Agenda and draft minutes

Audit and Governance Committee - Tuesday, 22nd March, 2022 6.30 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

AG48/21

Chairman's Introduction pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman opened the meeting, introduced Committee members and officers in attendance, and outlined procedural matters of the meeting.

 

The Chairman and Mr William Benson, Chief Executive thanked Independent Member Mr Tony Quigley for his support and his contribution to the Audit & Governance Committee and the Council.

 

Mr Quigley advised that he had put a substantial amount of work into the project review process and welcomed an update on the recommendations that were made.

AG49/21

Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Apologies for absence as reported at the meeting.

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Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

AG50/21

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by Members in items on the agenda.

 

For any advice on declarations of interest, please contact the Monitoring Officer.

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Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

AG51/21

Notification of Visiting Members wishing to speak (in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18): pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Members should indicate which item(s) they wish to speak on and the nature of their concern/question/request for clarification.

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Minutes:

No notifications of any visiting members wishing to speak had been received.

AG52/21

Minutes of the meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee dated 23 November 2022 pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee dated 23 November 2021 were submitted. The typo was acknowledged and the year corrected to 2021.

 

Claudette Valmond, Monitoring Officer stated that in section AG43/21 on page 15 of the minutes, the paragraph stated there was a correction to paragraph H  and the figure quoted as £250,000, should have been £25,000.

 

RESOLVED – That including the above correction and the acknowledged typo, the minutes of the Audit and Governance Committee dated 23 November 2021 be approved as a correct record.

AG53/21

Future Work Programme as at 03 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee’s work programme was presented for members’ information.   

 

RESOLVED – That the Future Work Programme as at 03 March 2022, be noted.

AG54/21

Update on complaints received under the Members' Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 187 KB

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Minutes:

Mr Gary Rowland, Senior Legal Advisor (Corporate Governance) presented his report which gave the Audit and Governance Committee an update on complaints received under the Members’ Code of Conduct in the period 1 September 2021 to 28 February 2022.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

              i.        No matters of significance were raised.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the update on complaints received under the Members’ Code of Conduct, be noted.

AG55/21

External audit Annual Audit Report for 2021 pdf icon PDF 155 KB

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Minutes:

Ms Joanne E Brown, Audit Partner Grant Thornton presented her report which provided the Audit and Governance Committee with the external auditor’s annual report and value for money conclusions in respect of 2020/21.

 

Discussion and questions from Members and Officer clarification included:

              i.        The forecast outturn for the end of the financial year was confirmed at 36.2 million as at quarter 3.

             ii.        The point was made that the forecast outturn amount included an amount of 15 to 16 million that was repayable for the collection fund, the money did not belong to the council but was held because of covid grants and discounts given on business rates.

            iii.        It was considered that from an external audit perspective Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) was in a relatively strong financial position both nationally and in the local Kent area relative to other councils.

           iv.        It was advised that plans were in place to have a new 5 year plan drafted and agreed over the course of the year and an organisational development strategy would be aligned to support that.

             v.        In terms of statutory and non statutory services, officers advised that communication was important to make it Clear as to what people were funding and where cost savings could be made in the future. In the end the Government made the decisions about what services were retained it was agreed that TWBC could  provide information to help.

           vi.        External auditors gave an explanation as to how the Improvement recommendation.

          vii.        An explanation about the external auditor’s Improvement recommendation was given as well as details about the proposed TWBC budget strategy going forward given that there had not been a spending review in recent times.

         viii.        It was confirmed that details of a covid recovery plan would be captured in the external auditor’s 2021-2022 report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the auditor’s annual report and value for money conclusions, be agreed.

AG56/21

Internal Audit & Assurance Plan 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 112 KB

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Minutes:

Mr Townsend, Interim Head of Audit Partnership presented his report which set out the proposed Plan for Mid Kent Audit’s work at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council during 2022/23. The plan provided an overview of the range of areas for potential future examination by internal Audit. It was based on the outcomes of risk assessments and consultation and considered the resources available to the partnership.

 

Discussion and questions from Members and Officer clarification included:

              i.        The Committee was advised that the recruitment process for the Head of Audit position was still underway.

             ii.        It was confirmed that any changes to the internal audit and assurance plan would be taken to the Audit and Governance Committee, with the exception of any urgent matters that needed Chair’s actions to be considered.

            iii.        It was advised that information about The Amelia Scott audit plan would be sent to Members as requested.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the Internal Audit & Assurance Plan for 2022/23, be approved. That included delegating to the Head of Audit Partnership authority to keep the plan current as set out in the appendix.

2.    That the Head of Audit Partnership’s view that the Partnership currently has sufficient resource to deliver the Plan and a robust Head of Audit Opinion, be noted.

3.    That the Head of Audit Partnership’s assurance that the Plan is compiled independently and without inappropriate influence from management, be noted.

AG57/21

Strategic Risk Review pdf icon PDF 124 KB

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Minutes:

Mr William Benson, Chief Executive presented his report which set out the strategic risks identified by the Council and currently being managed and tracked by senior management. The report provided a current update on the valuated threat level and controls in place for each risk issue.

 

Discussion and questions from Members and Officer clarification included:

              i.        Details of the Government’s and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s (TWBC) response to the crisis in the Ukraine were given.

             ii.        There was exceptional support from the Tunbridge Wells Community, individuals and organisations in terms of host families and providing aid and resources to Ukraine.

            iii.        Councils were expected to undertake checks on properties and people to ensure guests safety.

           iv.        The Local Resilience Forum set up within Kent met daily and TWBC held daily meetings within the council.

             v.        There was an option to use the Tunbridge Wells Gateway as a hub for people to come and seek support and advice.

           vi.        It was understood that the composition of families would be women, children and older people and not a huge of unaccompanied individuals.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the risk management report and arrangements for managing strategic risk, be noted.

AG58/21

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no urgent business for consideration.

AG59/21

Date of Next Meeting 25 May 2022 pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee was scheduled for 25 May 2022.