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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: Deborah Foulkes  Committee Officer

Items
No. Item

12.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Marc Jones and Sonia Benbow-Jones.

 

13.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 30th May 2019.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 30th May were submitted.

 

Matters Arising:

 

Draft Statement of Accounts Report (COFI/58/19) Minute No.6 page 5:

 

 It was confirmed that the overall Summary of information was detailed in Appendix one and the Chair of the Audit Committee had been briefed on the clarification request in respect to the performance of Wrexham Commercial Services.

 

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT confirmed that the Accounts for the Commercial Services had been emailed to all members prior to the Executive Board on the 23rd July 2019.  At that meeting members of the Board agreed to dissolve the company as from 31 December 2019 and to deliver the service in house from 1 January 2020.

 

Internal Audit Interim Report: February to March 2019 Minute number 9 page 7: 

 

The Chair of the Audit Committee had also been briefed about the clarification request in respect to the Project Management Handbook being used across the whole of the council.

 

The project management compliance issues relating to Tŷ  Pawb was being addressed by the Performance and Project Management team. Internal Audit are carrying out an audit of Project Management, the results of which will be reported to the Audit Committee on 22 September 2019.

 

 

 

RESOLVED -

(i)            That the Minutes of the meeting held on 30th May 2019 be signed as a correct record.

 

14.

Declarations of personal interests, if any

Members are reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare the existence and nature of any personal interest in respect of any of the business to be transacted at this meeting

Minutes:

Councillor Dana Davies had given notice of her intention to declare a personal and not prejudicial interest in respect of Agenda Item 6 – Ysgol Morgan Llwyd.  The Councillor was a parent of a pupil that attended the School.

 

15.

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. Members had indicated previously 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.

 

16.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT.

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted an updated Work Programme, and advised that there had been two items that related to Risk and Control  that 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.

 

It was noted that a Wales Audit Office (WAO) Work Shop for the Audit Committee had been planned for Autumn. The Chief Officer Finance & ICT confirmed that the arrangements were in hand and a representative from the WAO would be facilitating it. The Financial Audit Director for the WAO confirmed that he would progress the matter.

 

The Chair of the Audit Committee informed Members that he would be attending all-Wales Chairs of Audit Committee Network Meeting on 11 October and he would be looking to obtain examples of Good audit practice from it.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(i)            That the Work Programme be noted.

 

(ii)          The date for the Wales Audit Office work-shop to be agreed.

17.

Statement of Accounts 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted a report (COFI/58/19) to approve the Authority’s Statement of Accounts for the financial year 2018/19.  A copy of the Statement of Accounts was submitted at Appendix 2 to the report (COFI/58/19).

 

The Head of Service Accountancy introduced the report and reminded Members that the Audit Committee had considered the Statement of Accounts for the 2018/19 financial year at its meeting held on 30th May 2019.  As a consequence of more accurate information being made available to officers and issues raised at audit, a number of adjustments had been made to the accounts, which had been agreed by the External Auditor and these were set out in Appendix 1 to the report. A copy of the Wales Audit Office Audit of the Financial Statements Report was submitted at Appendix 4 of the report. WAO require representations for the accounts of which the Final Letter of Representation can be found in Appendix 3.

 

The Head of Service Accountancy then highlighted and explained the adjustments and amendments to the accounts, as agreed by the External Auditor.

 

The Financial Audit Manager - Wales Audit Office (WAO) reported that the WAO’s key issues were summarised in the ‘Audit of Financial Statements Report’ submitted at Appendix 4 and it was the Audit General’s intention to issue an unqualified audit report on the financial statements.  He thanked the Chief Officer Finance & ICT and his team for preparing the financial statement to a high standard. It was the first year for Governance in Wrexham, and officers had worked together with the WAO in respect to the McCloud judgement. It was pleasing to note that the Accounts were submitted early.

 

Members then raised the following matters in respect of the Statement of Accounts.

 

Notes to Accounts

 

Note 3 Assumptions made about the future and other sources of estimation uncertainty: The Head of Service Accountancy provided an explanation to the Property, Plant and Equipment item and the Impairment Allowance for doubtful debts Item.

 

Note 14 Officers’ Remuneration cont’d: The Chief Officer Finance & ICT confirmed that the exit package that totalled £379k related to a remuneration package for one Executive Director.  The amount was in line with the terms and conditions and the amount had been agreed at full Council.  The majority of the cost was in respect of pension benefits.

