Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Room 3, Lampton Park Conference Centre, (LPCC), Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Kay Duffy - telephone: 020 8583 2067; email:  kay.duffy@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communication from Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest and no apologies were received on behalf of members.  

2.

Minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2016 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2016 were agreed and signed by the Chair as a correct record. There were no matters arising from the minutes.

3.

Draft Statement of Accounts pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report from the Assistant Director Strategic Finance, Agenda Item 4.

 

Tony Brown, Head of Financial Strategy and Accounting, informed members that the draft Statement of Accounts would be signed by the Assistant Director Strategic Finance on 29 June.  He circulated the latest balance sheet and income and expenditure information for members’ attention, stating that the statements were broadly unchanged from those previously circulated.  The Chair thanked officers for their work on the accounts.

 

Resolved:

That the Audit Committee noted the submitted draft Statement of Accounts for the 2015/16 financial year, together with the submitted update on early accounts close down preparation.

4.

Draft annual governance statement and annual review of the system of financial control pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See submitted report from the Head of Audit and Investigation, Agenda Item 5.

 

Steve Tinkler, Head of Audit and Investigation, confirmed that the annual governance statement would be reviewed by colleagues at KPMG.  He added that a new style CIPFA framework would then be introduced from next year.

 

In response to questions Mr Tinkler provided assurance that no significant evidence of bribery had been identified.  In relation to budget overspends, in addition to the comments under 6.1 of the submitted report, Mr Palfreyman stated that monthly updates were provided to Cabinet and members were invited to seek further information from both Mr Palfreyman and Mr Tinkler.  

 

Resolved:

·       That the Audit Committee noted the outcomes of the review of the effectiveness of internal control outlined in the report and appendix;

·       That the Audit Committee noted and commented upon the Draft Governance Statement in the Appendix to the submitted report.

5.

Quarterly monitoring of the Risk Register pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See submitted report from the Head of Treasury, Pensions and Capital, Agenda Item 7.

 

Lorelei Watson, Head of Treasury, Pensions and Capital, introduced the submitted report.  In response to questions she confirmed that risks were monitored on a quarterly basis and drew attention to Appendix 2 of the submitted report, noting the risk criteria had been in place since 2011.  A review of the risks was scheduled for September 2016, which would address the scoring methodology with the help of the Council’s Corporate Leadership Team and colleagues from Zurich. 

 

Members heard that an actuarial valuation was being carried out of the pensions.  In light of the recent EU Referendum result, the Council’s pension provision would now be kept under close review by the Pension Fund Panel. 

 

There was a brief discussion in relation to Risk 17 (Risk of failing to get the Waste Strategy right) and the proposals to bring the waste collection in-house.

 

Resolved:

That the Audit Committee noted the amended Corporate Risk Register (CRR) at Appendix 1 of the submitted report.

6.

Presentation on the departmental risk process in REDe pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Minutes:

Brendon Walsh, Executive Director Regeneration, Economic Development and Environment, circulated a set of presentation slides to members (later attached to the electronic agenda pack for reference), Agenda Item 6.

 

There followed a brief discussion based on the three risks identified in the excerpt of the Departmental Risk Register provided.  Mr Walsh confirmed that members of Audit Committee would have oversight of the register.

 

Resolved:

That the Audit Committee noted the Departmental Risk Register process for REDe.

7.

Internal Audit Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See submitted report from the Head of Internal Audit and Investigations, Agenda Item 8.

 

Steve Tinkler informed members that with the new internal audit supplier new software would automate the process and make it more efficient but without impacting on it robustness. He acknowledged that further work was required in respect of the Bribery Act, part of which related to the corruption risk assessment.  This would be addressed in connection with the fraud risk profile and would be shared with this committee at its September meeting.

 

Resolved:

That the Audit Committee noted the submitted report.

8.

Counter Fraud Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Minutes:

See submitted report from the Head of Internal Audit and Investigations, Agenda Item 9.

 

Steve Tinkler assured the Committee that the work of the team continued to be robust and that the team was looking to share intelligence gathered across the shared service. He confirmed that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) held responsibility for investigating housing benefit fraud since October 2014, which meant the level of data available to local authorities had diminished.  Local authorities still held responsibility for investigation of tenancy fraud.

9.

External Audit: 2015/16 Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Minutes:

See submitted report from KPMG, Agenda Item 10.

 

Charles Medley, KPMG, briefed members on the submitted External Audit Plan 2015/16 document and answered questions on the audit process and whether the authority was measured against other local authorities or commercial organisations. Members were informed that, whilst all authorities completed an R.O. form, which provided a measure against other authorities, the audit process was individual to the particular local authority being assessed.  Members acknowledged, however, that quarterly reports to the Cabinet included outlined figures across the London region.

 

It was noted that as the 2015/16 audit was retrospective, Lampton 360 had not been included.  As it was a separate limited company, which currently had material financial dealings, it would be subject to a separate discreet audit process.

 

Resolved:

That the Audit Committee noted the External Audit 2015/16.

10.

External Audit 0 2015-16 Fee Letter pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Minutes:

See the submitted report by KPMG, Agenda Item 11.

 

Charles Medley, KPMG, introduced the submitted document.  Clive Palfreyman indicated that the current contract with KPMG ran until 2017 and was likely to be extended as part of a pan-London arrangement, which was scheduled for re-tender towards the end of the current decade. He confirmed that the pan-London authority was a subsidiary of the National Audit Office.

 

Mr Medley left the meeting at this point.

11.

Urgent business

Any other items which the Chair accepts for consideration on the grounds of urgency 

Minutes:

Councillor Malhotra raised queries in respect of the Council’s call centre and Lampton 360. 

 

The Chair thanked all for their attendance and closed the meeting.