Hounslow Council


Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Joti Patel - telephone: 020 8583 3356; email:  joti.patel@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

50.

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

Minutes:

Apolgies for absence were noted from Councillor Sam Hearn

 

Councillor Mukesh Malhotra announced that he had been appointed as the Council representative on the London Councils Audit Committee.

51.

Quarterly Monitoring of the Risk Register (Lorelei Watson)

See agenda item 4

Minutes:

See the report presented by Lorelei Watson, Head of Treasury Pensions and Capital, at agenda item 3, page 1.

 

Lorelei Watson highlighted the changes to the risk register up to 30th June  2017:

 

·       1 new risk added to the register on page 2, risk 16 – statutory health and safety Hounslow housing reflected amber with a score of 12

·       1 score reduced reducing the average risk score.   Waste strategy reduced from 12<9 and moved up to amber status in recognition of a number of policies now implemented.

·       Mitigating action taken reported on pages 3-4 of the agenda.

·       Still 2 red risks medium term finance strategy and housing

·       The Graph on page 6 showed direction of travel average risk down from 11.5 < 11.3 reflects reduction of waste risks and red risks.

·       Appendix 1 key to register for reference

·       Appendix 2 risk guidance for reference

 

In response to questions the following points were made:

 

  • The Director of Finance and Corporate Services confirmed that he is overall responsible for finance and Corporate Services for the Council and oversee financial strategy for subsidiaries of the Council reporting to the Chief Executive and the Council. Subsidiaries did have their own Auditors and finance reporting committee.
  • The Director of Finance and Corporate Services confirmed that he expected all Departments would meet their savings commitments for this year otherwise reserves may be required.
  • The Director of Finance and Corporate Services confirmed that he expected the new Waste and Recycling facility at Southall Lane to open in November as reported. (Action) Provide Cllr Malhotra with response on cause of delay in opening Southall Lane depot.
  • The Head of Pensions, Treasury & Capital confirmed that Risk 16 was a late addition to the risk register and said that she would invite the Director of Housing to comment and clarify the risks ratings.
  • Recommended that further questions on Waste & Recycling are discussed at a meeting with the Chair of the Audit Committee and the Lead Member.
  • Confirmed that a workgroup had been set up by Head of IT to oversee all IT matters to reach the required standard by January 2018

Resolved:

·       To note the report

 

52.

Lampton 360 Presentation (Robert Meldrum)

Minutes:

There was a presentation on the set up of Lampton 360 by Robert Meldrum tabled at the meeting.

 

The presentation gave an overview of the set up and operations of Lampton 360 and its subsidiaries Lampton Development 360 LLP, Lampton 360 Investment Ltd, Lampton 360 Facilities Maintenance and Lampton 360 Recycling.  He gave an overview of the structure of the organisation.

 

He confirmed that Lampton 360 was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Council with limited liability ownership to manage outsourced functions for housing, facilities maintenance and waste and recycling.

 

In response to questions Officers provided the following information:

 

  • Lampton 360 was not an ALMO but a wholly owned subsidiary of the Council with its own governance and reporting structure.
  • The Board was required to produce a quarterly performance report to the Council Cabinet.
  • Lampton 360 was supported by a small team of Council Officers.
  • Lampton 360 Recycling staff were members of a recognised union
  • Governance arrangements were agreed at Cabinet in April 2015 requiring the Company to follow all Council procedures.
  • Properties purchased and developed for housing will not be entitled to right to buy.
  • Audit and Investigation will meet with Lampton 360 to agree monitoring of risks.
  • Recruitment of a Chief Executive of Lampton 360 was in progress.

 

Resolved:

 

·       To note the presentation

 

53.

Statement of Accounts (Tony Brown) pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See the report presented by Tony Brown, Head of Financial Strategy and Accounting, at agenda item 4, page 36.

 

Tony Brown tabled an amendment to page 7 of the statement and reviewed the revised figures and presented an overview of the main points in the statement.

 

In response to questions Officers provided the following information:

 

  • The Head of Financial Strategy and Accounting confirmed that he did not propose to make any changes to the drafted document.
  • Waste and recycling performance issues should be raised with the Lead Member responsible for performance of the service and was not a finance issue.
  • The Director of Finance and Corporate Services confirmed that S106 monies received were greater than CIL receipts.  CIL was recognised income from when received and included in the reserves.
  • The Residents Satisfaction Survey was carried out every 2 years.
  • in terms of delivery of investment from the council in PFI Contracts this would be in note 33 of the statement.
  • The Director of Finance and Corporate Services confirmed that the Lampton 360 Business Plan was on the Cabinet Forward Plan for approval and would include KPIs on delivery and investment which would be closely monitored. The Head of Audit and Investigation confirmed that he would be monitoring risks identified in the plan to report to the Committee.  The quarterly report to Cabinet would also be closely monitored to identify risks to be flagged for the Committee’s attention.

