Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Mike Smith, tel 020 8583 2069, e-mail  mike.smith@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of interest

Members are reminded that if they have a personal interest in any matter being discussed at the meeting they must declare the interest and if the interest is also a prejudicial interest then they may not take part in any discussion or vote on the matter

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

Terms of reference and Annual work plan pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Treasurer and Clerk (agenda item3).

 

Ian O’Donnell, Treasurer, reminded members that the establishment of the Audit Committee was one of the important elements agreed by the Authority to improve financial oversight.  He reported that today was the closing date for applications for the independent member role and that there had been 7 applications.  He commended the terms of reference, as agreed by the Authority, to the Committee.  The Clerk undertook to review the quorum requirements and report to the next meeting of the Authority with options to allow the Audit Committee to function more effectively.

 

Resolved -

 

(a)      That the terms of reference be noted.

 

(b)      That quorum of the Committee be reviewed.

 

(c)      That the urgent decision taken by the Clerk in consultation with the Chair to commence the recruitment of an independent member of the Audit Committee be noted.

 

(d)      That delegated authority be given to the Treasurer and Chair to undertake the recruitment process.

3.

Statutory Accounts 2012-2013 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Treasurer (agenda item 4).

 

Ian O’Donnell, Treasurer, referred to the proposed Annual Governance Statement and the workplan arising from it which would improve the standards of corporate governance in the Authority in order to meet the principles set in the Local Code of Corporate Governance.

 

He reported that draft accounts had been completed and that the Auditors had complimented the Authority on the speed of their production.  The audited accounts would be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee in September 2013.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Retter, Jim Brennan, Director, stated that he was working very closely with the constituent boroughs to provide tonnage predictions which were as accurate as possible.  He stated that the residual waste contract provided for future growth in waste tonnages.

 

Resolved -

 

(a)      That new Code of Corporate Governance be commended to the Authority.

 

(b)      That the Annual Governance statement be commended to the Authority.

 

(c)      That the action plan arising out of the review of the Annual governance Statement be commended to the Authority.

 

(d)      That the draft Statutory Accounts for 2012-13 be noted.

4.

Income and Expenditure Review pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Treasurer (item 5).

 

Susan Dixson, Internal Auditor for the Authority, referred members to the Audit reviews on income and expenditure and on the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy.  She referred to two recommendations which had not been accepted by the Authority. These concerned firstly separation of functions between processing purchase orders and paying invoices and secondly occasions when the amount of petty cash held exceeded £250 which might invalidate any insurance claim.  She stated that significant progress was being made on the internal audit plan. The next review would be on cash.  There would also be further monitoring of overtime controls.

 

Diane Makepeace, Head of Finance, reported that the Authority had practical difficulties separating out the processing of purchase orders and paying of invoices because there were only a limited number of staff in the finance team.  They expected to be able to implement the audit recommendation when a new computerised financial system was in place.  The resource involved in more frequent bank visits in order to keep petty cash limits below £250 could not be justified.  In all other respects the Authority was working hard to implement the audit recommendations and was making significant progress in doing so.

 

Resolved -

 

(a)      That the management responses to the Income and Expenditure Review Audit Report be noted.

 

(b)      That management responses to the Joint Waste Management Strategy Audit Report be noted.

 

(c)      That progress on the Internal Audit Plan for 2013-14 be noted.

5.

Risk Register pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Treasurer (agenda item 5).

 

Diane Makepeace, Head of Finance, described the process of assessing risks to the authority and the key areas of risk which had been identified as set out in the report.  She stated that the register was to be updated to identify a single officer responsible for managing each risk in order to ensure accountability.  This was regarded as best practice.

 

With respect to the risk related to Treasury Management at section 10(b), it was confirmed that an interim Treasury Manager was currently in post.  Susan Dixson stated that a recent audit of Treasury Management at Harrow Council had a good outcome and the interim arrangement was being carefully monitored.  Ian O’Donnell, Treasurer stated that it was the intention for West Waste to develop its own Treasury Management Strategy although it may continue to outsource the function to a local authority with appropriate specialist staff.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Retter, Diane Makepeace confirmed that the use of off site data backup was being investigated in order to improve ICT security.  It was expected to be in place by January 2014.

 

Resolved -

 

 

(a)      That the Risk Register review process be agreed.

 

(b)      That the content of the Risk Register as at June 2013 be agreed.

6.

Dates of meetings

The Audit Committee will meet at Hounslow Civic Centre at 7pm on Wednesday:

 

11 September 2013

15 January 2014

9 April 2014

18 June 2014

10 September 2014

Minutes:

The following dates of meetings were confirmed (at Hounslow Civic Centre at 7pm on Wednesday):

 

11 September 2013

15 January 2014

9 April 2014

18 June 2014

10 September 2014