn,
Item Description Decision
Public
A
25/14
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
A
26/14
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
RESOLVED that the declarations of interest be noted.
A
27/14
MINUTES FROM THE MEETING WHICH WAS HELD ON THE 29TH SEPTEMBER 2014.
RESOLVED that the minutes be approved and signed as a correct record.
A
28/14
EXTERNAL AUDIT - PROGRESS REPORT
RESOLVED that the item be deferred.
A
29/14
EXTERNAL AUDIT - ANNUAL LETTER
RESOLVED that the item be deferred.
A
30/14
INTERNAL AUDIT PROGRESS REPORT
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
A
31/14
CORPORATE RISK REGISTER
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
A
32/14
HEALTH AND SAFETY REPORT
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
A
33/14
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEE (FOR DISCUSSION)
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
A
34/14
WORK PROGRAMME 2014/15
RESOLVED that the Work Programme be noted.
4.00pm - 4.30pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
A
25/14
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
A
26/14
Councillor Philip Dennis declared a personal non-prejudicial interest in relation to item 7 'Internal Audit Progress Report' as he was a School Governor for Egglescliffe Primary School.

Councillor Barry Woodhouse declared a personal non-prejudicial interest in relation to item 7 'Internal Audit Progress Report' as he was a School Governor for Oakdene Primary School.
A
27/14
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 29th September 2014 for Approval and Signature.
A
28/14
Members agreed to defer the External Audit Progress Report as there was no representation from MAZARS.
A
29/14
Members agreed to defer the External Audit Annual Letter as there was no representation from MAZARS.
A
30/14
Consideration was given to a report on the work carried out by the Internal Audit Section and the progress made against the audit plan 2014/2015.

Internal Audit was an independent appraisal function established by the Council to objectively examine, evaluate and report on the adequacy of internal controls. This role ensured that there was proper economic, efficient and effective use of resources. It also ensured that the Council had adequate accounting records and control systems.

The attached update report showed the current position in respect of the progress against the 2014/2015 audit plan and the results of the work that had been undertaken.

Members heard that the Audit Plan may need to be considered for review as the Audit Team were 5.7 days over where they should be, however in the main progress was positive, and there had been no 3 star recommendations since the last report which was presented in September 2014.

In response to Members' questions it was explained that the Audit taking place in schools included HR systems, Schools Financial Values Standard (SFVS), qualifications, finances, planning and asset management checks. The Audit conclusions would be reported to the School's head teachers and the chair of governors. Areas where recommendations were common included the lack of updates to policies, Risk Registers and financial skills matrices.
A
31/14
Members were asked to consider and note the Corporate Risk Register Progress Report.

The Committee was reminded that quarterly reports on the Corporate Risk Register were presented for the purpose of reviewing the key risks that had been identified as having the potential to deflect services from achieving their objectives over the next 12 months and beyond. They also set out the actions being taken to ensure that the risks, and possible adverse outcomes, were minimised.

The interim report covered the period 1 July to 30 September 2014. All Service Groups had been contacted subsequently and the returns indicated that there had been two new risks added and one risk removed from the Corporate Risk Register. In addition there had been some minor updating to the risks previously included on the Authority's risk register over the months in question. The changes comprised a general update to all risks to reflect ongoing progress.

As a result the total number of significant risks in the Corporate Risk Register at the end of Quarter 2 was 12.

For the purposes of record, the changes referred to above had been incorporated in the latest version of the full Corporate Risk Register. This was available in Appendix A.

Members attention was drawn to the new risks associated with the Care Act 2014 which included People, Political Reputation, Financial, Social and Legal risk which carried a risk score of 16 in Quarter 2. It was highlighted that there was significant risk associated with cost and difficulty around Adult Social Care placements especially those placements where individuals had learning difficulty.

It was highlighted that the risk associated with cost and difficulty around Adult Social Care placements especially those placements where individuals had learning difficulty had reduced as a result of implementing actions in the Adult Big Ticket Review and had been removed off the Corporate Risk Register.

The Committee briefly discussed the other new risk associated with 'Workforce resilience across the Council'. Although there had been a reduction in the workforce there was still a requirement to continue to deliver the Councils Services.
A
32/14
Members were presented with the Health and Safety Report - Q2. The Health and Safety Manager presented the report to the Committee which detailed the services provided by the Council's Health and Safety Unit to monitor, improve and to ensure compliance of the health, safety and well-being control environment during the period 1st July 2014 to the 30th September 2014. The report encapsulated the regular, non responsive activity of the Health and Safety Unit including the following:-

1. Health and Safety Training
2. Health and Wellbeing Referral Update
3. Accidents
4. Physical Assaults Reported
5. Verbal Assaults Reported
6. Premises Audited
7. Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007(CDM) Activity
8. School's Educational Residential Visits
9. Employee Protection Register Activity
10. Tendering Contractor Health and Safety Policy appraisal.
11. Regulatory update

An Addendum to the Health and Safety Report was tabled at the meeting. This provided a breakdown of accidents for the different Council Services.

Members noted the increase in accidents compared with the previous quarter and the same period the previous year. It was confirmed there was no trend or correlation in the data to explain the increase. Regular training had been given on manual handling with refresher training provided.

Guidance had been issued to assist schools in providing adequate support for pupils at school with medical conditions, including access to training in the administration of prescribed medications.
A
33/14
Members' received the 'Annual Report for the Audit Committee' at the meeting, which informed members of the work of the Audit Committee during the past year and the sources of information upon which the enclosed Audit Committee opinion statement was based.

The Chair requested that if any Members had any questions or issues they wished to raise on the Annual Report they should email him the details.
A
34/14
Consideration was given to the Work Programme 2014/15.

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