 

Note 23 Commitments Under Capital Contracts: A Member queried about the Redwither Tower Roof Renewal amount.  In response the Head of Service Accountancy explained that the work had commenced and the council was committed to pay the contractor to complete the work. 

 

Notes to Audit of Financial Statements Report

Note 17 Post Project Learning (PPL): WAO intended to hold a post project learning (PPL) with the finance officers in the Council following completion of the audit with the aim of agreeing an action plan to develop team working in 2019-20.  A Member requested more information on what the PPL involved and feedback on results from it. Mr Richard Harries, the Financial Audit Manager  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Internal Audit - Counter Fraud Annual Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Finance & ICT submitted a report (COFI/50/19) to enable consideration to be given to the Counter Fraud Report 2018/19.

 

The Audit Lead introduced the report and gave an overview of the counter fraud arrangements in place to mitigate the risk of fraud within the Council. The report included information on national trends, assessed the effectiveness of the Council’s counter fraud arrangements and summarised the incidence of fraud at the Council for 201819. The inherent risk of fraud was high and the controls that the Council had in place was currently considered to be proportionate to the risk but would continue to be subject to ongoing review in accordance with the Council’s Counter Fraud Strategy, and improved where necessary.  There was a need to continue to work with other agencies, including those to which the Council refers allegations or suspected frauds.  It was stressed that good governance and the application of effective financial controls was fundamental to counter fraud activity.

 

During consideration of the report Members raised the following points in particular:

 

Notes to Reported Fraud at WCBC 2018-19:

 

·      Paragraph 4.3 noted that there had been two falsified cheques by persons unknown, outside of the Council, both of which had been identified and no financial loss had occurred.  One cheque for £3,405.34 had been amended to £48,405.34 by the fraudster in favour of a different payee. The Head of Service – Audit and Technical gave assurance that the fraud would have been picked up on the bank reconciliation process.  He explained the importance of the bank reconciliation being up to date and made note that providing that the Council had not done anything negligent then the bank would incur the costs that relate to a fraud.

·      The Chief Finance and ICT Officer explained the bank reconciliation system to the Committee and provided assurance that the Council’s bank reconciliation was carried out on a monthly basis and was up to date.

 

Notes to the Main Fraud Types of Fraud Risk – Nationally and at Wrexham CBC:

 

·      Paragraph 3.4 identified that there was no information on fraud types for the Welsh public sector. A Member enquired if the WAO was finding it difficult to collect National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data in order to measure the fraud against.  The Financial Audit Manager - WAO acknowledged this risk and said that he shared concern about the lack of information concerning fraud in the Welsh Public Sector and also that the changes resulting from the transfer of Benefit fraud investigation from councils to the Department for Work and Pensions from 2014 had resulted in some loss of skills in councils.  The Head of Service Audit & Technical advised that the numbers and value of fraud were important but details of how frauds were committed was of more importance as this allowed information to be shared amongst public sector organisations and more proactive controls could then be implemented.

 

Notes to the Reported Fraud at WCBC 2018/19

 

·      Paragraph 4.6 to 4.10. observed that the benefit fraud there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Audit Committee - Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 769 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Finance and ICT.

 

Minutes:

The Chief Finance and ICT Officer submitted a report (COFI/54/19) to enable consideration to be given to the Service Manager – Audit’s Annual Report 2018/19.

 

The Chair of the Audit Committee introduced the report (COFI/54/19)  and made note that the Annual Report submitted at Appendix 1 to the report, was to provide evidence that the Audit Committee meets the requirements of its Terms of Reference in that it can be held accountable by Full Council for its performance.

 

The Annual Report set out how the Audit Committee had met its Terms of Reference including details of topics considered and training and development undertaken during the year.  In particular, the Chair provided examples of joint scrutiny work and made reference to the Environment Enforcement and the Tŷ Pawb and the Internal Audit report which had both been referred to Scrutiny Committee for consideration.  The Audit Committee continued to have a good relationship with Scrutiny Committees and the Chair confirmed that he continued to attend the Scrutiny Chair Co-ordinating Committee on a regular basis.  He highlighted that the Audit Committee attendance ratio had decreased to 65.8% (Table 1- Audit Committee Meetings 2018/19) and it was a concern because the Committee was a projection to the public and therefore Members’ attendance was important.

 

Members welcomed the report (COFI/54/19) and a Member enquired how the Committee received feedback from the WAO in relation to the effectiveness of the Committee. The Chief Finance & ICT confirmed that it would be fed back via the workshop to be held in the Autumn.

 

Resolved – that the Audit Committee recommends the Chair of the Audit Committee’s Annual report 2018/19 to Full Council.