Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions
Contact: Tara Shannon Senior Democratic Services Officer email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.
Apologies were received from:
· Cllr Chuck Berry
· Cllr Pip Ridout, who was substituted by Cllr Pauline Church
· Cllr Mike Sankey
· Cllr Martin Smith, who was substituted by Cllr Jo Trigg
Minutes of the Previous Meeting
To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 27 April 2022.
The minutes of the meeting on 27 April 2022 were presented for consideration and it was,
To approve and sign the minutes as a true and correct record.
Declarations of Interests
To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive any announcements through the Chairman.
The Chairman announced that agenda items 6 and 7 would be swapped in order, with the Good Lives Alliance being taken prior to the Internal Audit Reports.
If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. If it is on the day of the meeting registration should be done in person. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.
To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.
Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Thursday 14 July 2022 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Monday 18 July 2022. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.
Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.
No public questions or statements were received.
Good Lives Alliance
To receive a presentation from Helen Jones (Director Procurement and Commissioning) on the Good Lives Alliance in response to a limited assurance audit.
At the Chairman’s invitation Helen Jones (Director Procurement and Commissioning) presented a report on the Good Lives Alliance (GLA) tender process detailing the response to a no assurance audit.
The officer was looking at lessons learned and a commissioning framework that was fit for purpose, and 3 key areas for improvement were identified:
· Business Care
· Provider Performance Monitoring
· Providers and The Council Work in Partnership
A significant amount of work had been undertaken to address the areas identified which were detailed in the agenda report.
In response to questions asked by Members the officer stated that the KPI’s had been reviewed with providers and all providers were onboard with the new process.
In relation to the Council being able to get a sufficient care package in place that met standards, within the budget, it was explained that a cost of care exercise was being undertaken, so the Council would be able to baseline costs. Buying in blocks gave the Council more buying power and that the aim was to get more people into supported living settings as the outcome was better for service users and costs were lower to the Council. A report would be going to Cabinet in October 2022 on the Wiltshire Living Well Strategy. So, there would be strategies in place enabling the Council to set fair costs that would attract providers to the market.
Further details were given on new market oversight system, Provider Assessment & Market Management Solution (PAMMS) and the various modules it contained. Providers had been invited to be part of a pilot group to test how it worked and it was hoped that processes could be co-produced, and providers could undertake self-assessments.
Members highlighted that in terms of the Audit and Governance Committee remit the efficient use of finances, staff time and resources were important.
In response to further questions regarding the sharing of information within PAMMS across the South West group, the officer stated that providers were concerned with commercially sensitive information being shared outside of the Council, this was being looked at in the pilot and details were being worked out. The intention was that general information would be easily accessed and shared, it would also be much easier to pull reports, gather intelligence and to scrutinise using the system.
The Chairman, seconded by Cllr Grant, proposed a motion and it was,
That the Committee note the actions taken in response to the internal audit.
Internal Audit Reports
To consider the:
· 2021/22 Internal Audit Annual Opinion.
· July 2022 Internal Audit Update Paper and Summary of Outstanding Priority 2 Actions.
· 2022/23 Q2 Proposed Audit Plan.
At the Chairman’s invitation, Charlotte Wilson (SWAP) presented the Internal Audit Reports.
2021/22 Internal Audit Opinion
The overall Internal Audit (IA) opinion given for the year 2021/22 was reasonable. 3 significant corporate risks had been identified over the year which was why the opinion was not substantial. 69 separate reviews had been conducted, which had increased from 45 in the previous year as SWAP staff were no longer working on the COVID response.
The SWAP representative took the Committee through the report (which would be taken as read), drawing attention to certain areas such as the purpose of the report, the 3 lines of defence, how IA fits in to the Councils governance framework and what was taken into account in order to form the IA opinion. It was noted that on page 17, the coverage against corporate risk was aligned with the old version of the risk register, which had been used to maintain consistency. Going forward the new risk register would be used (once finalised). SWAP had not undertaken work on the Salisbury Economy as this would be dropping off the risk register. The 2 areas which had only received some coverage (Safeguarding Adults and Corporate Health, Safety and Wellbeing) would be added to the 2022/23 audit plan.
