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Agenda and minutes

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: Marie Russell  Committee Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chair

To invite nominations to appoint a Chair of the Committee for the forthcoming year.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That Jerry O’Keeffe (Independent Lay Member) be appointed Chair of the Audit Committee for the forthcoming year.

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

To invite nominations to appoint a Vice Chair of the Committee for the forthcoming year.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That Councillor Dana Davies be appointed Vice-Chair of the Audit Committee for the forthcoming year.

 

3.

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 362 KB

Attached for information only

Minutes:

A copy of the Audit Committee Terms of Reference was submitted for information.  The Chief Officer Finance & ICT confirmed that there had been no changes to the Terms of Reference as a result of the revised Constitution.  Officers advised that Members had previously indicated that it would be useful to have the document attached to the Agenda pack for each Meeting. 

 

RESOLVED – That the Audit Committee Terms of Reference be noted.

4.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 71 KB

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

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED - That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Audit Committee held on 28 March 2019 be signed as a correct record.

5.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT

 

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a proposed Work Programme for 2019, and advised that an item on the Statement of Accounts, and a report on the audit of the Accounts had been added to the schedule.  The Officer pointed out that it might be necessary to include other external audit reports as and when they were completed.

 

RESOLVED – That the Work Programme be noted.

6.

Draft Statement of Accounts 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted a report (COFI/40/19) to present the Council’s 2018/19 draft Statement of Accounts.

 

In introducing the report, the Head of Service, Accountancy, commented that the Accounts and Audit Regulations require the Council to prepare its Statement of Accounts in respect of the preceding financial year by 15 June.  Members are required to approve the accounts by 15 September after which they will be published.  However, as part of the early closure programme the 2018/19 accounts have been prepared a few weeks earlier than required and it is planned that the audit of the accounts will also be accelerated by two months so that the accounts can be brought back to the Committee for approval on 25 July and published before the end of July.  The audit of the accounts by the Wales Audit Office (WAO) had already started and from Monday 10 June through to Friday 5 July the accounts would be made available for public inspection.  After 8 July electors would be able to question the WAO on the accounts.

 

The Head of Service, Accountancy then explained that the Statement of Accounts are prepared in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA’s) Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the UK (referred to as the Code) and gave an overview of the Statement of Accounts section by section.  Members were reminded that the 2018/19 revenue outturn report had been considered by the Executive Board on 14 May 2019 and a summary of the outturn was included in a table on page 4 of the Narrative report.  An explanation was provided of the presentational and accounting adjustments made to produce the Expenditure & Funding Analysis and the Comprehensive Income & Expenditure Statement on pages 8 and 10 of the Accounts. 

 

During consideration of the draft Statement of Accounts Members sought clarification and commented upon the following matters in particular:

 

Narrative Report

 

·         3.7 Revenue Outturn for 2018/19 – The Service Manager – Accountancy confirmed that schools had an overspend which resulting in them having to draw from their balances. 

·         With reference to the HRA, the figures showed an expected deficit of £10k, but the actual deficit figure was £6k. 

·         It was noted that the Council Fund Reported Deficit of £298k was achieved by a net use of reserves of £347k.

·         10. Changes to the Core Statements – Members were advised of one significant change to the 2018/19 Code, namely the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 9 – Financial Instruments which has impacted on the value of the Council’s modified loans as at 1 April 2018.  It was explained that more than 10 years ago, the Council had replaced higher rate loans with lower rate loans, and as a consequence incurred a premium.  The previous Accounting Standard required the Council to remeasure the loans using an effective interest rate equal to the new loan rate whereas under IFRS9 the Council is required to remeasure the loans using the original loan rate.  This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Wales Audit Office: "Audit Enquiries to those Charged with Governance and Management" - Wrexham County Borough Council 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 368 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT

 

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted a report (COFI/34/19) asking Members to consider the response to the Wales Audit Office’s document: “Enquiries to those charged with governance and management – Wrexham County Borough Council 2018/19”.

 

During discussions of the report, clarification was sought in relation to the Finance & ICT Departmental Risk and Control Register, and the impact of potential litigations or claims on financial statements.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That the response to the Wales Audit Office’s document: “Enquiries to those charged with governance and management – Wrexham County Borough Council 2018/19” be approved.

 

(ii)        That the response be signed by the Chair of the Audit Committee and the Chief Officer Finance & ICT and subsequently submitted to the Wales Audit Office.

8.

Annual Governance Statement 2019 pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted a report (COFI/41/19) asking Members to approve the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for the year ending 31 March 2019 and the supporting Action Plan.

