Agenda item

Risk Management Policy (Agenda item 11)

Report of Councillor Sarah Suggitt, Executive Member for Governance and Maxine O’Mahony, Executive Director for Strategy & Governance.


Jason Cole, Executive Manager for People & Innovation and Ryan Pack, Innovation and Change Business Partner will be in attendance to present the report.


Ryan Pack, the Innovation & Change Business Partner presented the report.


Jason Cole, the Executive Manager for People & Innovation was also in attendance.


Members were provided with a brief overview of the report. 


The Risk Management Policy was seen as a best practice example by the External Auditors for the rest of the audit consortium but was in need of renewal.


The Council was currently in the process of recruiting a temporary Performance Framework Manager to identify, enhance and implement a new framework across the Council.


The Innovation & Change Business Partner was content with the Policy as it stood but if a decision was made to formally review the Policy for a further 18 months, this would limit the scope of the Performance Framework Manager’s role and could result in them either being unable to make alterations to the Risk Policy or having to provide and entirely new Policy for approval.  It was therefore proposed that a shorter extension be given to the current risk management framework of six months instead of 18 months.


The Chairman asked what the new Manager’s timeframe would be to complete this work.  The Innovation & Change Business Partner informed Members that a six-month extension was being proposed but both he and the Executive Manager for People & Innovation were committed to looking at the framework themselves if the post was not filled.


The Vice-Chairman felt that the recommendation was rather open ended and suggested that it should also include a further recommendation to be brought back to the Governance & Audit Committee in September for review.


Mr Plaskett had read on page 57 of the agenda pack that the Council’s Policy was seen as best practice by the External Audit Team which, in his opinion, meant that the current Policy was in good shape and was acceptable but felt that six months was not long enough due to the fact that the Council was finding it difficult to recruit to this temporary post. 


Mr Plaskett also pointed out a couple of minor typing errors on page 57 at section 1.5 and on page 60 of the agenda pack where it stated that “Where an operational risk retains a high-risk score despite mitigation for three quarterly reporting periods it will be escalated to become a strategic risk”, he was not aware that this had ever happened and asked if the Internal Auditors looked through this as part of their process to ensure that this transpired.


The Internal Audit Manager confirmed that this did happen and asked Members to cast their minds back to a previous risk management audit review where a number of recommendations had been raised in that regard and thus ensuring the process was followed in accordance with the Policy.


Councillor Morton asked for clarification on section 1.2 of the report where it stated that the Policy had been recognised as best practice, yet the Council was now seeking to set up a whole new structure. He felt that if everyone was happy with the current Policy and that it could be modified was that not sufficient.


The Innovation & Change Business Partner stated that he would not want to extend this Policy for 18 months and then following recruitment further suggestions would then have to be brought back to Committee.


The Executive Manager for People & Innovation advised that there were a number of operational opportunities that sat under this framework, along with software and felt that this was a fitting time and opportunity to look at this again and continue best practice.  This had to be looked at every year to consider the operational elements that sat underneath the framework as well as the framework itself.  He explained the current system used called Pentana and the opportunities to get more out of this system as currently used. He also explained the role and remit of the temporary post. 


The Vice-Chairman felt that section 1.2 should be reworded to read: “the policy is recognised as current best practice”.


Councillor Monument had been searching the Policy to see where 18 months was mentioned and had found it at the top of page 71 under Section 19 where it stated that: “The Framework will be reviewed by the Governance & Audit Committee on an 18- month basis.”.  She asked if an amendment should be made to this section to read: “on an 18-month basis or sooner if appropriate”.


The Chairman felt that given this was a general policy he believed that a specific review was being requested and was content to leave the wording as it was.


Councillor James asked if a simpler recommendation could be added and suggested that the review be deferred until September 2021.


The Chairman disagreed with the aforementioned suggestion as this would mean that the Council would not have a Risk Management Policy in place.


Councillor Monument felt that if the current recommendation was agreed additional wording should be added, such as: “… this year and an additional review to take place at the Governance & Audit Committee meeting in September 2021”.


This suggestion was proposed and seconded, and it was:


RESOLVED to RECOMMEND to Full Council that the draft Risk Management Policy be adopted in this year and an additional review take place at the Governance & Audit Committee meeting in September 2021.

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