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Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee
Thursday, 28th March, 2019 4.00 pm

With effect from 1 April 2016 Agenda and Minutes will be available in both Welsh and English. Reports are working documents and produced in English only in accordance with Welsh Language Standard 41 of this Council’s Final Compliance Notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Guildhall

Contact: Ken Bickerton  Committee Officer

Items
No. Item

43.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Trevor Bates, Sonia Benbow-Jones, Marc Jones and Rondo Roberts.

44.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 28 February 2019

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 28 February 2019 be signed as a correct record.

45.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted an updated Work Programme. 

 

RESOLVED – That the Work Programme be noted.

46.

Risk and Control Registers pdf icon PDF 392 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/24/19) which informed the Committee of the Council’s significant risks and how they are managed.  

 

The Audit Lead introduced the report and reminded Members that the Council’s Risk Management Policy requires the Council to have formal arrangements in place for managing strategic and operational risks.   Risk and Control Registers are kept for the Council’s principal risks and for each department.  Extracts from these Risk and Control Registers as at 28 February 2019 were attached to the report.

 

During consideration of the report Members raised a number of concerns which Officers responded to accordingly.  In particular, further background was provided around some of the risks that remained high/very high and the actions currently being taken to mitigate against those risks.

 

The following points were also raised:

 

·         In response to a Member question, the Audit Lead confirmed that risks shown as ‘closed’ have been closed since the previous update report and are shown to enable, if necessary, questions to be asked concerning the reasons for them being closed, and that they are not included in future update reports,

·         A Member referred to the limited information provided on ‘red’ risks within the register.  It was suggested by one Member that information relating to the previous 6 month period should be included within the report. It was clarified that the Trend arrow in the register showed the direction of travel for each risk between the reports.

·         The Audit Lead confirmed that some of the risks within the registers would be re-allocated in line with the new departmental structure which comes into effect on 1 April 2019.  It was noted that, for example, the risks for the  ICT service would be transferred to the Finance and ICT Department under the new structure.

·         Concern from one Member that a number of the listed key policies, strategies and plans shown in the Principal Risk Register may have been out of date.  The Audit Lead confirmed that clarification would be sought from the appropriate Chief Officers as to which documents are still current and which are being reviewed and the register adjusted as necessary showing the relevant review dates, 

·         Annual challenge sessions are held between risk management officers and each Chief Officer to consider each departmental risk and control register.

·         Enhanced governance arrangements were now in place in respect of health and safety.

 

AGREED -  That the contents of the attached risk and control register extracts be noted and Chief Officers be requested to update the Principal Risk Register going forward, with details of which policies, strategies and plans are current, which are under review and review dates.

47.

Internal Audit Charter 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/25/19) allowing Members to approve the Wrexham Internal Audit Charter for 2019/20.  

 

During consideration of the report, the following points were noted, in particular:

 

·         Members sought assurances that the right level of resources were available to deliver the Charter including the Audit Plan given the current number of high risk priorities.  The Service Manager – Audit & Technical confirmed that he had taken account of the work required based on the number of staff available and was confident that the Charter including the Audit Plan could be delivered.

·         Any changes to or delays in terms of the delivery of the Audit Plan would be reported to the Committee as part of the regular Internal Audit Interim Reports.

·         The member of staff with no Internal Audit qualifications was undertaking work under the direction and supervision of Senior Auditors and / or Audit Leads and all work was checked to ensure compliance with the Quality Standards..  Any expression of interest to gain a relevant qualification would be supported subject to there being available funding.  . 

·         Members supported the new “Amber” level of assurance which provided a greater degree of clarity on the levels of assurance.

 

AGREED – That the Internal Audit Charter 2019-20 be approved.

48.

Annual Governance Statement 2018 - Action Plan pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/23/19) which informed the Audit Committee of reported progress on the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) 2018 Action Plan.

 

The Audit Lead introduced the report and reminded Members that both the AGS and Action Plan had been agreed by the Audit Committee in 2018.  He advised that it had been agreed that ongoing monitoring would take place via an Officers’ Group to ensure that actions were effective.  It was also noted that progress reports were also submitted regularly to SLT. 

 

During consideration of the report Officers responded to Members’ questions accordingly.  In particular they provided further information on the progress being made on a number of actions in the report.

 

The following points were also noted:

 

  • Whilst four actions within the plan were shown as delayed, this did not indicate that serious weaknesses were not being addressed
  • The actions for Service Continuity and Emergency Planning were delayed because of the need for testing – including text exercises to carry out jointly with neighbouring north Wales authorities to share best practice.
  • Service Continuity plans were in place for all of  WCBC’s Departments
  • Sickness reporting was in place via monitoring reports and statistic analysis.  However, a more automated arrangement would be implemented in the near future.

 

In regard to action concerning the Welsh Language, a Member advised that the Customers, Performance, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee receive regular reports on complaints and consider those regarding the Welsh Language.

 

AGREED – That the Audit Committee notes the progress reported on the Annual Governance Statement action plan.

49.

Wales Audit Office Grant Audit 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/19/19) providing feedback on the Wales Audit Office Grant Audit work in relation to grants claimed in 2017/18.

 

The Head of Finance advised that whilst a great deal of work had taken place the reduction in amounts claimable by the Authority in respect of 2017-18 was low.

 

The Audit Manager (WAO) confirmed that ten grant claims were certified for 2017-18.  Members requested further information on a number of summary observations/issues which the Audit Manager duly provided.

 

During discussion the following points were noted:

 

·         Confirmation that some service providers submitted manual journey entries with regards to free concessionary travel rather than using the Smartcard technology.

·         Confirmation that the Non Domestic Rates (NNDR) issue was in respect of a single property and had been inherited from Wrexham Maelor.

·         Housing benefit subsidies can be recovered by the department of work and pensions.

 

AGREED – That the report be noted.

 

 

 

 

 

50.

Wales Audit Office Plan 2019 pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/32/19) providing Members with a copy of the Wales Audit Office Audit Plan 2019.

 

The Performance Audit Lead (WAO) introduced the report and drew Members attention in particular to the performance audit programme and provided additional information where required.

 

During discussion, the following points were noted, in particular:

 

·         Members welcomed the opportunity to attend a self assessment workshop to share best practice in the near future.

·         In responding to a Member concern around the General ledger risk, officers confirmed that the issue related to the lack of automatic audit trail followings amendments to the leger.  It was stressed that there had been no issues with regards to transactions.  A report had now been created to provide an audit trail.

 

AGREED - The Wales Audit Office Audit Plan 2019 be noted.