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Governance & Standards Committee Minutes    

Date: Wednesday 17 March 2021       Time: 06:00 PM       Location: Virtual Meeting       Contact:

Attendance Details

Present:Councillor Debra Barlow, Councillor Terry Clay, Councillor Mark Fretwell, Councillor Brian Lohan, Mrs Meggie Morgan, Councillor Ann Norman, Councillor Andy Sissons, Councillor Roger Sutcliffe, Councillor Andrew Tristram
In AttendanceAttendees
In Attendance:Sarah Hall, Dawn Edwards, Emma Cable, Adrian Sullivan, Gabriella Wright, Mark Surridge (Mazars).
ItemDescriptionBackground InformationDecision

Apologies were received from Andrew Hill and Councillor David Smith.


Proposed as a true record of the last meeting by Councillor Ann Norman and seconded by Councillor Andrew Tristram and was accepted by the Committee by a unanimous show of hands.


Minutes accepted as a true record.

The Financial Services Manager provided a brief summary of the Statement of Accounts 2020/21 – Approval of Accounting Policies to the Committee.
The Officer advised that the Accounting Policies as attached at Appendix 1 are recommended to be approved for use within the 2020/21 Statement of Accounts. The Committee were informed of the background of the reasons for the policy.
The Committee was advised that these had been largely unchanged from the previous years, the minor changes would include changes to the year because there had been no major changes from CIPFA. The Committee was informed that it may be necessary to amend the policy in order to adopt a more appropriate accounting policy, however, should this be required this would be reported back to the Committee at the next available meeting.
Councillor Roger Sutcliffe referred the Officer to page 16 of the report. Full details of all proposed changes can be found in Appendix1. Then asked if it was the case that the only change that had been made was that of the year.
The Officer responded that this was correct there had not been any major changes.
Meggie Morgan queried how this would be disclosed in the following year. How would the lease change be in a different category in the accounts?
The Officer asked for clarification as to if this was in reference to the policies or the accounts?
Meggie Morgan responded in the accounts themselves with regards to the bus station lease that is going to change.
The Officer responded that the change related to a lease that is classed as an operating lease and therefore is attributed as revenue, this will be shown on the balance sheet. There may be more disclosure notes within next year’s accounts but at this time do not have the details of all of the requirements. The Officer concluded that this would be brought to the Committee nearer the time.
The Chair asked if there was a proposer to approve the recommendation that the Accounting Policies be approved for use within the Statement of Accounts.
Proposer Councillor Ann Norman, Seconder Councillor Andrew Tristram.
This was approved by the Committee by a unanimous show of hands.

Report of the Head of Finance

Statement Of Accounting Policies

That the 2020/21 Accounting Policies be approved for use within the Statement of Accounts.

The Head of Planning and Regeneration presented the report on the Strategic Risk and Opportunities Risk 4 – Improvement Actions Update.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration provided a summary of the reasons for the report.
The Officer advised that whilst ongoing maintenance had been taking place, that Asset Condition Surveys were now required for all properties to assess the condition and level of backlog maintenance. The information from these surveys would be then used to identify required repairs and maintenance issues, and prioritise planned preventative works which is part of the General Fund Capital Programme. The timescales to complete these action have slipped primarily due to a mixture of reduced staff within the Facilities Management Team, together with the additional workload for the FM Team during the Covid related activities.
In response a revised time frame had been devised as per Appendix 1.
Councillor Andy Sissons. The Member asked for clarification regarding the Table and the lack of use of the scoring as per 3.2 and 3.3 of the report.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration advised that the scoring was with reference to the report presented by the Corporate Assurance Manager at the last meeting.
The Corporate Asset Manager advised that the scoring was as per the individual controls.
Councillor Sissons queried who completed the assessments of the buildings.
The Officer responded that the intention was to go out to an external company to undertake the surveys due to resources within the team.
Councillor Roger Sutcliffe queried section 11, page 41 regarding a two phased approach with 11 key assets to be targeted in phase 1. The Member queried if all 11 assets were in the Mansfield District.
The Corporate Asset Manager advised that all 11 assets were within the Mansfield District.
Councillor Terry Clay queried if the external body would survey all of the assets.
The Officer responded that all assets would be surveyed, the proposal was for two phases, the initial phase for key sites in terms of value or potential health and safety aspects e.g. the museum, theatre, Hermitage Lane Depot etc.
The Member queried if this included Water Meadows Centre.
The Officer responded that a different exercise had taken place on this site as part of the Leisure Services Contract. However, this is all part of the PPW overall Programme.
The Member further queried if the Council was up to date with the maintenance of these properties.
The Officer clarified if the Member was referring to the Leisure Service properties.
The Member responded that his query concerned the lift at Water Meadows
The Officer responded that he could not answer specifically regarding this aspect as this was being managed by another Officer group. However, the Officer reported that there had been some delay on maintenance with Serco. The Officer confirmed that discussions were in progress at the moment.
Councillor Debra Barlow queried if there had been a list circulated of the relevant buildings.
The Monitoring Officer advised that no list was circulated at the last meeting and suggested that Members may wish to have Working Group to look at the list and work with Officers to see what the plans and proposals were.
The Chair asked if a list of the properties concerned could be circulated to the Committee.
The Officer responded that this would be circulated.
The Chair asked the Head of Planning and Regeneration for assurance that there were sufficient policies and staff in place to avoid getting a high risk rating next time?
The Head of Planning and Regeneration responded that the Council were in the process of recruiting to fill the vacancy that the Council have had. The Officer offered assurance that progress would be made and fed back to the Committee.
The Member queried how many days had been lost in the Department due to the reduction in resource and Covid 19 additional measures.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration stated that it was difficult to quantify. The Officer provided examples where the FM staff had been allocated to Covid specific duties. Which included sourcing of PPE, erection of a temporary mortuary and also setting up of the Civic Car Parks for the Vaccination Centre. The FM team were pulled in many directions. We are not anticipating further works outside of their FM roles going forward.
The Chair stated that he had a question related to risk 11. The commission of asset surveys for high priority properties. The Chair queried if it was possible to commission all properties to be surveyed and then specify that the high risk properties should be completed as soon as possible.
The Officer responded that this could be done and the high priority ones would be prioritised.
The Chair asked if this could be actioned.
The Officer agreed that it was.
The Chair queried the number of properties that the Council own within the district.
The Officer advised that he did not have that information for this meeting however, list that will be circulated to the Committee will contain that information.
The report was accepted for noting by the Committee by a unanimous show of hands.

