Agenda and minutes

Audit and Governance Committee - Monday, 10th August, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: A link to the meeting can be found on the front page of the agenda.. View directions

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No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


An apology for absence was received from Cllr David Gray.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2020.


The minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2020 were confirmed and signed.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


No declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests were made at the meeting.


Public Participation

To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee from town and parish councils and members of the public.


Please note that public speaking has been suspended during the Covid-19 crisis. Each question or statement is limited to no more than 450 words and must be electronically submitted to by the deadline set out below.


The question or statement will be read out by an officer of the Council and a response will be given by the appropriate Portfolio Holder at the meeting. All questions/statements and the responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting.


The deadline for submission of the full text of a question or statement is 8.30am on Thursday 6 August 2020.


There were no representations from parish or town councils or from members of the public.


Dorset Council EU Exit Preparations pdf icon PDF 311 KB

To receive an update from the Executive Director of Place with regard to preparations being made by Dorset Council in respect of the EU Exit.


The Committee received a presentation from the Executive Director of Place, which highlighted the areas of risk as detailed on the EU Exit Risk Register along with the implications for Dorset Council and the Economy of Dorset.    The presentation is attached to these minutes as an annexure.


The Executive Director advised that as Britain had now left the EU, we were in a transitional period and in the D20 period.  This was the period when preparations needed to be finished.   The various extensions granted had enabled more time and thought to be put into the preparations and the level of support from the Government had stepped up.  He noted that various plans and communications had now been completed.


In respect of business support Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council had jointly funded a post at the Chamber of Commerce and regular updates had been received as a result of this.


The EU Exit Update Risk Register was highlighted to members and one of the direct risks was the issue of transferring data between the EU and the UK and the data protection law was critical to this information. The Government asked councils to review where data was being housed.  Mitigations and plans now been developed to manage the risks for Dorset Council’s data.


The Service Manager for Assurance highlighted the potential for a concurrent event and highlighted the potential for rebranding for D20.


Cllr Pipe noted that there were 34 medium risks and 16 low risks and considered if there were any complications arising from this.  The Service Manager for Assurance advised that realistically a number of the risks would stay at the medium level as they had a higher level of impact on the organisation. Some would be reduced and some would sit naturally at the medium level. Some things may become clearer as time passes which was why it was important to keep the Register under review.  The Executive Director explained that COVID had produced a slowdown of the flow of goods, and this had therefore given the opportunity to assess the impact of such a situation under EU Exit.  The more difficult issue to assess at the current time is the labour market impacts particularly in respect of the care sector which is being kept under close review by the service.  Following a question about members’ corporate parenting responsibilities and whether the council could apply on behalf of a young person for them to stay in the county, the Executive Director undertook to ask the Executive Director for Children to respond on this outside of the meeting.


In response to a question from the Chairman about whether the 34 medium risks were broadly mixed, the Service Manager for Assurance advised that not one of the themes had a significant number of risks and that they were broadly spread.


Cllr Parkes asked about any budgetary implications for the Council having to take over additional regulatory actions.  The Executive Director advised that this work within these had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.


Value for Money - Policies and Procedures pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director for Corporate Development.


Members considered a report from the Executive Director for Corporate Development which set out a proposal to develop a value for money framework and timeline setting out how to implement value for money (vfm) benchmarking of all services to feed into a prioritisation exercise for conducting fundamental value for money reviews of the all the council’s services


The Executive Director for Corporate Development advised members that whilst at present the Council did not have a systematic approach to reviewing every service in relation to vfm, this did not mean that there was no work going on.  A range of work was underway to deliver value for money in different service areas but more work needed to be done to ensure this was consistent across the council so that effective assurance could be provided.


Following a comment from Cllr Christopher regarding the concept of best value he asked how many council officers were members of the Chartered Institute of Public Procurement.  The Head of Business Insight undertook to respond to this outside of the meeting.  She advised that the method being proposed was very similar to the approach of best value it was a sound basis of how to carry out fundamental reviews. A lot of this activity was already going on within the council, it just needed to be brought together to provide assurance and to give a consistent approach. Cllr Christopher felt it would be helpful to share the documents from the Chartered Institute for members.


Cllr Heatley would have liked to have seem some examples of measures but felt this would come in due course.  He noted that the introduction of the 4th principle was not mentioned in the recommendation and questioned if this went wider than ongoing services i.e. climate change.  The Head of Business Insight advised officers were looking at service planning and how it linked to vfm along with equality impact assessments.  They were also looking at an equality and diversity strategy and there would be links between this and those actions.


Following a question from the Chairman about if following a decision from the Cabinet would this item come back to Audit for assurance, the Head of Business Insight advised that once the timeline was in place work would be undertaken regarding engagement with members and the links with performance reporting.


The Vice Chairman highlighted the need to challenge ourselves to perhaps think differently.  He asked about the need to challenge any part of our service that has been outsourced.   The Head of Business Insight confirmed outsourced activities would also be looked at.  She added that the matrix approach was helpful and enabled the process of asking questions to begin. 


Following a question from Cllr Christopher about engaging with local business and contractors to encourage them to tender for council work, the Executive Director for Corporate Development highlighted all the different ranges within the council along with differing procurement regulations but assured members officers were keen to spend local.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To consider the work programme for the Committee.


The Committee’s Forward Plan was reviewed.


The Chairman highlighted that the proposed agenda for the September meeting was looking quite full and asked if this was achievable or whether an additional meeting would be required.  The Executive Director for Corporate Development felt it could be achieved within the 3 hour timescale but it might be helpful to alert members that the meeting might continue into the afternoon if necessary.


In advance of the Annual Council meeting in September, the Chairman thanked the members of the Committee and the officers for all the work that had been undertaken to ensure the smooth running of the committee.


Urgent items

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.


There were no urgent items of business.