Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Steve Wood  020 8313 4316

Items
No. Item

94.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Robert Evans.

95.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

Councillor Simon Fawthrop declared an interest as an employee of British Telecom.

96.

CONFIRMATION OF THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 21st OCTOBER EXCLUDING THOSE CONTAINING EXEMPT INFORMATION pdf icon PDF 410 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Audit Sub-Committee that sat on the 21st of October 2021 were agreed as a correct record.

97.

QUESTIONS TO THE AUDIT SUB COMMITTEE

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions that are not specific to reports on the agenda must have been received in writing 10 working days before the date of the meeting which was 5pm on 16th February. 

 

Questions specifically concerning reports on the agenda should be received within two working days of the publication date of the agenda.  Please ensure that questions specifically regarding reports on the agenda are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Thursday 24th February.

 

Minutes:

One written question had been received. The response to the question had been disseminated to the Committee and the questioner before the meeting.

98.

MATTERS ARISING--PART 1 pdf icon PDF 304 KB

Minutes:

CSD  22037

 

The Chairman stated that all matters had now been resolved and closed.

 

It was noted that steps had been taken to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the Risk Management Group. The structure and format of the Corporate Risk Register was being reviewed. The review was being carried out by Marsh who were independent risk consultants. 

 

A brief conversation took place as to the rationale behind Neighbourhood Managers attending recycling depots to check paper.

 

RESOLVED that the Matters Arising report be noted.

99.

PUBLICATION OF AUDIT REPORTS

The Internal Audit reports have been published on the Council website:

 

The link to the reports is  Published Audit Reports

 

The reports are:

 

1.  Review of Covid 19 Risk Assessments

2.  Review of Downe Primary School

3.  Financial Assessments 2021-2022

4.  Review of Housing Needs, Early Intervention and Advice (Options and Assessment)

5.  Review of the IT Asset Register

6.  Review of the Operation of the Blue Badge Scheme

7.  Review of Supported Living Placements.

 

Minutes:

Members noted the Internal Audit reports that had been published on the Council website.

100.

INTERNAL AUDIT PROGRESS REPORT pdf icon PDF 590 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

FSD22020

 

The Chairman commented on section 3.18 of the report which highlighted the common theme of issues around data management and quality assurance. A discussion took place around the differences between performance management and quality assurance.

 

A Member commented that in the past he had invited Mal Owen to provide training to officers with respect to statistical process control—he said that this training was used for approximately six months but was unfortunately abandoned. He also mentioned training that had been provided via Cranfield Business School and a book that had been recommended that was written by Professor John Seddon who had attended the Council. The book highlighted various techniques for dealing with quality and data control and he expressed the view that these various modes of learning had not been utilised by officers.

 

The Chairman drew the attention of the Committee to section 3.2.10 of the report which dealt with Housing Needs, Early Intervention and Advice. He was concerned to note that the audit had made the observation that the information provided on the Council website was inadequate for people to properly navigate and find solutions to their various needs. He said that it should not be up to Internal Audit to have had to identify this, but perhaps it should have been picked up in some way by the Housing Needs Contact Centre. He wondered if the contact centre had anything in place to identify this and the Head of Audit and Assurance said that she would investigate this with the relevant Assistant Director. 

 

A Member followed on from this by highlighting a difficult case that he had been involved with when he was contacted by a priest who was trying to assist two teenagers after the death of their mother from Covid. There was no guidance on the website for this type of situation and the Member stated that consideration should be given to providing wider information on the web site that would cover non-standard scenarios—some thinking ‘out of the box’ was required.

 

It was noted that many of the Personal Housing Plans of clients were of mixed quality and many had not been closed off by managers and this was a cause of concern.

 

Members were very concerned to learn of an incident where an email had been sent to a Housing Needs client which detailed much personal information such as the household ID, security question with answer and the password. It was very much hoped that this was an isolated case; the Head of Audit and Assurance assured that relevant guidance had now been circulated to the particular officer concerned and the whole team. The Chairman commented that it would be good if the Housing Portal Software could issue such information in a secure way. A Member wondered why a housing officer would have access to the password. 

 

Section 3.2.11 of the report referred to a ‘Housing Performance Digest’ and a Member enquired if it was possible to have sight of this. The Head  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN 2022-23 AND INTERNAL AUDIT CHARTER pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

FSD 22021

 

The Head of Audit and Assurance informed the Committee that she considered it would be more productive going forward to replace the Annual Internal Plan with a plan that would be drafted on a six monthly basis. She believed that this would be a more flexible and robust approach. The Head of Audit and Assurance said that she was asking the Committee to approve the IAP now for April to October. Then at the next meeting in November she would present a plan for November and the rest of the financial year. 

 

A Member referenced section 3.5 of the report which detailed the consultees for the IAP. He noted that Councillors had not been included in the list and so he asked if the list could be expanded to include Councillors in the consultation process. 

 

A discussion took place concerning how the 721 days for the planned internal audit work was broken down. The Head of Audit and Assurance explained that this was set out in Appendix A with the proposed reviews for the first six months and the remaining days would be carried forward to the second six monthly plan. 

 

A Member drew attention to the wording ‘ethical governance’ and a discussion took place regarding the difference between ethical and non-ethical governance and whether or not the term ‘ethical’ was required. He said that what was required was good governance that was of a high standard.

 

A Member stated that he thought the plan was flexible and excellent and the Chairman agreed with that view.

 

It was noted that Internal Audit should not be involved in writing the Annual Governance Statement. It was the role of Internal Audit to coordinate and facilitate the process for the drafting of the AGS. However. The content of the statement would be decided by Chief Officers and senior leaders. 

 

Before moving into the Part 2 agenda, the Chairman informed Members that a report would be presented to the GP&L Committee to propose that the Audit Sub-Committee should no longer be a sub-committee, but a full committee in its own right in a similar manner to what took place with the Pensions and Investment Sub-Committee the previous year. The new committee would be known as the ‘Audit and Risk Management Committee’.

 

Members expressed their thanks to the Chairman—Councillor Neil Reddin for his sterling work as a member of the Committee for 15 years, with 12 years serving as Chairman. The Chairman thanked Members and said it was a team effort and that he had been supported by very capable colleagues. It was also noted that it was Councillor Allat’s last meeting on the Audit Sub Committee. 

 

 

 

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1) The Internal Audit Plan for April-October 2022/23 be approved

 

2) The Internal Audit Charter be approved.

 

102.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS AMENDED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) (VARIATION) ORDER 2006 AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

  The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the item of business listed below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as it was likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

103.

EXEMPT MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 21ST OCTOBER 2021

Minutes:

The exempt minutes of the meeting held on 21st October 2021 were agreed as a correct record.

104.

MATTERS OUTSTANDING--PART 2

Minutes:

The Part 2 Matters Arising report was noted.

105.

INTERNAL AUDIT FRAUD AND EXEMPT ITEMS REPORT

Minutes:

The report provided details of counter fraud work that was deemed to be confidential.

 

RESOLVED that the Internal Audit Fraud and Exempt Items report be noted.

 

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