 

The Audit Lead introduced the report and commented that the purpose of the AGS was to provide assurance on the Council’s governance arrangements and the extent to which the Council has complied with its Governance Code.   A copy of the AGS for year ended 31 March 2019, which had been signed by the Leader and the Chief Executive as required, was attached at Appendix A to the report, along with the supporting plan which set out the actions required in 2019-20 will be monitored by officers and that progress will be reported to the Audit Committee.  Adding to the comments, Officers confirmed that ICT resources were stretched, and as a result, that area was considered high risk.

 

RESOLVED – That the Annual Governance Statement be approved.

9.

Internal Audit Interim Report: February 2019 to March 2019 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted a report (COFI/42/19) asking Members to consider the Head of Service, Audit and Technical’s Interim Report for February 2019 to March 2019.

 

Members raised a number of questions and concerns which were responded to by Officers.  During the discussion, the following points were raised:

 

·         A breakdown was provided of the 23 completed audits between the four levels of assurance and planned and unplanned work.

·         Acknowledgement that the findings and recommendations for each of the audits reported had been accepted by the relevant Chief Officer, and Action Plans detailing the required actions and dates of implementation had been provided.

·         Follow-up audits would be undertaken in the forthcoming months, and results of these would be reported to the Audit Committee in September.

·         Clarification sought regarding financial controls within Tŷ Pawb.  Officers pointed out that this was a scheduled audit, the overall aim of which was to establish the extent to which the aims and aspirations for Tŷ Pawb were supported by effective systems of financial control.  They advised that the audit did not identify any significant financial loss or error, but that the red level of assurance was due to a lack of awareness of some key financial controls and the need for compliance with the Financial Regulations, particularly concerning cash income, compliance with the Project Management Handbook, inventories and procurement.  An action plan to address the identified weaknesses was being agreed and a follow-up audit was to be brought forward and completed in time for the results to be reported to the Audit Committee in September.

·         Reassurance sought that the Project Management Handbook was continuing to be used by Departments.  Officers advised that they received regular emails regarding projects, but would seek confirmation that it was being used across the whole of the Authority.

·         Concern that there was no inventory of assets within Tŷ Pawb, which increased the risk that items could not be accounted for.

·         Suggestion that the concerns raised today should be brought to the attention of the Employment, Business and Investment Scrutiny Committee and also the Chief Executive.  Officers confirmed that the Chief Executive was aware of the issues and had supported actions to resolve the issues.

·         In respect of Tŷ Pawb, the Chair advised that he had been passed eight questions which had been received from a member of the public through Social Media asking for specific financial information.  He proposed that the questions be referred to the Employment, Business and Investment Scrutiny Committee as Tŷ Pawb was included in that Committee’s agenda for 13 June 2019.

·         Unease that financial procedure rules and the appointeeship policy and procedures were not being complied with in terms of service fee collection and managing third party funds.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That the report be noted; and

 

(ii)        That the results of audit of compliance with the Project Management Handbook be brought to the September meeting of this Committee.

 

(iii)       That the questions raised by a member of the public  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Internal Audit Annual Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted a report (COFI/43/19) asking Members to consider the Head of Service, Audit and Technical’s Annual Report 2018/19 as to the overall adequacy of the Council’s internal control environment.

 

The Head of Service Audit & Technical advised that he was able to give assurance to the Audit Committee and management that the Council’s control environment is generally effective in achieving the organisation’s objections but that Internal Audit’s audit work had identified that there are a number of qualifications to that opinion and these were listed in the report.  The officer recommendation that these should be considered for inclusion in the Annual Governance Statement 2018-19 or the associated Action Plan.

 

 

Members identified that the Finance Department was the subject of three Red Amber audit reports.  The Chief Officer advised that Finance was a heavily audited area, and an internal review system was in place which enabled issues/areas of concern to be highlighted.  Members collectively acknowledged that there were a number of major of projects ongoing, and highlighted the importance of focussing resources on areas of highest risk.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

11.

Wales Audit Office report - Well-being of Future Generations: An examination of 'Arts and cultural offer within Ty Pawb' pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted a report (COFI/37/19) to present the findings of a Wales Audit Office review of the Council’s consideration of its duties under the Well-being of Future Generations Act in developing Pawb.

 

During consideration of the report, Members acknowledged that whilst things could be done differently, overall it was a very positive report  The following points were highlighted:

 

·         Recognition of the short and long term potential benefits  Pawb could have on the arts, wellbeing and town centre regeneration.

·         The need to become financially sustainable and less reliant on grant funding.

·         Importance of ensuring that opportunities to contribute with other public bodies’ wellbeing objectives were identified.

·         Suggestion that Members have greater involvement through attending and promoting events at  Pawb.

·         Clarification sought in relation to the publication of  Pawb Advisory Board minutes.

·         Request that the agreed action plan be reported to Scrutiny.

 

RESOLVED – That the findings of the report and the action plan put in place in response to it, as detailed in report COFI/37/19, be noted.

 


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