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					Subject:        Report on Chair’s Actions under                               Devon House
                                                                              58-60 St Katharine’s Way
                                                                              London E1W 1JX
                Delegated Authority                                           www.lda.gov.uk
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Report Number: Part 2, Item 5.2                                               t 020 7680    2000
                                                                              f 020 7680    2040




Date of meeting 21 March 2006
Report to Board
Report of Frances McLeman, Director of Law, Governance and
          Procurement (Interim)




1.     Recommendations
1.1.   To note the two urgent actions taken by the Chair and Vice Chair since the last
       Board meeting on 7 February 2006 regarding:

      Voluntary Adoption by LDA of S.17 of 1998 Crime & Punishment Act, and

      Revision to Financial Regulations for Athena Finance Implementation.

2.     Background
2.1.   This report informs members of the two urgent actions taken by the Chair and
       the Vice Chair since the last Board meeting on 7 February 2006.

2.2.   Under Standing Order 2, paragraph 42, any urgent matter requiring a Board
       decision between meetings may, subject to the consent of the Chief Executive,
       be referred by the Board Secretary to the Chair and Vice Chair for action, or in
       the absence of the Chair, to the Vice Chair and the Chair of Performance &
       Audit Committee.

2.3.   Chair’s Action reports are filed on the Register of Chair’s Actions, maintained by
       the Secretary to the Board, which are available for Board members to inspect at
       Board meetings. Copies of the reports are also made available to members
       upon request.

2.4.   Two decisions have been taken by Chair’s Action since the last Board meeting
       on 7 February 2006, summaries of which are provided below.




                                                                                        Part 2, Item 5.2 / 1
3.       Summary of Chair’s Action Reports

         Voluntary Adoption by LDA of S.17 of 1998 Crime & Punishment Act
3.1.1. That the Chair and Vice Chair made the following resolutions:

        Noted that the Mayor has requested that the LDA, together with Transport for
         London sign up to voluntary adoption of Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder
         Act (1998).

        Approved the Mayor’s request that the LDA voluntarily adopt Section17 of the
         Crime and Disorder Act (1998).

3.2.     This report set out the Agency’s formal response to the Mayor’s request that the
         LDA, together with Transport for London sign up to voluntary adoption of
         Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act (1998).

3.3.     Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires local authorities, police
         authorities and fire authorities to exercise their various functions with due regard
         to both the likely effect of those functions on crime and disorder in their area and
         the need to do all they reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder in their
         area. Although the Metropolitan Police Authority and London Fire & Emergency
         Prevention Authority already fall within the definition of S.17 as a result of the
         Police Reform Act 2002, the GLA, TfL and the LDA do not.

3.4.     A Chairs action procedure has been pursued given the timetable for the
         consideration of the whether the Agency should adopt S17. The timetable
         prevented the consideration of this matter at the next available Board meeting.
         The nature and minimal impact on the Agency voluntary adoption of S 17 was
         taken into account in determining whether a Chairs action was appropriate.

3.5.     The Mayor accepts that the LDA’s role with respect to the prevention of crime
         and disorder is essentially strategic and it would be appropriate for the LDA to
         continue with such an approach following voluntary adoption of S.17 principles
         at a strategic level.

3.6.     A cross-RDA Crime and Disorder Policy Statement has been prepared and this
         will form the basis of the LDA policy statement on crime and disorder. It will set
         out clearly the LDA’s essentially preventative role in respect of crime and
         disorder reduction.

3.7.     The report outlined the impact of crime and disorder on equality groups, the
         environment and the linkages to health inequalities. It also advised that no
         additional activity requiring financial investment was required at this stage. The
         report indicated that this proposal was low risk as it does not involve any
         additional financial investment; there is no risk to delivery; and the LDA’s
         reputation will be enhanced by the positive impacts of our strategic role on the
         reduction of crime and disorder.




                                                                                              Part 2, Item 5.2 / 2
Revision to Financial Regulations for Athena Finance Implementation
3.8.   That the Chair and Vice Chair made the following resolutions:

      Noted and approved the following revisions to the LDA’s Financial Regulations
       and LDA Procurement code to enable the efficient implementation and roll-out
       of the Athena Finance system from April 2006.

      Noted the changes in the purchase ordering and payment control regime
       necessary to maximise the benefits of the Athena Finance roll-out.

      Noted that the changes to the purchase ordering and payment process would
       streamline existing manual process and improve overall control and
       accountability.

      Noted that amendments to signoff arrangements for exceptions from
       Procurement Financial Thresholds were currently under consideration.

      Approved the amendments to sections 6 & 9, and Appendix 1 of to the LDA
       Financial Regulations.