 

Cllr Malhotra asked to note congratulations to Lorelei Watson and her team on the management of the Pension Funds.

 

Cllr Malhotra noted a spelling error on page 83 of the agenda which should read Sharma and not Sharna.

 

Resolved:

 

·       The Statement of Accounts was approved and signed by the Chair of Audit Committee.

 

54.

External Audit: Annual Governance Report (LBH & Pension fund) (Charles Medley, KPMG) pdf icon PDF 393 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See the report and recommendations presented by Charles Medley, KPMG in the supplementary agenda.

 

Charles Medley presented the final recommendations of the External Auditor and reviewed key points in the report for the Committee:

 

·       Section 2 summarised what significant audit risks were reported at the start of the year in the Audit Plan and proposed remedial work.

·       Page 10 summarised the findings of audit work carried out.

·       Page 13 summarised the review and assessment of why the Council met judgement and how judgement was recorded.  0-1.2 reflected cautious. 2,3 and 4 reflected balanced and 5 and 6 reflected optimistic.  All judgements were balanced.

·       Section 3 summarised work on review of value for money and there were no concerns on the VFM conclusion made.

·       Page 18 summarised observations made throughout audit areas.

·       In reply to a question the external auditor provided information on where to find details of new risks in the appendices.

·       3 new ones reported in appendix 1 in the areas of finance, performance and controls.

·       Page 21 appendix 1 set out the recommendations of which 4 were outstanding.  The Chair asked if these were still outstanding to which the external auditor replied that 3 remained outstanding referenced in appendix 1.

·       Appendix 4 set out the independence of the external auditor in the work completed.

Cllr Lambert noted that explanations given in the pre-meeting on Tuesday was very helpful in understanding the report.

 

Resolved:

 

·       The report and recommendations of the external auditor were approved.

 

55.

Annual Governance Statement (Mike Pinder) pdf icon PDF 244 KB

Minutes:

See the report presented by Mike Pinder, Head of Audit and Investigation at agenda item 6, page 192

 

The Head of Audit and Investigations presented the annual governance statement for the committee to:

 

1.     Approve the annual governance statement for 2016/17

2.     Recommend that the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive sign the statement on behalf of the Council.

The Head of A&I reported that the statement had been reviewed by the Auditor and there were no changes required.

 

Resolved:

 

1.     The Annual Governance Statement 2016/17 was approved by the Committee.

2.     The Committee recommended that the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive sign the statement on behalf of the Council.

56.

Progress Report: Internal audit and Counter Fraud (Mike Pinder) pdf icon PDF 406 KB

Minutes:

See the report presented by Mike Pinder, Head of Audit and Investigations at agenda item 7, page 206.

 

The Head of Audit and Investigations reviewed the report and asked the committee to note the report on the Quarter 1 update.

 

Points to note were:

 

·       The report set current progress in quarter 1 and continued to progress towards providing a final report by November 2017.

·       In terms of fraud work there had been 17 identified cases proven noted in the report.

·       Work on IT and diagnostic tools were in the process of being finalised

·       Confirmed that the cases reported on benefit/planning noted on page 219 of the agenda (page 14 of the performance report) related to proceeds of crime investigations.

Resolved:

·       To note the report

 

57.

Whistleblowing Annual Report (Steve Williams) pdf icon PDF 492 KB

Minutes:

See the report presented by Pat Larkin at Agenda Item 8, page 221.

 

Pat Larkin explained that the policy set out how staff could raise concerns regarding financial and procedural irregularities in their workplace.

 

In response to Members’ questions Officers gave the following information:

 

·       A number of reports were received anonymously as staff were not confident to approach their line managers. 

·       Any report received would still be thoroughly investigated but the opportunity to gather more information where reports were anonymous was not possible.

·       It was not possible to feedback the outcome of an investigation where the report was anonymous and staff may feel that nothing was done with their report where no irregularities were found. 

·       The team would continue to improve communications to reassure staff in terms of protection when raising concerns.

Councillor Lambert asked to see reassurances that the “Registered Manager” at step 2 was independent.  Needed to ensure that the investigating officer was completely impartial and that the officer involved in the complaint would not be involved in the investigation.

 

Action: 

·       To review the processes at steps 1 and 2 to clarify the reporting procedure should the complaint involve the immediate line manager.

·       Members would submit written questions to Steve Williams for reply.

 

Resolved:

·       To note the report

58.

Annual Report of the Audit Committee (Councillor Surinder Purewal) pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Minutes:

See the report presented by Councillor Surinder Purewal at agenda item 9, page 239.

 

Councillor Purewal reviewed the annual statement of the Chair of The Audit Committee.

 

Resolved:

 

·       To note the work of the Audit Committee in respect of providing independent assurance over the governance, risk management and the system of internal control in operation at the Council.

·       The Committee approved the report as an accurate reflection of the work of the Committee and agree that the Chair should present the report to the October meeting of the Cabinet.

59.

Urgent business

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

Minutes:

None.