Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE
Contact: Alison Marston
APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN
It was noted that the Annual Council Meeting held on 20 May 2019, Councillor G. Michaelides was appointed Chairman and Councillor S. Markiewicz was Vice Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year 2019-2020.
It was noted that Councillor G.Michaelides was appointed Chairman of the Committee and S.Markiewicz Vice Chairman for the 2019/20 municipal year at the Annual Council Meeting on 20 May 2019.
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2019 (previously circulated).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS
To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on this agenda.
Councillor L.Chesterman declared a non-pecuniary interest in items on the agenda as appropriate by virtue of being a Member of Hertfordshire County Council.
Report of the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) which details the overall opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s control environment.
Report of the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) which provided details of the overall opinion on the adequacy and the effectiveness of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s control environment. Reference was made to significant matters and key themes. It showed the outcomes of the self-assessment against the Public Sector Internal Audit standards (PSIAS) incorporating the requirements of the Quality Assurance and Improvement programme (QAIP). It also presented the 2019/20 Audit Charter.
The following points were raised and discussed:
• The Public Health Audit has been deferred to the next report (figures in section 3.2 to be amended to reflect that and show total number of reports to be 29, one of which is not finalised).
• Both performance targets were achieved this year
• The “Satisfactory” assurance in section 2.11 of the report is a very sound outcome.
(1) Members noted the Annual Assurance Statement and Internal Audit Annual Report.
(2) Noted the results of the self-assessment required by the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS) and the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme (QAIP).
(3) Accept the SIAS Audit Charter.
(4) Seek management assurance that the scope and resources for internal audit were not subject to inappropriate limitations in 2018/19. It should be noted that management confirmed this was the case during the meeting.
Report of the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) which provides details on the progress made by SIAS in delivering the Council’s Annual Audit Plan for 2019/20 as at 8 June 2019.
Report of the Shared Internal Audit Service (SIAS) which provided details on the progress made by SIAS in delivering the Council’s Annual Audit Plan for 2019/20 as at 8 June 2019. It also provided findings for the period 8 March 2019 to 8 June 2019 and details of changes to the planned start dates of audits from the approved 2019.20 Audit Plan.
The Audit Committee receives periodic updates of progress against the Annual Internal Audit Plan. This was the first report giving feedback on delivery of the 2019/20 Audit Plan.
The committee were advised that high priority recommendations will come through the Audit Committee, with medium priority recommendations exceeding target dates or not being implemented also coming through. There is a contingency within the Audit Plan to enable additions to the work programme if matters arise during the year.
(1) Members noted the Internal Audit Progress Report for the period to 8 June 2019 and
(2) Noted the status of internal audit recommendations and the management response.
Report of the Chief Executive which presents the draft Annual Governance Statement.
Report of the Chief Executive on the draft Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for the financial year 2018/19. The draft AGS, as attached at Appendix A had been compiled in accordance with best practice set out in the CIPFA/SOLACE Guidance Framework ‘Delivering Good Governance in Local Government’.
The officer explained that, as in previous years, the AGS had been prepared by the council’s Governance Group, chaired by Chief Executive. There were no significant findings to bring to members’ attention however they were asked to note the action plan in section 4.
(1) That the Audit Committee considers and approves the Draft Annual Governance Statement.
(2) Authorises the Chief Executive, in conjunction with the Leader of the Council, to make any subsequent amendments to the Draft Annual Governance Statement necessitated by the comments made by the Audit Committee,
(3) That the Audit Committee recommends its certification by the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive.
Report of Ernst & Young LLP which summarises the findings from the 2018/2019 audit, also includes messages arising from their audit of the Council’s financial statements and results of the work they have undertaken to assess their arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources.
Members received a report which provided them with the Audit Results report that had been prepared by Ernst and Young LLP.
The report noted that subject to concluding the outstanding matters listed in the report it was expected that an unqualified audit opinion on the financial statements would be issued prior to the statutory deadline of 31 July 2019. There were no matters to report on the arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources.
It was noted that the Council’s General Fund valuer was changed following a procurement exercise and that capital assets valuation is always an area of audit focus. There is a national issue in relation to valuation of pension liabilities: the conclusion of currently ongoing McCloud case should lead to all councils considering impact on their pensions.
The Audit Committee thanked the Finance Team for all their hard work and Ernst and Young LLP for the accounts.
That the contents of the report provided by Ernst and Young LLP be noted.
Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) presenting the Statement of Accounts for approval.
Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the Statement of Accounts following conclusion of the external audit. There were no material changes to the accounting policies for the 2019/20 accounts.
The content of the accounts was largely determined by statutory requirements and mandatory professional standards as set out within The Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting (The Code) and the Service Reporting Code of Practice (SeRCOP) published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
The Officers reported that the production of the accounts and final audit work had gone very well and that the 2018/19 accounts were presented with an unqualified opinion with no material changes to the accounts.
As there were still some minor outstanding issues to be resolved with external audit, Audit Committee was asked to delegate authority to agree the accounts.
That the Audit Committee agree to grant delegated authority to Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) in consultation with the Chairman of the Audit Committee to approve the Statement of Accounts for 2018/19 and to sign the letter of representation.