Agenda and draft minutes

Audit and Standards Committee - Wednesday, 13th January, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Eric Dickinson  Democracy Officer


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Parish Councillor Kathryn Haworth.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 23rd September 2020 were agreed as a correct record.


Additional Items of Business

To determine whether there are any additional items of business which, by reason of special circumstances, the Chair decides should be considered as a matter of urgency.


There were no additional items of business.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from Members relating to any item on the agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Conduct.


There were  no declarations of interest.


Exclusion of the Public

To determine during which items, if any, the public are to be excluded from the meeting.


There were no items on the agenda requiring members of the public to be excluded from the meeting.


Public Question Time

To consider questions, statements or petitions from Members of the Public.


No questions had been received.


External Audit Progress Report

The External Auditor will give a verbal update to the meeting.


Barrie Morris from the external auditors Grant Thornton gave a verbal update on the audit progress as at January 2021.


He confirmed that they had received the financial statements and audit  progress was being made, audit testing was underway and officers were responding to queries appropriately and there were no matters of concern to bring to members attention at this time.  He emphasised that whilst the audit was slightly later than planned this was not out of line with the national picture and that work was ongoing to ensure the audit was completed in a timely manner and that their findings would be reported to the March meeting of the Committee.




That the report be noted.


Annual Governance Statement pdf icon PDF 32 KB

To inform members of the Audit and Standards Committee of the arrangements to provide assurance for an Annual Governance Statement for the financial year 2020/21.


Additional documents:


Salma Hussain reported on the Annual Governance Statement for the financial year 2020/21. When completed it would be signed off by the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council and would be reported alongside the Statement of Accounts.


Members considered the assurance gathering process as set out in the appendix to the report.


Councillor Margaret Lishman asked if the process for gathering information was any different this year and if the recent change in administration during the year had been taken into account.


Officers responded and said that the assurance statement now included issues around the pandemic. Generally previous administrations were not included but if there were any specific concerns raised by any executive member where they didn`t feel able to give assurance due to the short period in office, they could raise this and consultation would be expanded to include the previous administration. Also members could raise concerns about governance at any time and this would be reported in governance statement.


Councillor Graham as the Executive Member for Resources and Performance Management said that she would consult her predecessor Councillor Lishman once she had received a copy of the Statement.






That the process for the Annual Governance Statement be approved,


Internal Audit Update Report Q2 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To inform members of the work undertaken by Internal Audit for the period 1st July to 30th September 2020

Additional documents:


Ian Evenett reported on the internal audit for the period 1st July to 30th September 2020.  He explained that the COVID response and the current vacancy in the audit team was likely to impact on the planned delivery of audits which may require some limitation on the internal audit assurance as part of the annual audit opinion.


Councillor Margaret Lishman said she assumed that in the current climate the audits were paper exercises and stressed the importance of ensuring audits were targeted appropriately.  Ian explained that there was a risk rating to attempt prioritisation. Access to staff and certain services was limited due to the COVID situation but that a full audit was still carried by remote meetings and evidence was able to be examined by other measures.


Councillor Lishman further asked if future audits would be looking at the COVID responses such as the awarding of business grants.   Ian confirmed that an audit of the business grants had taken place last year and that Heads of Service would be contacted for any future audits that they felt would be needed in their service areas.    





That the content of the progress report be noted.


Fraud Risk Assessment pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To inform Members of the current fraud trends that affects the public sector.




Salma Hussain reported on the fraud risk assessment 2020/21.



Councillor Campbell asked if the audit of business grants would be encompassed externally in fraud risk assessments or if it would still be an internal process.  Ian explained that the grant process had a full external fraud reporting process, to plot trends in fraud attempts.  He did expect COVID to present new fraud risk across the Council but that NAFN (National Anti-Fraud Network)  had helped by enabling reporting of fraud cases which other local  authorities could access to ensure they were not exposed to those elements.   





That the report be noted.


The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - annual return. pdf icon PDF 127 KB


Catherine Waudby updated members of authorisations issued under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to ensure that the Council`s RIPA powers are operated lawfully.


She confirmed that the latest inspection and report of the Investigatory Power`s Commissioners  received in April 2020 showed it was satisfied that the Council was complying with legislation but made recommendations that would further strengthen compliance.  These included revising the policy and that staff were appropriately trained.  Due to the impact of the COVID pandemic a draft revised policy would be brought to he next meeting of the Committee.




That the report on authorisations issued under RIPA be noted.


Strategic Risk Assessment pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To review and update the strategic risk register.

Additional documents:


Ian Evenett reported on the a review and update of the  Strategic Risk Register in light of the changes in the political landscape and the request for local government reorganization.




That the updated Strategic Risk Register be noted.


Complaint against a Councillor pdf icon PDF 315 KB

To note the outcome of a complaint against a Councillor.


Lukman Patel reported on the outcome of a complaint against Councillor Marcus Johnstone and on the local resolution that had been agreed.




That the outcome of the complaint against Councillor Marcus Johnstone, the agreed local resolution and the apology provided by Councillor Johnstone be noted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider the Work Programme for the current year.


The work programme was noted.