      Approved the amendment to the LDA Procurement Code so that certain
       payment transactions were deemed “outside the scope” of the requirement to
       obtain Exception from Financial Threshold approvals.

      Approved the clarification and amendment to the LDA Benefits & Expenses
       framework so that all Executive Directors can approve Foreign Travel.

3.9.   This report set out the Agency’s revisions to the LDA’s Financial Regulations
       and LDA Procurement code to enable the efficient implementation and roll-out
       of the Athena Finance system from April 2006.

3.10. The LDA is currently piloting the introduction of an electronic purchase order
      system called Athena Finance. This has been extensively piloted in the
      Resources & Equality Directorate since June 2005 and will be rolled out to the
      rest of the LDA from April 2006. The new system will help streamline payment
      processes, and in particular help improve the timeliness of invoice payment and
      hence performance against Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) 8.

3.11. In order to realise the full benefits of Athena Finance, the pilot stage coupled
      with further workflow analysis of LDA approval processes has identified a
      number of desirable changes to the LDAs financial control framework.

3.12. These changes have been endorsed by the SMT and supported by those
      members (John Biggs and Alison Wheaton) attending the Performance & Audit
      Committee on the 1st February 2006.




                                                                                         Part 2, Item 5.2 / 3
3.13. A Chairs action procedure has been raised because the Performance & Audit
      Committee was inquorate at its last meeting on 1 February when asked to
      endorse these changes subsequently preventing the report being considered by
      the Board at its meeting of 7 February. Given the nature of the changes and the
      necessity to implement the changes as soon as possible a Chairs Action
      procedure was pursued.

      Changes to payment approvals & workflows
3.14. In order to streamline the authorisation process, it is planned to focus the
      delegated approval at the point a financial commitment, through the generation
      of the electronic purchase order.

3.15. The existing delegation approval levels will remain largely intact with the
      following changes:
          Appendix 1 - Removal of Payment Authorisation Column for Policy &
           Programme Support Budgets

          Introduction of a new lower delegations level for small P &PS financial
           commitments up to £1000. (This is to improve the efficiency of the approval
           workflow for small purchases).

3.16. Changes are also necessary to the wording of Financial Regulations in section 6
      “Delegated authority for commitment and expenditure and income” and “Section
      9 - Procedures for initiation and authorisation of payments” to reflect movement
      to electronic payment processing and the different emphasis in approval
      process.

      Procurement Code
3.17. Amendments to the procurement code were proposed so that the following
      purchases are deemed as outside the scope of the procurement code as
      follows:-

          Temporary staff fees
          Utility Payments (where no choice over supplier e.g. water rates)
          Rent
          Subscriptions to trade & professional organisations/journals
          Statutory External Audit Fees
          Individual professional training courses
          Travel costs

       Further consideration is also being given to changing authorisations sign-offs for
       exemptions from financial thresholds. Once agreement has been reached on
       the most appropriate arrangements, these will be reported to the Performance &
       Audit Committee for consideration and approval.




                                                                                         Part 2, Item 5.2 / 4
      Foreign Travel
3.18. It was proposed that in future all Executive Directors have the authority to
      approve Foreign Travel. Foreign Travel by Executive Directors will continue to
      require CEO or Board Chair approval. The Benefits & Expenses framework will
      be updated accordingly with the Foreign Travel approval form clarified.

3.19. The report advised that there were not direct equality, sustainability, health or
      financial implications. The amendments to the Financial Regulations and
      Procurement are in accordance with the Agency’s powers under the Paragraph
      6 of Schedule 2 of the Regional Development Agency Act 1998.

4.     Appendices
          None.

5.     Background Documents (available to members upon request)
          Chairs Action Report S.17 of 1998 Crime & Punishment Act, 6 March
            2006
          Chairs Action Report Athena Finance, 17 February 2006




                                                                                          Part 2, Item 5.2 / 5
     This checklist must be completed for all reports to the Board, Committees
       and Advisory Groups. Please click on the relevant box to select it.

                                                                       Yes   No
Approved by Director of Finance or nominee                                      n/a
Approved by Director of Law, Governance & Procurement or nominee
Approved by your Executive Director                                             n/a
Approved by the Lead Officer (Chief Executive)


Executive Director        John Biskupski, Executive Director, Resources and Equality
Team Leader(s)            Daniel Murnane, Head of Governance
Report Writer(s)          Emma Toon, Senior Committee Manager
Telephone                 0207 7954 4787
E-mail                    emmatoon@lda.gov.uk




                                                                                  Part 2, Item 5.2 / 6

				
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