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

13.

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 interests.

14.

Minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2014 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2014 (agenda item 2) were confirmed.

15.

Any matters arising from the minutes

Minutes:

In response to a question from Andrea White, Jim Brennan advised that the review stated in the matters arising (minute 2 refers) was with regard to the Auditor’s Annual Report.

16.

Internal Audit pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Please note that appendix D relating to the payroll overtime (appendix 2 of the report) is attached separately as a confidential document at item 12. Please also see the late supplement at item 13 which is not confidential.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Director and Treasurer (agenda item 5) and supplementary report (agenda item 13).

 

Jay Patel introduced the report and explained that there were two outstanding requirements from last year’s internal audit report that related to the development of a contract register (appendix 4 of the report) and the reporting of contract spending (appendix 5 of the report).  He felt that the monitoring of contract spending had already proved useful for the 2015/16 budget setting.

 

Martyn White explained that internal audit was taking a different approach to previous audits with regard to follow-up.  In the last quarter, internal audit had completed three internal audits that related to sickness and absence; payroll; and health and safety.  There were no high risks identified and one instance of notable good practice identified.

 

Andrea White raised concerns on the reporting of sickness absence.  Anthony Dean replied that internal audit had found examples where managers had not recorded sickness absence on iTrent (computer system) but had recorded the absence manually.  Martyn White confirmed that internal audit were aware of these discrepancies with sickness absence reporting but were assured that it had been reduced substantially.  Jim Brennan gave an assurance that management would ensure that the recommendation was implemented and sickness absences would be input onto iTrent in the future.

 

Councillor Varsha Parmar enquired into the process of sickness absence reporting.  Jay Patel explained the process was quite simple as the employee had to report their absence to their manager on the day in question preferably before a shift started.  For long-term sickness, employees needed to submit a sick certificate from their GP.  Jim Brennan said that managers would hold review meetings with the employee if they were sick for more than 10 days, or on more than 3 occasions in a rolling year.

 

Andrea White asked about the recording of sickness absence in 4.4.4 (page 17) as it stated that the average sick days per annum per employee in 2013/14 was 13 days and then stated later that last year (October 2013) was 14 days.  Martyn White replied that the average in the financial year 2013/14 was 13 days but for the rolling year to October 2013 this figure was 14 days.  However, management had reported the average sick days per annum per employee for year to September 2014 had been accurately reported as 10 days.

 

Andrea White enquired whether the £30,000 in financial savings stated in 2.3 (page 30) had been achieved; to which Jay Patel replied that this had been achieved across all systems, not just payroll.

 

Andrea White asked if the implementation date of 30 April 2015 for recommendation 3 of the health and safety audit report (page 56) relating to the completion and provision of a D4 medical form for staff operating mobile plant vehicles was correct.  Jay Patel responded that this date had been chosen as management had to discuss and obtain agreement with the Trade Unions prior to provision of the D4 medical forms to staff for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Change of accounting policy for borrowing costs pdf icon PDF 352 KB

Minutes:

See report of the Treasurer and Director (agenda item 6).

 

Jay Patel introduced the report. He explained that the accounting policy for borrowing costs and the interest charges that arose from loans needed to be changed.  PwC had provided advice to support the change. This change would better reflect the nature of interest payments and the subsequent levies to boroughs. The policy change would only affect the borrowing costs of £60 million during the construction period of the energy from waste plant.

 

Resolved -

 

That the Authority be recommended to approve the change in accounting policy for borrowing costs financing capital expenditure on long term projects so that “borrowing costs (i.e. interest charges) are capitalised during the construction period for large scale projects spanning more than one financial year”

18.

Risk Register pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Director and Treasurer (agenda item 7).

 

Jim Brennan, Director, introduced the report. There were currently only two amber risks that related to having a strategy for monitoring waste disposal contracts (risk P3) that was to be discussed and agreed with the constituent boroughs by April 2015 and the outstanding claim from GMB fitters regarding whether bonus payments were calculated incorrectly.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Risk Register attached to the report be noted.

19.

Deloitte’s 2014/15 Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report of the Treasurer and Director (agenda item 8).

 

Jay Patel introduced the report that detailed how Deloitte’s, the external auditors, were planning to report the 2014/15 accounts.  The audit would pay particular attention to the construction of the energy from waste utility, the valuation of waste transfer stations, accounting policy in relation to borrowing, and treasury management practices.

 

Resolved:

 

That the report on Deloitte’s 2014/15 Audit Plan be noted.

20.

Dates of meetings

Meetings are currently scheduled for 7pm on Wednesday:

 

10 June 2015

9 September 2015

Minutes:

It was noted that the dates and timing of the meetings were to be reviewed.

21.

Urgent business

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

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

22.

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.

23.

Confidential appendix to item 5 - Internal Audit

Minutes:

The confidential appendix to item 5 relating to the Internal Audit report was noted.

24.

Late report supplementary to item 5 - Internal Audit progress report (added 8/1/15) pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Minutes:

The supplementary report to item 5 relating to the Internal Audit report was noted.