With regard to areas identified as significant corporate risk, all 6 agreed actions had been implemented for the Care Home Alliance and a follow up review was being conducted to gather evidence to give assurance. For Category Management and Procurement Exemptions the actions had not yet reached implementation date so an update would be brought to the next Committee.
Having looked at the work which had taken place, Members stated that work force planning and capacity impacted every area of the Council and could impact delivery of services and the Health and Wellbeing of staff could be an issue, an update on the progress of that work was requested. The SWAP representative explained that this was an advisory (rather than assurance) piece of work. A position statement had been prepared and talks were underway with the Assistant Director HR&OD. The findings of this work would be used going forward to inform the audit plan to make sure it was covered, and assurance gained.
Members also highlighted concerns that all 3 significant risks were procurement and commissioning related and wanted reassurance from officers that the implementation deadlines for the 2 outstanding risks of Category Management and Procurement Exemptions would be met. Further questions were also asked on staff capacity and whether contract exemptions should even exist.
Jon Hopkins (Head of Commercial and Procurement) responded that the team were well on track to meet the deadlines. The officer explained that regarding Procurement Exemptions there had not been adequate processes in place, but the situation had improved from where they were previously. Last year there had been 24 exemptions (with a value of around £5.5 million) that had not been in accordance with the regulations. This year this was down to 12 ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
To receive updates on:
· The Redmond Review
· SWLEP and the Committees role in relation to SWLEP
· National issues holding up accounts
Lizzie Watkin (Assistant Director Finance & Deputy s151) presented the regulatory updates report. There were 3 aspects covered within the report:
Further announcements had been made by government in response to the Redmond Review. This included a new body to oversee the reporting for local councils, the Audit Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA). Plans were also announced to make audit committees compulsory for all councils and include a requirement for at least one independent member to be appointed to that committee.
At a previous meeting, the Committee had already determined to recruit an independent member. The officer explained that an advert had gone out for the role, but no applications were received. The Independent Renumeration Panel had also been convened to look at renumeration for the role, and their recommendation would go to Full Council in October. The process would be run again so that the Committee could get access to independent advice and knowledge.
Further updates were awaited from government, it was possible there would be updates to the code of practise used for the Statement of Accounts. Once received, these would be brought to the Committee and included in any training on the Statement of Accounts.
A review of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) had been undertaken following the reduction of LEPs role in allocating funding and the set up of the Levelling Up Fund and Shared Prosperity Fund. These were indications that Councils would administer more funding and the LEPs role would be in the form of joint working and collaboration, rather than the approval of funding.
In response to questions regarding the SWLEP the officer stated that the council was the administering body for the grant funding for the LEP and that the money flowed through us. So, there was a slightly increased risk exposure and there would also be additional need in terms of Audit. It was thought the council was well placed as it had a lot of experience administering grants. It was confirmed that local authorities were requesting clarity from government on how it would all work, which would reduce the internal audit burden.
Accounts External Audit sign-off
There was a national issue with accounts and for Wiltshire Council the 2019/20 accounts had still not been approved. A consultation had been undertaken by CIPFA with proposals regarding the Infrastructure Asset Accounting and draft guidance issued. An update to the code of practice was expected and this was needed in order to sign off the 2019/20 accounts. It had been due in June 2022 but had not yet been issued. It was still hoped that the External Auditors could sign off the 2019/20 accounts over the summer and then the accounts be approved by the Deputy Chief Executive (S151 Officer) in consultation with the Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee. However, the delay may have an impact on the progress of the 2020/21 and 2021/22 accounts. The November meeting of the Committee was still the current target to approve both those ... view the full minutes text for item 36.
Forward Work Programme
To note the Forward Work Programme
The Forward Work Plan (FWP) was considered. Members discussed adding some of the high risk items from the Internal Audit report. Officers confirmed that SWAP would report back on all the audits and suggested that as many of the audits related to procurement and commissioning, an item could be added to the FWP on the Procurement Improvement Plan.
The Chairman proposed a motion to note the FWP and to add the Procurement Improvement Plan to it, this was seconded by Cllr Gavin Grant, and it was,
To note the FWP and to add the Procurement Improvement Plan to it.
Date of Next Meeting
To note that the next regular meeting of the Committee will be held on 27 September 2022.
The next regular meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee would be held on 27 September 2022.
Any other items of business, which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent or part II items, so the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.