Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Remote meeting, please click on the link below or copy and paste this link in your browser https://youtu.be/8UntuPMBiLEdate

Contact: Richard Woods, Democratic and Elections  Email: democracy@cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk 01327 322043

Link: Please click here to view this meeting online

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 12 March 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 12 March 2020 were agreed as a correct record to be signed by the Chairman in due course.  

 

3.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chairman.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed back Maria Grindley, of Ernst & Young LLP, who was returning to South Northamptonshire Council’s External Audit Team.

 

On behalf of the Committee, the Chairman congratulated Martin Henry, Executive Director – Finance on his appointment as the Interim Section 151 Officer for the West Northamptonshire Shadow Unitary Authority, which would be confirmed at the Shadow Full Council meeting on 2 June 2020.

 

4.

Urgent Business

The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no items of Urgent Business.

 

5.

Quarterly Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report - March 2020 pdf icon PDF 972 KB

Report of the Assistant Director – Customers and Corporate Services

 

Please note, that the report and appendices will be to follow.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the Quarterly Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report be noted.  

 

(2)  That, having given due consideration, the Leadership Risk Register be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Assistant Director – Customers and Corporate Services and the Strategic Business Partner which summarised the Council’s Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring position as at the end of the 2019-20 financial year. 

 

In introducing the report, the Assistant Director – Customers and Corporate Services explained that the overall business plan performance measures remained positive, however Leadership Risk L01 ‘’Financial Resilience’’ had increased from low risk to medium risk due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the Council’s finances.

 

In response to questions from the Committee regarding the financial pressures on the Council as a result of COVID-19, the Executive Director – Finance advised that an overall financial pressure of approximately £700k was currently forecast, however it was unknown whether central Government would provide any further financial support to Councils during the COVID-19 recovery phase.  

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the Quarterly Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report be noted. 

 

(2)  That, having given due consideration, the Leadership Risk Register be noted.

 

6.

Internal Audit Update 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Report of the Executive Director – Finance

 

Purpose of report

 

To receive the CW Audit Service Update Report for 2019/20.

 

Recommendations

 

The meeting is recommended:

            

1.1    To note the contents of the 2019/20 Internal Audit progress report from CW Audit Services.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the 2019/20 Internal Audit Progress Report from CW Audit be noted.

 

(2)  That CW Audit be requested to bring forward an updated Recommendations Tracker to the next meeting of the Committee.

Minutes:

The Executive Director – Finance submitted a report which detailed the latest CW Audit Service Update for 2019/20.

 

In presenting the report, CW Audit, the Council’s internal auditor, advised that the final audit reports for Risk Management, Budget Management & Reporting, Finance Systems and Anti-Fraud & Corruption had recently been completed, with the levels of assurance having been graded as ‘significant’ for Risk Management, Finance Systems and Anti-Fraud & Corruption, and ‘full’ for Budget Monitoring & Reporting.

 

In response to questions from Members regarding ongoing audit reports, the Internal Auditor explained that an audit report was still in progress for Payroll, pending the results of further systems testing. The Internal Auditor advised that further audit reports into Council Tax, Business Rates and Benefits had been carried forward due to business interruption caused by COVID-19.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the 2019/20 Internal Audit Progress Report from CW Audit be noted.

 

(2)  That CW Audit be requested to bring forward an updated Recommendations Tracker to the next meeting of the Committee.

7.

External Audit Plan 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Report of the Executive Director – Finance

 

Purpose of report

 

To receive the Ernst & Young LLP Audit Plan for 2020/21.

 

Recommendations

            

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1    To note the contents of the 2020/21 External Audit Plan from Ernst & Young LLP.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the 2020/21 External Audit Plan from Ernst & Young LLP be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Executive Director – Finance submitted a report which detailed the External Audit Plan for 2020/21 by Ernst & Young LLP.

 

The External Auditor provided an overview of the 2020/21 External Audit Plan, which identified a number of potential risks surrounding financial misstatements due to fraud or error. The External Auditor explained that that the audit would be undertaken with the necessary degree of professional scepticism to ensure the integrity, impartiality and effectiveness of the External Audit Plan.

 

In response to questions from Members regarding potential negative impacts of COVID-19 on the valuation of the Council’s land and buildings, the External Auditor advised that some valuations may be subjected to ongoing material uncertainty within the property market, particularly in cases where valuations and physical checks on properties had been unable to proceed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the 2020/21 External Audit Plan from Ernst & Young LLP be noted.

 

8.

Treasury Management Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Report of the Executive Director – Finance

 

Purpose of report

 

This report presents information on treasury management performance and compliance with treasury management policy during 2019/20 as required by the Treasury Management Code of Practice.

 

Recommendations

 

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1      To note the contents of this report in line with the Treasury Management Strategy.

 

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the Treasury Management Annual Report for 2019/20 be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Executive Director – Finance, which presented information on treasury management performance and compliance with treasury management policy during 2019/20 as required by the Treasury Management Code of Practice.

 

In introducing the report, the Executive Director – Finance explained that the outturn for treasury investment income received in 2019/20 was £306k on an average credit portfolio of £33.4m at an average interest rate of 0.90%, against a budgeted £342k investment income receivable.

 

In response to questions from the Committee regarding borrowing activity, the Executive Director – Finance advised that as at 31 March 2020, the Council had short-borrowing of £3m for one month and matured on  20 April 2020. 

 

The Executive Director – Finance agreed to circulate the Schedule of Investments held by South Northamptonshire Council as at 31 March 2020 to Members of the Committee.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the Treasury Management Annual Report for 2019/20 be noted.

 

9.

Review of Committee Work Programme

To review and note the Committee Work Programme.

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That, subject to the addition of an item relating to the Sign Off Process for the 2020-21 Accounts to the 17 September 2020 meeting, the Committee Work Plan be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Executive Director – Finance provided a verbal update on the Committee Work Plan for 2020/21.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That, subject to the addition of an item relating to the Sign Off Process for the 2020-21 Accounts to the 17 September 2020 meeting, the Committee Work Plan be noted.

 

10.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The following items contain exempt information as defined in the following paragraphs of Part 1, Schedule 12A of Local Government Act 1972.

 

7 – Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.

 

Members are reminded that whilst the following items have been marked as exempt, it is for the meeting to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public. In making the decision, Members should balance the interests of individuals or the Council itself in having access to the information. In considering their discretion members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers.

 

Should Members decide not to make a decision in public, they are recommended to resolve as follows:

 

“That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following items)of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraphs 7 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

 

 

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraphs 7 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

11.

Progress of Counter Fraud Service

Exempt Report of the Senior Investigation Officer – Corporate Fraud Team

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the exempt report be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Senior Investigating Officer – Corporate Fraud Team submitted an exempt report which provided Members with an overview of the progress to date of the Council’s counter-fraud response following the delegation of authority in July 2018 to Oxford City Council.

 

Members of the Committee asked detailed questions of the report, which were duly answered by Officers.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the exempt report be noted.