Agenda and minutes

Venue: Breckland Conference Centre, The Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE

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No. Item


Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, 24 June 2021.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2021 were confirmed as a correct record; subject to the following amendments:


Minute No. 28/21: Strategic & Annual Internal Audit Plan (pages 15 & 16 of the agenda pack):


·       first sentence to read: “more details on….”


·       5th paragraph, final sentence to remove the words ‘this matter’ to read: “”as the Committee preferred to have more assurance in this area, this matter further conversation would be had with the IT Manager”.


·       2nd sentence should have had an action against it for the appropriate Officer to follow up this request – “It was agreed, however, that a risk assessment would be carried out on this matter” (the Digital Strategy).


Referring to the last bullet point, and as it was in respect of the Strategic & Annual Audit Plan, the Chairman presumed it would be the Internal Audit Manager who should follow this up and would be informed accordingly.



Actions arising from the Minutes (if any) (standing item) (Agenda item 2)


As mentioned under Minute No. 34/21 the following action would be forwarded to the Internal Audit Manager for an update.


  • 2nd sentence – It was agreed; however, that a risk assessment would be carried out on the Digital Strategy.


There were no other actions arising from the Minutes.


Apologies (Agenda item 3)

To receive apologies for absence.


An apology for absence was received from Councillor Clarke.


Urgent Business ((Agenda item 4)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.




Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 5)

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.



None declared.


Non-members wishing to address the meeting (Agenda item 6)

To note the names of any non-members wishing to address the meeting.


Councillor Sarah Suggitt and Councillor Timothy Birt were in attendance.


Councillor Suggitt, the Executive Member for Planning Leisure & Contracts was in attendance in her role as the Portfolio Holder for contract management.


Training (Standing item) (Agenda item 7)

To note if there are any training issues/ requests.


Alison Chubbock, the Assistant Director of Finance & S151 Officer reminded Members that the Treasury Management training had been discussed at the last meeting and she asked the Committee whether they would prefer face to face or virtual training.


Councillor Birt asked if he could participate in the training as a non-Member of the Committee.


The Chairman pointed out that this training would be open to all Members who expressed an interest, and it would be held face to face.  A date had yet to be confirmed.



Constitution – Contract Procedure Rules (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 526 KB

Report of Maxine O’Mahony, Executive Director Strategy & Resources and Anton Bull, Procurement & Contracts Manager.


Anton Bull, the Procurement & Contract Manager presented the report.


Members were being asked to consider proposed amendments to the Contracts Procedure Rules and the associated log of delegations to Officers.


The Contract Procedure Rules formed part of the Constitution and were about providing a framework to reduce risk in the Council’s procurement process and to provide an open, fair and transparent way to procure goods services.  The rules were there for a number of reasons, they protected the Council and Officers making those decisions and made it a fair process for suppliers – in compliance with Government processes. 


This was a relatively routine update to the Contract Procedure Rules and there were no radicle changes except for a couple of key points, one being the Audit report that came out in March as a result from the partnership split from South Holland and the UK’s departure from the EU.


Councils were governed by the Public Contracts Regulations which in turn had previously been governed by the European Public Procurement Directive and these changes came about as a result from the departure from the EU (see section 3.0 and Appendix B of the report).


As a consequence to the changes to the Contract Procedure Rules, there were a number of subsequent changes required to the Officer delegations.  Procurement matters were an Executive function and formed part of the Cabinet’s responsibilities and to allow the affective working of procurement Cabinet had delegated a number of matters to Officers and those delegations needed to be updated as a result. 


The Contract Procedure Rules were a subset of the Finance Procedure Rules but in the current version the numbering had gone slightly askew and therefore a tidying up exercise was required (see section 3.2 of the report).


Mr Plaskett, the Independent Lay Advisor, had noticed on page 40 of the agenda pack, although very logical and clear, that one of the EU procurement thresholds was still showing on the table - £75,000 up to EU Procurement Threshold - and asked if this should be removed.


Councillor Monument queried the wording on page 39 of the agenda pack under the heading Competition Requirements and felt that under section 9.1.3 some wording had been crossed out by mistake. Also on page 38, she queried the term ‘call-off’ under section 8.2.3. 


Members were informed that a ‘call-off’ was a term that was used in relation to the Framework Agreement.  The Procurement & Contracts Managers explained that he had removed the term ‘standing lists’ as they had now become Framework Agreements, an explanation was then provided.


