Agenda and draft minutes

Audit, Governance and Standards Committee - Tuesday 22 November 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Ground Floor Meeting Room G01A - 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH. View directions

Contact: Virginia Wynn-Jones  Email: virginia.wynn-jones@southwark.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

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    To receive any apologies for absence.

    Minutes:

    As the chair was not in attendance at the start of the meeting, Councillor Graham Neale as the vice chair opened the meeting.

     

    Apologies for absence were received from Internal Audit, Greg Rubins and Nick Baker from BDO.

     

    Apologies for lateness were received from the Chair, Councillor Barrie Hargrove

2.

Confirmation of voting members

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    A representative of each political group will confirm the voting members of the committee.

    Minutes:

    The members present were confirmed as the voting members.

     

3.

Notification of any items of business which the chair deems urgent

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    In special circumstances, an item of business may be added to an agenda within five clear days of the meeting.

    Minutes:

    The Chair agreed to accept item 11, Treasury management strategy, as late and urgent.

     

4.

Disclosure of interests and dispensations

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    Members to declare any personal interests and dispensation in respect of any item of business to be considered at this meeting.

    Minutes:

    There were none. 

5.

Minutes

6.

Governance conversation: Michael Scorer

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    Michael Scorer, strategic director of housing and modernisation, to discuss departmental governance.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    Michael Scorer, strategic director of housing and modernisation, presented the governance structures of the department.  Members had questions for the officer.

     

    The strategic director clarified that as part of the audit plan process the report is reviewed by the senior management team at their meeting. This is subsequently followed by a progress report on the delivery of the recommendations in the plan.

     

    Members thanked the strategic director for his attendance

7.

Internal audit and anti-fraud progress report: November 2022

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    Officers have been invited to attend to discuss the following audits:

     

    ·  Objection Review of the Council’s relationship with Stanbury Building Services Limited

    ·  2021-22 Disaster recovery

    ·  2017-18 Land Charges

    ·  2017-18 IT – Network Security

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    Angela Mason-Bell, BDO, introduced the report.  Members had questions of the auditors.

     

    Councillor Gavin Edwards requested that officers could consider whether to involve members of either the audit, governance and standards committee or the overview and scrutiny committee in the development of the Fairer Future Procurement Framework and Procurement Guidelines.  Officers undertook to bring a draft of the review to the committee for their consideration.

     

    The committee agreed to invite officers to attend the meeting to give an update on any audits where the ‘management implementation dates’ have consistently slipped and responses are still awaited. The committee agreed to look at the most high-risk audit or the three oldest outstanding audits still awaiting responses, subject to officers’ recommendations.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the audit, governance and standards committee noted the report, as attached at Appendix A of the report.

     

8.

Selection criteria for independent members of the audit, governance and standards (civic awards) sub-committee

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    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    Doreen Forrester-Brown, director of law and governance, and monitoring officer presented to the Committee.

     

    Members requested that officers review whether the criteria as set out are inclusive of the protected characteristics. Due to the sub-committee comprising of only four independent members, fulfilling the criteria may prove challenging.

     

    Councillor Hargrove proposed the following amendment to the criteria set out in paragraph 8;

     

    Invitees should:

    ·  Have a good understanding of the borough and its diverse communities

    ·  Ideally be familiar with the borough’s Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS)

    ·  Be able to understand and evaluate nominations for Civic Awards

    ·  Not be a nominee or represent an organisation that is nominated.

     

    The Chair advised the committee if they have any suggested nominations to send those through to Martin Kovats, community projects manager.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the committee agreed the amended criteria set out above for inviting individuals to join the audit, governance and standards (civic awards) sub-committee (‘the civic awards sub-committee’) for evaluating nominations for the 2023 Civic Awards.

     

    2.  That the committee consider any recommendations they would have for individuals or groups to be invited to join the civic awards sub-committee.

     

9.

Public Interest Reports Update

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    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    Ciaran McLaughlin, Grant Thornton LLP, presented to the committee. 

     

    Officers undertook to look into offering an online briefing to all councillors ahead of the budget-setting meeting of council assembly in February 2023.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.  That the audit, governance and standards committee noted Grant Thornton’s report ‘Lessons from recent Public Interest Reports and other interventions’ 2022 (Appendix 1)

     

    2.  That the audit, governance and standards committee agreed to circulate the report to all councillors

     

10.

Grant Thornton Audit update report

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    Grant Thornton will present a verbal update.

    Minutes:

    Ciaran McLaughlin of Grant Thornton LLP updated the committee.

     

    The committee were reminded that the 2020/21 audit had not yet been signed of due to the national infrastructure assets issue. It is understood that the statutory override is due to be laid before parliament on 30 November 2022 and will come into effect on 25 December 2022. Following this, the 2020/21 audit will be signed off in January 2023.

     

    The full details of the findings of the 2021/22 audit will be presented at the next meeting of the committee.

11.

Treasury Management Strategy

12.

Whistleblowing complaints and outcomes

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    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    Doreen Forrester-Brown, director of law and governance, and monitoring officer, presented to the committee. Members had questions for the officer.

     

    Officers undertook to enquire as to whether the message on the whistleblowing policy and process can be included in the Chief Executive’s weekly message to all staff.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That the audit, governance and standards committee notes this report.

     

13.

Members' Code of Conduct Complaints Procedure