ARM Minutes 16-7-07 by etssetcf

VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 7

More Info
									                                           GREENWICH COUNCIL

                          AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT PANEL

                                  MONDAY 16 JULY 2007 at 7.00 pm

                                                         MINUTES


Present:

Members
Councillors Mick Hayes (Chair); Terry Hales, Denise Hyland, Rajwant Sidhu,
John Wakefield, Spencer Drury and Brian Woodcraft.

External Appointee
Sir Alan Bailey (Vice Chair)

Officers
Director of Finance – C. Perry, Assistant Director of Finance – D. Warren,
Assistant Director of Finance – M. Sofianos, Assistant Director Financial
Governance – S. Burd and Committee Co-ordinator - Jean Riddler


Also Present
Philip Johnstone – District Auditor
Sheila Hill – Audit Manager (attended for Items 1-5)
Richard Clarke – Audit Commission


Item
No.

1.        Apologies for Absence

          Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Andy Jennings.




                                                         ITEM NO: 4
                                                         PAGE NO: 1
K:\Committees\Audit and Risk Management Panel\2007\July\ARM Minutes 16-7-07.doc
2.        Urgent Business

          Members considered the Annual Governance Report (Appendix 1) to Item 4
          – Statement of Accounts as circulated less then five clear days prior to the
          meeting, with the consent of the Chair.

          The Chair agreed that Appendix B – Control Assurance Framework, be
          tabled in relation to Item 6 – Statement of Internal Control 2006-7.


3.        Declarations of Interest

          Resolved –

          That the list of Councillors' memberships, as Council appointed
          representatives, on outside bodies, joint committees and School Governing
          Bodies be noted.


4.        Statement of Accounts 2006/2007

          The Director of Finance introduced the report.

          Members took a moment to read the Annual Governance Report (Appendix
          1 to the report).

          The District Auditor took Members through the key points of the Annual
          Governance Report. He advised that the Council should be commended for
          the robust process with the accounts closure and audit completion process
          being the fastest Borough in London, if not the Country.

          The District Auditor advised that the report was a prescriptive format.
          Almost all the substantive work required had been completed. The only
          remaining formalities being the consideration of the report by Greenwich
          Council’s Cabinet and Council Meeting.

          The District Auditor continued that he was not expecting the position, in
          regard to the Accounts to change. Further that there were no issues to
          report concerning significant unadjusted misstatements, material amendments
          or accounting practices. An unqualified Value for Money conclusion would be
          issued, as in previous years.
                                                         ITEM NO: 4
                                                         PAGE NO: 2
K:\Committees\Audit and Risk Management Panel\2007\July\ARM Minutes 16-7-07.doc
          Members asked, in regards to the reduced Use of Resources score in respect
          of financial reporting from 4 to 3 in 2006, which was as a result of minor
          technical adjustments, would it be correct to not to automatically assume a
          the same rating next year.

          The District Auditor advised that he was not in a position to say categorically
          this would not be the case as he had not completed all key lines of enquiry. It
          was correct that the impediment which occurred last year had not this and
          the outlook was more positive.

          Members asked, in respect to Value for Money, (appendix 1 –sub appendix 5)
          and the use of resources assessment (UoR), most areas were scored 3&4 but
          two areas were scored 2, would this suggest that these areas were less than
          perfect and if so, why?

          The District Auditor advised that a score of 2 was considered as adequate
          but suggested that there are areas of opportunity for improvement and this
          had been discussed with the Director of Finance.

          Members sought confirmation that in financial terms, adequate meant quite
          good.

          The District Auditor confirmed that this was correct and that audit was an
          area where praise was always reserved. Further he confirmed that robust
          arrangements were in place and auditors would be quick to point out any
          faults. Putting Greenwich Council in context, it is a large organisation and for
          the Audit Commission to have inspected the accounts and have no issue to
          raised was to the credit of the Council.

          Members noted that the Certificate could not be formally concluded and
          asked when it is completed if any matters requiring consideration could be
          reported to the Audit and Risk Management Panel.

          The District Auditor responded that if there were any areas of concern they
          would be raised officially, with the Chief Executive. He continued that he
          could see no intrinsic problem with bringing any issues to the Audit and Risk
          Management Panel.

          Members felt that this was a good report and asked that their thanks to both
          the Finance Officers and Audit Commission Officers be noted.

                                                         ITEM NO: 4
                                                         PAGE NO: 3
K:\Committees\Audit and Risk Management Panel\2007\July\ARM Minutes 16-7-07.doc
          Resolved –

          a.        That the contents of the Auditor’s Annual Governance Report in
                    Appendix 1 to the report be reviewed and noted.

          b.        That the required amendments to the 2006/2007 draft accounts as
                    detailed in Appendix 2 to the report be reviewed and noted.

          c.        That the comments of the Audit and Risk Management Panel be
                    reported to Cabinet and Council.


