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AUDIT GOVERNANCE AND STANDARDS COMMITTEE

15 January 2018

 

Annual Governance Statement Update

 

Final Decision-Maker

Audit Governance and Standards Committee

Lead Head of Service

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Lead Officer and Report Author

Angela Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Classification

Public

 

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

 

This report provides an update on the progress with the Annual Governance Statement actions.

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That the Annual Governance Statement update be noted.

 

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Audit Governance and Standards Committee

15 January 2018



Annual Governance Statement Update

 

 

 

1.       INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

1.1     The Annual Statement of Corporate Governance for 2016-17 was considered by the Committee on 26 June 2017. The statement contained an Action Plan for 2017-18.  This report provides an update on the progress made with the Action Plan.

 

1.2   The actions in the plan arose from areas identified in the corporate governance statement as requiring additional action and assurance.

 

 

2.        AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

2.1     The Committee could decide not to consider the action plan. Considering the action plan is however a key part of the Committee’s governance remit.

 

3.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

3.1     The Committee is asked to consider the updated action plan attached at Appendix A and make recommendations for further action as appropriate.

 

Areas of Action

 

3.2              A number areas were identified for action including:

 

·   Engaging with local people

·   Member and Officer Relationships

·   Risk Management

·   Decision Making

·   Information Management

·   Contract Management

·   Audit Reviews with weak assurance in 2016-17

 

3.3              Action has been taken in all areas identified as set out in Appendix A.

 

3.4     A resident survey was undertaken in the summer covering the Council’s priorities, budget, what people thought about the Council, where they live and our services. The survey results have been used to inform strategic planning. A workshop with Councillors is planned in February as part of the process of updating the communication and engagement strategy in March. Two editions of the council’s new in-house magazine “Borough Insight” have been issued this year to all households in the borough.

 

3.5     Work has continued on Risk Management with workshops on the risk appetite and regular updates on the risk register.

3.6     A new report template has been introduced to improve the quality of Decision Making.  Reports and workshops were held with officers on the new template including guidance on committee meetings and procedures.

 

 

3.7     Information Management continues to be a priority for the council with the new General Data Protection Regulation due to come into force on 25 May 2018.  The Council has appointed a Data Protection Officer as required and the Policy and Information team have been carrying out lifecycle information audits to create an updated retention schedule with the additional information on purposes of processing as required under the regulation.

 

3.8     Action has been taken to raise the standard of Contract Management, including the appointment of a Contracts and Compliance Officer.

 

3.9     There were four audits rated as weak last year. Health and Safety and the Hazlitt have now been rated sound. All recommendations have now been completed regarding health and safety and only one recommendation is outstanding for the Hazlitt and the main concerns regarding contract management have been resolved. For the remaining two, all recommendations have now been completed for performance management and it will be assessed by Audit again shortly. For Park and Ride only one recommendation remains outstanding.  This relates to issues surrounding contract monitoring procedures and the assessment therefore remains weak.

 

 

 

4.       RISK

4.1  This report is presented for information only.  The annual review of corporate governance identified further action to be taken on risk management.

 

5.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

5.1     The Committee is invited to provide feedback on the progress with the action plan to date.

 

 

 

6.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

Effective corporate

governance arrangements

ensure the council’s priorities

are understood and delivered.

Head of Policy

Communications

and Governance

Risk Management

The AGS considers and gives

assurance on the Council’s

approach to risk

management.

Head of Policy

Communications

and Governance

Financial

This report has no direct financial implications.  Carrying out the actions identified in the AGS helps to ensure that the Council maintains high governance standards.

Section 151 Officer & Finance Team

Staffing

There are implications in relation

to training and information

management in the action plan for 2017-18.

Head of Policy

Communications

and Governance

Legal

There are no legal implications identified in the report.  The continuing review of the action plan means that measures are in place to ensure good governance arrangements which enable the Council to meet its statutory requirements.

Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership

Privacy and Data Protection

The action plan includes actions  in this area.

Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership

Equalities

Good governance ensures

the Council is adhering to the

public sector equality duty.

Policy & Information Manager

Crime and Disorder

N/A

Head of Policy

Communications

and Governance

Procurement

N/A

Head of Policy

Communications

and Governance

 

7.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

·         Appendix A: Annual Governance Statement Update

 

 

8.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

Audit, Governance and Standards Committee 26 June 2017 - Annual Review of Corporate Governance 2016-17

 

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