Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2, 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.

Minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2014 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2014 (agenda item 2) were agreed.

2.

Matters arising from the minutes

Minutes:

In response to questions from Andrea White, Jim Brennan advised that a review of the first year would now be submitted to the January 2015 meeting because of the change in Administration (page 1, item 27 refers).

 

Jay Patel advised that SITA now reported regularly to the Chief Officer’s meeting and performance indicators were reviewed each month. Timescales and completion dates had been put into the risk register, but there was still a need to group in functional areas. Jim Brennan advised that a staff performance management system had been introduced at the end of July. Not all appraisals were complete yet and he would be looking at providing training for the team (page 1, item 29 refers).

3.

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.

4.

Dates of meetings

Members are invited to consider possible meeting dates for 2015.  Two members are available on the dates below. One has difficulty with Monday to Wednesday evenings. The fourth member has not indicated a preference.

 

Wednesday 14 January at 7pm

Wednesday 10 June at 7pm

Wednesday 9 September at 7pm

Minutes:

The dates of meetings were noted.

5.

External Auditor’s Annual Governance Report. pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Treasurer (agenda item 6)

 

Matthew Hall advised that year end was 31 March 2014. The audit was substantially complete and although there were areas still some outstanding, that was to be expected. Pension liability valuation had been a key point when the report was sent out, but this had now been resolved and had resulted in an adjustment to the accounts.

 

Jay Patel advised that a revised valuation had been issued on Monday and updated accounts had been issued to members on Tuesday with the latest figures.

 

Matthew Hall advised that the pension actuary had produced a report and it had originally been assumed that liability had passed to SITA. Deloitte had challenged the Authority and the Authority had instructed the actuary to revisit. The £1.5m adjustment had reduced the surplus and Deloitte were comfortable that it now reflected the right position and needed to ensure that it was finalised to reflect that.

 

In response to questions, Jim Brennan advised that a requirement of the contract involved a comparable pension for a TUPE transfer. SITA had achieved this through admitted body status of the Local Government Pension Scheme but they would not accept liability from any historic underfunding. The pension actuary had not had insight into that. Jim Brennan had given the actuary a copy of the SITA contract and a proper evaluation had now been done.

 

Matthew Hall advised that the original concern had been about the Authority knowing they had liability. He advised that it had just been a communication problem and that he would give members a clear conclusion during the current year.

 

QuraishaRawat commented on the Executive Summary and no issues had been identified and there were no outstanding items. Matthew Hall added that there were no control recommendations this year, which equalled an improvement on previous years.

 

The appendix identified items corrected and most of the adjusted items had been about where things were classified. Matthew Hall advised that Deloitte were required to confirm that they were independent.

 

Members noted the report.

6.

Assurance Statements pdf icon PDF 752 KB

Minutes:

See report of the Clerk (agenda item 7)

 

Jay Patel advised that the assurance statement had been produced to provide confidence when members signed off the accounts. Future improvements had been identified and chief officers had provided a statement to say that effective governance was in place.

 

Members noted the report.

7.

Statement of Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2014 pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Treasurer (agenda item 8)

 

Jay Patel advised that the Statement of Accounts was the annual financial statement. The original accounts had been put to the June Authority meeting and the only change was movement in the pension fund and minor presentation changes. They were still showing a good level of financial performance and a healthy financial position at year end, which was slightly better than the one planned for.

 

In response to questions, Jay Patel advised that, at the end of the year the Authority had £11.9m reserves and had paid off the debt with Harrow. Most of the cash came in at the start of each month and was eroded over the month, but there were still strong cash balances. There were current cash balances of £4 – 5m, therefore, £9m would have settled creditors at the end of the year

 

Resolved:

 

            That the Statement of Accounts for 2013/14 be approved.

8.

Risk Register pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report by the Treasurer (agenda item 9)

 

Jay Patel advised that the register highlighted the key risks facing the Authority and considered the probability and impact of the risk. Mitigation was identified in the register and the residual risk was flagged on a traffic light system. The register was reviewed by managers and chief officers. On item 4, the contractor performance had changed from amber to green because the new West London Residual Waste Services (WLRWS) contract was now operational and incorporated better controls. On risk 11, it had changed form amber to green regarding data security because of migration to the London Borough of Ealing and there benefit, therefore, of their large scale infrastructure with off-site data back up. Item 12 had changed from amber to green because a more suitable financial management system, Agresso, was now being used.

 

In response to questions, Jay Patel acknowledged that all risks were green but advised that there were still improvements to be implemented. Jim Brennan added that there was a strategy in progress. The new WLRWS contract had started in January and although there were KPIs incorporated in contracts, the contract manual was still under development. 

 

Andrea White asked if timescales were being monitored. She pointed out that a review of contract management had been given a red last year and a number of recommendations had not been completed. She felt that the loop needed to be closed to ensure that contract management across all contracts was satisfactory.

 

The Chair instructed that the residual risk should be reviewed.

 

Jay Patel advised that he was happy to keep it as amber, monitor the situation and put in timescales.

 

Resolved:

 

a)     It was agreed that contract management would remain amber and timescales would be put in for monitoring.

 

b)     The report was noted.

9.

Internal Audit pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Minutes:

See report by the Treasurer (agenda item 10)

 

Members noted that the health and safety audit would start in October.

 

Jay Patel advised that a contract audit was carried out by Harrow last year and the details were contained in the report on the yellow pages. It was marked as amber because not all of the recommendations had been implemented. It was an internal judgement and the table showed what they thought the position was. A number of recommendations still needed finishing off and some were not entirely relevant since a number of new contracts had been implemented. A number of contracts had ended or been superseded by the WLRWS contract.

 

Andrea White noted that two recommendations had been identified as not fully implemented and asked if the recommendations at 1.1 and 6.5 remained relevant. She advised that she was concerned that some of the smaller contracts did not have complete assurance and the loop had not been closed.

 

Jay Patel felt that there would be a benefit from a fresh contract audit because things had moved on considerably and that it would be best to have a contract audit every two years. He advised that recommendation 1.1 would be implemented and the papers would show that it had progressed a long way.

 

Jim Brennan advised that, with regard to recommendation 6.5, there would always be a need for variations when the contract changed. Smaller contracts tended to be short-term and there would be fewer changes. He advised that the Authority were moving towards centralised electronic copies of contracts.

 

Jay Patel advised that timescales had been included to show when they would implement the recommendations.

 

Members noted the report.

10.

Urgent business

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

Minutes:

There was no other urgent business.

11.

Exclusion of Press and Public

That the public and press be asked to leave the meeting during discussion of the following item because exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 is likely to be made known.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the press and public be asked to leave the meeting during discussion of the following item because exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 is likely to be made known.

12.

Confidential appendix to item 9 - progress on implementing the audit recommendations concerning contract management

Minutes:

The appendix (agenda item 13) was noted.