5.        Audit Commission – Progress against Audit and Inspection Plans for 2006/07
          and 2007/08 and residual work relating to 2005/2006

          The Assistant Director of Finance, Mike Sofianos, introduced the cover
          report.

          The Audit Manager, Sheila Hill, advised that the Progress Report was being
          presented in a new way, which it was anticipated would make the report
          more useful.

          Members commented that information presented in sub appendix 2 – Recent
          Audit Commission news was fascinating reading, but how was this
          information to be used by Members.

          The Audit Manager responded that that is to provide information on certain
          pieces of work that the Audit Commission had dealt with on a National level.
          It is entirely up to Council to look at the summary and fuller report on the
          web site to consider if relevant as there was no direct suggestion this
          information would be applicable to Greenwich for Officers and Council.

          The District Auditor also advised that the Council may consider these
          reports for comparison of their own approach and case studies of good
          practice. Greenwich is often used as an example of the latter in national
          reports. He informed Members that electronic copies of full reports are
          available on the Commission’s website and could also be provided to them,
          upon request.



                                                         ITEM NO: 4
                                                         PAGE NO: 4
K:\Committees\Audit and Risk Management Panel\2007\July\ARM Minutes 16-7-07.doc
          Resolved -

          a.        That the progress made by the Audit Commission against their audit
                    and inspection plans for 2006/07 and 2007/08 and residual work
                    relating to 2005/06 be noted.

          b.        That recently published Audit Commission national reports be noted.


6.        Statement of Internal Control 2006-07

          The Assistant Director Financial Governance, Steve Burd, introduced the
          report advising that this was a key document. He explained Appendix B.
          Overall the Internal Controls were working as they should.

          Members noted that it would be interesting to know about some of the
          issues raised at the Senior Officers Review Board and to be assured that any
          areas of work which should be considered by the Audit and Risk Management
          Panel are fed back to us.

          The Assistant Director, Financial Governance assured Members that any
          major issues would be reported back to the Audit and Risk Management
          Panel.

          1
          The Director of Finance advised Members that as the Section 151 Officer
          would he would be investigating and would formally report back.
                                                                       Action: DoF

          Resolved –

                    That the Audit and Risk Management Panel noted the Statement on
                    Internal Control (SIC) for the year 2006/07 and the outline of functions
                    and how it has been produced and the level of assurance that can be
                    gained from the Council’s governance arrangements be noted.




1
    Amendment agreed at ARM meeting 4 December 2007
                                                         ITEM NO: 4
                                                         PAGE NO: 5
K:\Committees\Audit and Risk Management Panel\2007\July\ARM Minutes 16-7-07.doc
7.        Review of the Council’s System of Internal Audit

          The Assistant Director of Finance, Mike Sofianos, introduced the report and
          advised Members that the changes made to the Internal Audit System in 2006
          had now been fully adopted. He further advised that copies of the self
          assessment document could be provided to Members, upon request.

          Members raised some concern with the Whistle Blowing Policy following
          contact from a member of staff, on how Officers who used this facility could
          be subsequently treated in the work place. It was felt that the report of mal-
          practice may be an area which needs to be re-addressed.

          Members further felt that if staff thought they were not protected enough
          then the Policy would not work. Consideration needed to be given on how
          to protect an individual who had to remain in post if reporting colleagues or
          whether they could be, if they so wished, moved.

          The Assistant Director of Finance responded that there was a policy in place
          of regular review and that it was very difficult to comment with no details of a
          the case. It was a rigorous process to go through and he expressed concern
          if an incident had not been dealt with correctly. He requested to speak with
          the Member, outside of the meeting, to gather the specific details.

          The Chair agreed and requested that if Members had concerns of specific
          cases, to raise these directly with the Finance Officers.

          The Director of Finance advised that a further report on the WhistleBlowing
          policy and the concerns raised would be presented at a latter date.
                                                                          Action: DoF

          Resolved –

          a.        That the new requirements of the Accounts and Audit Regulations
                    Amendment (England) 2006 for an annual review of the Council’s
                    Internal Audit process be noted.

          b.        That it be noted that an independent review of the policies and
                    procedures adopted by Internal Audit has already been completed for
                    2006/07.

          c.        That the Action Plan arising from the independent review be noted.
                                                         ITEM NO: 4
                                                         PAGE NO: 6
K:\Committees\Audit and Risk Management Panel\2007\July\ARM Minutes 16-7-07.doc
8.        Audit and Risk Management Panel Work Programme 2007/08

          The Chair advised Members that in respect o the Internal Audit reports he
          was shortly attending a meeting with the Director and Assistant Director of
          Finance to discuss the protocols for this area of work.

          Resolved –

                    That the work programme for the Audit and Risk Management Panel
                    for 2007-08 be agreed.




          The meeting closed at 7.47 pm.



                                                                                  ________________________
                                                                                                      Chair




                                                         ITEM NO: 4
                                                         PAGE NO: 7
K:\Committees\Audit and Risk Management Panel\2007\July\ARM Minutes 16-7-07.doc

								
To top