Councillor Birt referred to page 32 of the agenda pack under 1.1.1 and felt that the word ‘are’ in that sentence should be changed to ’have’.   He appreciated that the ‘economically advantageous contribution’ had stemmed from the Public Contracts Regulations but when it mentioned ‘economically’ did that mean the UK economy or Breckland’s economy and asked how this was going to be measured and should it be termed as ‘financially’ rather than ‘economically’.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41/21


CIPFA Financial Management (FM) code (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Report of Maxine O'Mahony, Executive Director Strategy and Resources & Alison Chubbock, Assistant Director of Finance & S151 Officer.


Additional documents:


Alison Chubbock, the Assistant Director of Finance & S151 Officer presented the report that provided Members with an update on the CIPFA Financial Management (FM) Code and the progress against the Code to date for information.


This Code had recently been designed to support good practice in financial management standards.  An analysis had been carried out by the Finance Team and the red, amber, green (RAG) rating showed that this Council was doing well against this Code in most areas but there was room for some improvement.  Referring to page 55 of the agenda pack, a summary of the actions that the Finance Team would take over the coming months to bring the Council up to a ‘green’ performance in all areas were highlighted. 


On page 54 of the agenda pack, Councillor James pointed out spelling errors under ‘J’ and ‘O’ on Appendix A.


The Chairman was pleased to note that this Council broadly conformed with the new Code and looking at the areas that were highlighted on the ‘RAG’ rating he felt there were no major structural concerns in terms of performance. As one of the few local authorities that did not have any net borrowing needs to fund, he imagined that compared to some authorities, this Council was at less risk.  In terms of the timetable, he asked if this report would either have to be approved by this Committee or be recommended to Full Council for approval. 


Members were informed that approval was not required at this stage, but for the current financial year 2021/22 this would form part of the audit of accounts that this Committee would be asked to approve, and Ernst & Young the Council’s External Auditors, would audit progress against this Code.


The report and progress against the CIPFA FM Code was otherwise noted.



Un-audited statement of accounts 2020-21 (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Report of Maxine O'Mahony, Executive Director, Strategy & Resources andAlison Chubbock, Assistant Director of Finance & S151 Officer.

Additional documents:


Alison Chubbock, the Assistant Director of Finance & S151 Officer presented the report for Members comments and information.


The draft accounts had been presented to Ernst & Young (E&Y) the Council’s External Auditors for audit and it also included the Annual Governance Statement.  Once it had been audited, this Committee would be asked to approve both the accounts and the Annual Governance Statement hopefully at the September meeting if E&Y had completed their audit work.


The Accounting Policies had been approved at the February meeting, since then there had been some minor changes and these could be found at section 1.2 of the report.


The main message for Members was that these were very unusual accounts, in unusual times and many of the comparisons to prior years looked very different.  This had been mainly due to the Government grants for Covid of over £50m that the Council had received and given out to businesses and Government grants that had off-set lost income from business rates through the retail, hospitality & leisure discounts that were still held in the Council’s accounts.


There was a new note, note 31 in the accounts that tried to explain those oddities and that note had been referenced throughout the Statement to try and point people in the right direction should they read them.  The balance sheet on page 87 of the agenda pack was the main area of focus and this had been explained in the report.  Short term creditors, short-term debtors, cash and bank and the Council’s Reserves were all showing unusual balances.


Another couple of areas covered was the Pensions Liability.  The Assistant Director of Finance reiterated that this was not a cash deficit it was an accounting balance based on actuary assumption and due to the CPI being higher and the discount rate being lower was the reason that this figure had changed why this had changed so tremendously. The Council’s cash payments were only affected by the triennial review that would take place in March 2022 and was the only issue that had a cash impact on these.  The second area to highlight was the usable Reserves that had increased by nearly £11m but this was not a real increase as approximately £6m of it was the Government compensation to off-set lost business rates and a great deal of the other money was in respect of grants that the Council was still holding to pay to businesses.  These had all been paid out by the end of June, but they were still included in the accounts at the end of March. 


Another matter that was brought to Members’ attention that had not been included in the report due to timing issues was the formal objection to the Accounts that had been received.  This objection related to the treatment of a single £10k grant payment to one organisation under the Small Business Grants Scheme.  The Assistant Director of Finance was confident with the accounting treatment and the individual grant had been correct, but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43/21


Work Programme (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 8 KB

A copy of the Committee’s work programme is attached.  The Committee is asked to consider whether any additions, deletions or amendments to the programme are required.


The Work Programme was noted.


Next Meeting (Agenda item 12)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting on Thursday, 30 September at 10am in the Anglia Room, the Conference Suite, Dereham.


The arrangements for the next meeting on Thursday, 30 September 2021 at 10am in the Anglia Room were noted.