Report of the Corporate Asset Manager

Appendix 1

Report accepted for noting.

The Corporate Assurance Manager provided the key elements to the report. The proposed Audit Plan 1 April to 30 June 2021. This has been compiled in accordance with the revised flexible quarterly planning approach. The sources of reporting remain the same as per the previous planned annual process. The Committee was advised that the Corporate Assurance Manager completed the Risk Assessment. The Officer advised the Committee the process of assessment that was used to facilitate this.
This is closely aligned with the Strategic Risks Register which are reviewed at least twice a year. The Committee was advised in the first quarter of this year the whole Register will be reviewed again. The Officer advised the Committee of the processes taken to complete the review and rescore as required. Any new risk that may be emerging will also be reviewed and assessed. Once reviewed the new Register will be presented to the Committee.
The Committee was advised that the same scoring method would continue to be used going forward. The process of the scoring mechanism was presented to the Committee which included scoring by a group of officers.
The Officer advised the Committee of all of the supporting evidence used for the compilation of the Plan.
The Committee was informed that there was a further roll out of Covid Business Grants from April 2021. The Audit Team will be heavily involved in the verification process during the first quarter, also that the team will be working with KPMG on the Benefit subsidy Claim which is completed annually.
The Officer referred the Committee to Table 1 which details a synopsis of items to be covered and highlighted the areas expected to have the most impact which included the procurement arrangements
The Officer highlighted works that would continue throughout the whole period that included the Procurement Arrangements, Governance & standards Committee and Member Support, Reviews and Assurance Framework, Counter Fraud Arrangements and NFI and Covid 19 related Consultancy and special investigations.
The Officer referred the Committee to the Internal Audit Charter and advised the Committee that this document had not had any significant changes. The changes indicated were, the change to the flexible audit planning approach which is in relation to sections 9 and 11 of the Charter, it has been amended to reflect the quarterly approach. The only other changes included that of Job Titles and the name of this Committees change to Governance and Standards Committee.
The Officer advised that the Internal Charter emphasises how Internal Audit can add value to the Council, its objectivity, the professional standards that the Internal Audit Team operate to.
Councillor Brian Lohan referred the Officer to page 47 Housing Benefits Subsidy Claim and asked if there had been an increase in people claiming the Housing Benefit during the pandemic.
The Head of Finance advised that there had been an increase in Housing Benefit Claims coming to the Council through the traditional routes and through Universal Credit.
The Chair asked for a Proposer for the approval of the recommendations.
Proposer Councillor Brian Lohan and seconder Councillor Andy Sissons.
Approval of the Committee was received by a unanimous show of hands

Report of Corporate Assurance Manager

Revised Audit Charter

I) That the Internal Audit Plan for the period 1 April - 30 June 2021 be approved.
ii) That the revised Internal Audit Charter be approved.
Published 26/03/2021 14:34:33