Quarter 1 Governance Report - Risks (Agenda Item 9)
- Meeting of Annual Governance Report, Governance and Audit Committee, Friday, 30th September, 2011 10.00 am (Item 58.)
Report of the Governance & Performance Accountant.
The Governance and Performance Accountant presented the report and advised that due to the changes to the Senior Management structure of the Council, the report had been delayed. The new Business Plan process would start in October and a new Strategic Risk Register would be presented to the next meeting.
Lady Fisher raised concerns about Strategic Housing particularly with reference to HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) and CBL (Choice Based Letting). She said there had been a lot of debate amongst local landlords.
She was asked to collate the evidence and feed it into the system and the Governance and Performance Accountant agreed to look into it and report to a future meeting. He said it was very useful to be pre-warned of possible future risks.
Some new risks had been added to the report including the PFI Contract, on page 54.
Mr Kybird asked about the Unitary Charge and the Assistant Director Finance explained that the charge was a monthly ‘all in’ payment to contractors covering capital and running costs. It was an existing risk that had been updated to reflect the current position.
Mr Jermy asked about the additional money for homelessness identified on page 64. He asked if that money was ring-fenced as he was aware of proposals to reduce the number of officers in the Homelessness Team. He could not understand why such a reduction would be necessary if more money was available.
The Assistant Director Finance advised that the risk was associated with the Grant Settlement as it was not known how much that would be and it would not be received until January/February 2012 which did not help with long term planning.
The Chief Executive confirmed that the money was not ring-fenced and that it was up to the Council to decide how it was spent. Previously an amount had been allocated specifically to Homelessness.
Mr Jermy thought that if the Council was making a conscious decision to move money away from Homelessness it would be creating a risk.
The Chairman thought Mr Jermy had raised a good point and asked the Housing Department to explain what happened to the money.<1>
Mr Ludlow asked if it was right to close the Pension Risk (page 55) and absorb it with another. He asked if it would ‘get lost’.
The Assistant Director Finance did not think so. There were no significant changes in the contribution rates for Local Authorities and the further changes proposed were likely to provide downward pressure on the risk.
Mr Ludlow explained that in the Private Sector it had become a real risk rather than a technical accounting movement and had had a massive impact on investments. However, if the Assistant Director Finance was happy he had no further concerns.
The Assistant Director Finance said that there was a difference between the Public and Private Sector and cash impacts were managed through contribution rates rather than through the accounting system.
The Governance and Performance Accountant drew attention to the risk on page 57 of a drop in rental income. Discussions had taken place with the Asset Department and about 20,000 square feet of commercial floorspace was coming back to the Council. They were therefore adopting a more pro-active marketing approach.
The Chairman pointed out that everyone had a higher risk of failure due to the economic climate and that the Council needed to instil confidence in the community. It managed its assets well and he hoped it would continue to do so.
The report was noted.