Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Speaking at a Council or Committee meeting

Venue: St Aldate's Room - Oxford Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Jennifer Thompson, Committee and Members Services Officer  email  democraticservices@oxford.gov.uk tel 01865 252275

Items
No. Item

19.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

20.

Risk Management Quarterly Reporting to September 2019 pdf icon PDF 396 KB

Report of: Head of Financial Services

 

Purpose of report: to update the Committee on both corporate and service risks as at 30 September 2019.

 

Recommendation: to note the content of the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Financial Services giving an update on both corporate and service risks as at 30 September 2019.

 

Bill Lewis (Financial Accounting Manager) introduced the report and answered questions. He outlined the likely impact of the increased interest rates on new Public Works Loan Board loans on the council’s housing company and noted that in some cases commercial could now be more attractive to councils seeking to borrow. However the market reaction to the PWLB rate rise is still unknown. The increased costs and uncertainty around borrowing rates for the housing company could affect house supply, which is concerning, but the impact on the council’s housing delivery programme could not currently be predicted.

 

 

The Committee noted the report and answers to questions, and requested for the next meeting:

·         An update Economic growth (reference CRR-03-18-19) - factors adversely affecting the economic growth of the city.

·         A report on Recruitment and retention (reference CRR-034-18-19) - actions taken to mitigate the identified risks around hard to fill roles including the work on recruitment procedures; the process and findings from exit interviews; and on training and development.

 

21.

EY Annual Audit letter for the year ending 31 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 4 MB

Letter of: the external auditor EY.

 

Purpose: to present the annual audit letter following completion of the audit process for the year ended 31 March 2019 and the results and conclusions on significant areas of the audit process.

 

Recommendation: to discuss and note the letter and matters arising from the audit.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the annual audit letter dated August 2019 of the external auditor EY, setting out the audit opinion and findings at the conclusion of the audit of the council’s accounts.

 

The Committee noted that EY had issued an unqualified opinion, with no significant risks found on testing.

 

They were very concerned that EY had completed the audit and signed off on 7 August, a week late. They noted the reputational impact borne by the Council as a result of EY’s lateness.

Adrian Balmer, EY, explained that EY and his team were disappointed that they had not met the deadline and were working prevent a repeat. This was not unique to this Council as 40% of audits in England and Wales completed late this year. The 31 July deadline (that applied this year and in 2018) significantly compressed the audit timetable and there were not sufficient experienced staff to complete the required work over a compressed timescale.

 

The Committee noted that the Head of Financial Services would meet EY to agree the final audit fee, to review the audit process for this year, and to seek assurances that the project plan for next year would result in the audit completing in time.

 

The Committee agreed to note the annual audit letter and the final audit opinion.

22.

Local Government Audit Committee Briefing Quarter 3 September 2019 pdf icon PDF 978 KB

Report of: the external auditor EY.

 

Purpose of report: to inform the Committee about issues which may have an impact on the council and the local government sector.

 

Recommendation: to discuss and note the report.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered and noted the Local Government Audit Committee briefing for Quarter 3 prepared by EY.

 

23.

Internal Audit: Progress update Quarter 2 October 2019 pdf icon PDF 626 KB

Report of: the internal auditor BDO.

 

Purpose of report: to inform the Committee on progress against the 2019-20 audit plan.

 

Recommendation: to discuss and note the report.

 

Report to follow.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the internal auditor (BDO) informing the Audit and Governance Committee of progress made against the 2019/20 internal audit plan.

 

Gurpreet Dulay and Yasmin Ahmed (BDO) presented the report and answered questions on the final audit summaries.

 

(a)  Collection Fund

The Committee noted the summary and the recommendations. 

 

(b)  Health and Safety

The Committee noted that all medium and low risk properties would have an up to date fire risk assessment by the end of January 2020. Assessments for high risk properties were all up to date. The staff induction process had been revised to ensure that these were fully completed in good time.

 

(c)  IT General Controls

The Committee noted the summary and the recommendations.

 

(d)  Investment Properties (2018/19 audit)

The Committee noted that the Council has investments with funds managing property portfolios and had no direct control over these properties. The governance around, and allocations to, investments were regularly reviewed.

Arrears had reduced as a result of better reporting on arrears and monthly meetings between the asset management and debtor teams to agree actions. The debtor team’s resilience had been improved.

 

(e)  Elections

Anita Bradley (Head of Law and Governance) reminded the Committee that the elections team’s priority was to ensure that all polling stations were staffed on the day. Prospective staff would be asked to complete training before being placed on the reserve list for appointments. Voluntary groups hiring out their venues as polling stations should not be faced with complex billing processes.

 

The Committee noted the report and the large number of ‘substantial’ opinions issued.

 

The Committee asked that in future the report includes the management response to medium and high risk findings.

24.

Internal Audit: Recommendation follow up Quarter 2 October 2019 pdf icon PDF 578 KB

Report of: the internal auditor BDO.

 

Purpose of report: to inform the Committee about progress on Internal Audit’s recommendations due for implementation.

 

Recommendation: to discuss and note the report.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the internal auditor (BDO) setting out progress on those recommendations raised by Internal Audit which are due for implementation.

 

Yasmin Ahmed (BDO) presented the report.

 

Neil Markham (Incomes Team Leader) gave an update on implementing the recommendations from the Accounts Receivables audit on sundry debtors invoicing and outlined the work on embedding due diligence processes.

 

The Committee noted that, while the recommendation on budget management was not complete, discussions with budget managers had taken place and training sessions were being scheduled.

 

The Committee agreed to note the report.

 

25.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 336 KB

To approve as a true and accurate record the minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2019.

Minutes:

The Committee agreed to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2019 as a true and accurate record.

26.

Dates and times of meetings

The Committee is scheduled to meet at 6.00pm in the Town Hall on the following dates:

 

9 January 2020

9 March 2020

 

 

Minutes:

The Committee noted the dates and times of future meetings.