Agenda and minutes

Audit & Governance Committee - Thursday 17th March 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: Laura Kirman  Tel: 01992 564243 Email:


No. Item


Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast. The Chairman will read the following announcement:


I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet (or filmed) and will be capable of repeated viewing (or another use by third parties).


If you are seated in the lower public seating area then it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in the possibility that your image will become part of the broadcast.


This may infringe your human and data protection rights and if you wish to avoid this then you should move to the upper public gallery.


Could I please also remind Members to activate their microphones before speaking”.


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The Chairman made a short address to remind everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the internet, and would be capable of repeated viewing, which could infringe their human and data protection rights.


Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on the agenda for the meeting of the Committee.


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There were no declarations of interest made pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 17 January 2022.


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That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2022 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Matters Arising

To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee.


          i.       (A Small) Verbal update on Capital and Treasury Management Strategies.


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Audit & Governance Committee - Work Programme pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To consider the attached work programme for the Committee for 2021/22.


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The Committee questioned when the outstanding items on the 2021/22 work programme relating to the audit and closure of accounts would be presented. The Strategic Director Corporate and Section 151 Officer, A Small, advised the committee that the Councill had utilised the national auditor appointment body, the Public  Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA), to intervene and an agreement had been reached, the auditors would be on site at the end of July 2022, for the 2020/21 accounts directly followed by the 2021/22 accounts, and the Committee would be updated at the September 2022 meeting. The delays experienced by the Council were not unique and had been recognised by CIPFA and the Government. The Committee  were advised that the draft accounts were made available on line and that whilst Government needed to consolidate the whole of the public sector accounts, it was important that the accounts were signed off at a local level to ensure probity in relation to balances put forward to mitigate risk on future years budget proposals.




Risk Management pdf icon PDF 226 KB

(A.  Small) To consider and comment on the risk management report.

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The Strategic Director Corporate and Section 151 Officer, A. Small, highlighted that that at the time of writing there had been no material adjustment to the risk. The next report to this Committee would be likely to show an increased level of risk for financial resilience, due to the wider impact of the Ukraine/Russia conflict. This reinforced the requirement that the risk management should be a standing item on the agenda.

The Committee:

  • Were advised that the costs of net zero carbon could not be quantified at this time
  • Commented that policies to move to net zero carbon would ultimately reduce costs


The Committee reviewed and endorsed the risk register and acknowledged that financial resilience would be considered at the officer Risk Management Group.




Internal Audit Progress Report pdf icon PDF 246 KB

(S. Marsh) To consider and comment on the Internal Audit Progress Report.

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The Senior Auditor, S Linsley, presented the Internal Audit Monitoring Report and updated the Committee on the work completed by internal audit since the previous meeting. Progress had been being made on the 2021/22 Audit Plan. The deferral of four audits: Key Financial Control Debtors; Staff Recruitment; Town Centre Projects; and Contractor Health and Safety (H&S) from the 2021/22 Audit Plan was sought from the Committee. The Committee were advised that two final reports, both with substantial assurance, had been issued for Safeguarding, and Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support. The number of outstanding recommendations had decreased and there were no longer any high priority recommendations in the recommendation tracker.  Internal Audit had started work on Decision Making Accountability and progress made against the Annual Governance Statement was detailed in the report.


The Committee:

               I.           Noted the summary of the work of Internal Audit for the period January to March 2022

              II.           Approved the deferral of four audits

            III.           Reviewed the progress of actions taken to address issues identified in the 2020/21 Annual Governance Statement



Internal Audit Strategy and Plan 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 343 KB

(S. Marsh) To consider and comment on the Internal Audit Strategy and Plan 2022/23.

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The Chief Internal Auditor, Sarah Marsh, presented the Internal Audit Strategy and plan The key deliverables were highlighted as: the delivery of the audit plan; an Integrated approach to assurance; management commitment; continual development of the approach including data analytics and business insight. The proposal to amend the current standard set of opinions for audit reports to align with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), for all reports issued from 2022/23 was detailed It was noted that the current wording under ‘moderate’ would be retained in that any high priority recommendations would prevent a reasonable or moderate assurance being provided. The Committee were reminded that the Internal Audit function conformed to the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards, as confirmed by the External Quality Assessment (EQA) which was communicated to the Committee in November 2021. The service performance targets for 2022/23 would remain the same as those used in 2021/22:

She advised on the approach to developing the Internal Audit Plan. The priority areas for Internal Audit work for 2022/23 were: Information Governance, Risk Management; Fraud; Value for Money (VfM); support to the Audit and Governance Committee; Key Financial Systems; Governance frameworks and Data Analytics. The Audit Plan would require 465 days. The detailed plan was outlined and included audits on Qualis commercial declarations of interests and performance indicators. Cyber security, the Climate Emergency Action Plan and the Local Plan would all be considered. The array of audits and would allow the Chief Internal Auditor to form her end of year opinion.

The Committee were reminded that the Section 151 Officer had a statutory duty to ensure that proper arrangements were in place to administer the Council's financial affairs, and there had been audits carried out on Qualis and further audits were planned.



The Committee approved the Internal Audit Strategy and Plan for 2022/23 and the change in individual report opinions for reports issued from 2022/23


Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972 requires that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

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No other business was raised for consideration by the Committee.



Exclusion of Public and Press


To consider whether, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press should be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on grounds that they will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended) or are confidential under Section 100(A)(2):


Agenda Item No


Exempt Information Paragraph Number





The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, which came into effect on 1 March 2006, requires the Council to consider whether maintaining the exemption listed above outweighs the potential public interest in disclosing the information. Any member who considers that this test should be applied to any currently exempted matter on this agenda should contact the proper officer at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.


Background Papers: 

Article 17 of the Constitution (Access to Information) define background papers as being documents relating to the subject matter of the report which in the Proper Officer's opinion:


(a)        disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based;  and


(b)        have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report and does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.


The Council will make available for public inspection one copy of each of the documents on the list of background papers for four years after the date of the meeting. Inspection of background papers can be arranged by contacting either the Responsible Officer or the Democratic Services Officer for the particular item.

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That, in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the item of business set out below as it would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of the Act indicated and the exemption is considered to outweigh the potential public interest in disclosing the information:


Agenda                                                                       Exempt Information

Item No           Subject                                               Paragraph Number


13                    Supply Chain Risks                            3


Supply Chain Considerations

To note the attached report on supply chain risks.

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The Committee noted the risk and supply chain consideration report.