Agenda and draft minutes

Dorset Council - Audit and Governance Committee
Friday, 26th July, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room A/B, South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester, DT1 1EE

Contact: Lindsey Watson  01305 252209 - Email: lindsey.watson@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

6.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 28 June 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 June 2019 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

7.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

8.

Public Participation

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

Minutes:

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

9.

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.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

10.

Outturn Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 372 KB

To consider the Outturn Report for 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee received a report which contained financial performance and position information for Dorset Council’s six predecessor authorities for the year ended 31 March 2019.  The report summarised the performance against budget and the impact this had had on each council’s closing position.  It also set out the impact of the outturn and other relevant events on general balances, other reserves and the financial position transferring to Dorset Council on 1 April 2019.

 

In addition, the report described work in progress to transition the six sovereign councils’ financial positions into a single system and a target date for achieving this.

 

A presentation was provided at the meeting which outlined the key aspects of the approval process.

 

Councillors considered the issues arising from the report and presentation and during discussion the following points were raised:

 

·                The Executive Director of Corporate Development provided an update on staffing relevant to the Finance area and paid tribute to officers for the work they had done in preparing the accounts for the former Councils

·                Councillor Peter Wharf attended the committee in the absence of the Finance, Commercial and Assets Portfolio Holder

·                The role of the Audit and Governance Committee was to seek assurance that the organisation had a proportionate and appropriate level of governance in place for the preparation of the accounts, which included an internal and external audit process.  At the meeting, councillors had the opportunity to ask questions of the auditor before a decision was taken to sign off the accounts

·                There were a number of qualifications from the External Auditor in some of the accounts and the committee had to make a judgement as to how the recommendations would be taken forward.  It was noted that not all accounts could be signed off at this meeting as there were elements of audit work to be completed

·                Feedback was also sought from the committee with regard to the process generally and the information required by councillors, which would feed into next year’s process

·                A question was asked with regard to the transfer of reserves from the former Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to Weymouth Town Council.  In response it was confirmed that a number of reserves had been shared with the town council and that the Shadow Executive Committee had agreed to transfer £0.5m to the town council.  Some general funding had been set aside for the setting up of the town council with some additional funding earmarked for specific items

·                A similar point was raised with regard to Portland Town Council and this would be picked up following the meeting

·                In respect of the External Audit report for Dorset County Council, the External Auditor had concluded that expenditure had not been materially mis-stated

·                A discussion was held with regard to the figures given in the External Audit report for academies and it was confirmed that the reports contained a best estimate for deficits associated with academies.  Evidence would need to be given to Cabinet in respect of this

·                Reference was made to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Internal Audit Annual Opinion Reports 2018/19 for Dorset County Council, Dorset Councils Partnership, Purbeck District Council and East Dorset District Council pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To receive the Internal Audit Annual Opinion Reports 2018/19 for Dorset County Council, Dorset Councils Partnership, Purbeck District Council and East Dorset District Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee was presented with the Internal Audit Annual Opinion Reports for 2018/19 for the predecessor councils comprising Dorset County Council (DCC), Dorset Councils Partnership (DCP), Purbeck District Council (PDC) and East Dorset District Council (EDDC).  It was noted that South West Audit Partnership (SWAP) had delivered the Internal Audit services for both DCC and DCP and as such had provided the annual audit opinions contained within the reports for these predecessor councils.  The audit opinions for PDC and EDDC had been provided by legacy staff working for those Councils and had been included for reference and completeness purposes. They did not form part of SWAP’s internal audit annual opinion.

 

The overall internal audit assurance opinion for the year, for both the former Dorset County Council (DCC) and Dorset Councils Partnership (DCP) was ‘Reasonable’, in line with previous years. A caveat was provided to this, in that there were a number of key areas of Children’s Services that over the course of the year internal audit were unable to complete audit work, and therefore could only provide limited assurance over this area

 

The Assistant Director highlighted some key areas from the DCC annual opinion report, including details of two significant risks highlighted by internal audit within the 2018/19 year, as well as four recommendations that had been ‘risk accepted’ by management.

 

Members considered the issues arising from the report and a point was raised with regard to instances where there was a differing view between Internal Audit (SWAP) and External Audit (Deloitte) in relation to financial reviews at the former DCP .  In response it was noted that Internal Audit and External Audit would approach work with a different scope and that there were some issues that External Audit would cover and there would not be an expectation that these areas would be covered by Internal Audit.

 

In response to a question, it was noted that there may be a need for a future internal audit review of high cost placements.

12.

Dorset Council - Report of Internal Audit Activity - Plan Progress 2019/20 - July 2019 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive a report of the South West Audit Partnership.

Minutes:

The committee received the South West Audit Partnership (SWAP) Report of Internal Audit Activity – Plan Progress report for 2019/20.

 

Members noted a number of outstanding recommendations in respect of IT data handling and it was noted that this reinforced how much work was required in the area of IT.

 

In response to a question regarding the amount of audit (both internal and external audit) savings achieved through the creation of Dorset Council, it was noted that the new Authority would see annual savings of £183,000 in respect of audit work.

13.

Draft Audit and Governance Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 268 KB

To consider the draft Audit and Governance Committee Work Programme for 2019/20.

 

To note the following additional reserve dates for the Audit and Governance Committee for 2019/20:

 

14 October 2019

7 November 2019

16 January 2020

11 February 2020

23 April 2020

Minutes:

Members noted the draft work programme for the Audit and Governance Committee for 2019/20, which set out the items to be considered at each meeting.

 

Members noted that the following additional reserve dates for the committee had been put in place for 2019/20:

 

14 October 2019

7 November 2019

16 January 2020

11 February 2020

23 April 2020

14.

Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph x of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.

 

There is no exempt business.

Minutes:

There was no exempt business.