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Your Councillors


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

Contact: Debbie Snook  01622 602030

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

64.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Vizzard.

 

65.

Notification of Substitute Members

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that Councillor Cox was substituting for Councillor Vizzard.

 

66.

Notification of Visiting Members

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no Visiting Members.

 

67.

Disclosures by Members and Officers

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.

 

68.

Disclosures of Lobbying

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of lobbying.

 

69.

Exempt Items

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the items on the agenda be taken in public as proposed.

 

70.

Minutes of the meeting held on 16 January 2017 pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 January 2017 be approved as a correct record and signed subject to the amendment of the tenth bullet point on page 4 to read:

 

The commercialisation agenda was now focused on housing, commercial property and regeneration having regard to lessons learned and appropriate mitigation.

 

Note: Councillor Garland entered the meeting after consideration of this item (6.36 p.m.).  Councillor Garland indicated that he had nothing to declare in terms of interests or lobbying.

 

71.

Internal Audit & Assurance Plan 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Audit Partnership setting out the Internal Audit and Assurance Plan 2017/18, including the proposed assurance projects list.

 

The Head of Audit Partnership advised the Committee that:

 

·  The Internal Audit and Assurance Plan reflected the results of the planning process which began late last year to consider the appropriate audit response to the risks and challenges facing the Council over 2017/18.  The aim of the Internal Audit Service was to work towards delivering a robust opinion on the Council’s internal controls, risk and governance arrangements.  The Plan represented the programme by which the Service intended to examine these risks, review project work in 2017/18 and provide additional governance support whilst working towards delivering that opinion and supporting the Council’s wider governance aims.

 

·  The Plan included the level of resources available to the Internal Audit Service for completing audit plans across the four Partnership authorities in 2017/18.  Based on anticipated personnel and productivity within the Service, it was expected that 1,820 days would be available.  This was an increase of 110 days (7%) on 2016/17 and reflected a settled team in 2017/18, a continued increase in productivity as trainees gained experience and the over-performance of management time against forecasts for 2016/17.

 

·  As agreed by the Shared Service Board in late 2014, the total days were allocated between the partners in line with their financial contribution to the Partnership’s costs.  The total Mid-Kent Audit Service share to Maidstone in 2017/18 was 530 days, an increase of 30 days from the 2016/17 level.

 

·  As Head of Audit Partnership, he was required to consider whether the level of resources available was adequate to allow him to complete the programme of work, and he was satisfied that it provided the appropriate level of resources.  As part of that consideration, he had looked at the number of audit days across the 42 district councils in South East England and he was satisfied that the level of resources available was not inconsistent with those Councils that shared characteristics with Maidstone.

 

·  The Plan also covered some of the broader governance tasks to be undertaken such as risk management, counter fraud, supporting Members, including the provision of Member training and briefings on areas of Committee interest, and work on audit planning.  The Service was looking at expanding its role with respect to supporting the Council’s counter fraud arrangements in 2017 driven by forthcoming changes to the CIPFA Counter Fraud Standards.

 

·  The Plan included details of the risk assessment process resulting in a working list of potential projects to consult on with Senior Officers.  That consultation had led to the production of the list of audit assurance projects included in the Plan.  For each project there was an indication of how many days of staff input it was estimated would be appropriate to complete the work.  This would be determined in more detail when the Service started to scope out the work in consultation with the Officers nearer the time that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.

72.

External Audit Progress Report March 2017 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Darren Wells presented the report of the External Auditor on the progress to date against the 2016/17 audit plan.  The report also provided a summary of emerging national issues and developments of relevance to the local government sector.

 

Members thanked Mr Wells for a clear and well-presented report.

 

RESOLVED:  That the External Auditor’s progress report, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, be noted.

 

73.

External Auditor's Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Darren Wells presented the External Auditor’s audit plan for ensuring the delivery of the financial statements audit opinion and value for money conclusion by the statutory deadline of 30 September 2017.  The report included details of the significant risks identified, the concept of materiality, the results of the work undertaken to date and the anticipated audit fee.

 

Members thanked Mr Wells for a clear and concise report.

 

RESOLVED:  That the External Auditor’s Audit Plan for the year ending 31 March 2017, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, be noted.

 

74.

Budget Strategy Risk Assessment Update pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Finance and Business Improvement updating the risk assessment of the Budget Strategy. 

 

It was noted that the risk profile had been reviewed by the Finance Service with input from Internal Audit since it was last presented to the Committee in January 2017.  Most of the factors considered in the review had had no, or only marginal, implications for risk impact and likelihood.  The only exception was commercialisation where the risk was that the commercial activities currently being delivered and projected in the Medium Term Financial Strategy did not deliver the expected level of income.  The budget overspend on the Mote Park Café was now projected to be £197k, and the decision had been made to outsource the management of the Café from autumn 2017 to mitigate the risk.  Whilst mitigation measures were being put in place, for the time being it was considered appropriate to increase the risk likelihood score from 2 to 3 for commercialisation and this was reflected in the risk matrix and risk register.

 

In response to questions, the Director of Finance and Business Improvement explained that:

 

·  In terms of the risks associated with the delivery of savings, plans for delivering savings in 2017/18 would be reviewed early in the new financial year and the risks would be reassessed.

 

·  It should be recognised that risks were not usually discrete and there were inter-relationships between the risks.

 

·  There was a difference between setting and delivering a balanced budget and the risk register would be amended accordingly.  The Strategic Revenue Projections indicated a balanced budget position for the Council in 2017/18 and 2018/19 provided that all planned savings were delivered.  However, there was a shortfall between savings identified and savings required in the remaining three years of the five year budget planning period due to the “negative Revenue Support Grant” that the Government planned to levy on the Council in 2019/20 and uncertainty around future local government funding following the end of the current four year funding settlement from 2020/21 onwards.

 

·  The commercialisation agenda was now focused on housing, commercial property and regeneration, and there was a better understanding of the skills available in-house and the areas where it was necessary to bring in outside expertise.  For example, consultants were being used to procure a contractor for the Mote Park Adventure Zone.

 

·  Whilst the Internal Audit and Assurance Plan 2017/18 included a review of the Council’s contract management arrangements, measures were being put in place to achieve minimum standards for contract management.

 

During the discussion on this item, it was suggested and agreed that, to provide assurance, an update should be provided at a future meeting of the Committee on the minimum standards to be adhered to by contract managers as a regulatory regime, together with examples.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the updated risk assessment of the Budget Strategy, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, be noted.

 

2.  That the risk  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Committee Work Programme 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the programme of work which had been undertaken during 2017/18.  It was noted that the Employment Committee had requested that a report be submitted to a future meeting evaluating the costs/benefits of the Investors in People Accreditation, and the findings could be shared with this Committee.

 

RESOLVED:  That the position be noted.

 

76.

Duration of Meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.30 p.m. to 7.35 p.m.

 

 

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