Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meetings held on:

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings held on 11th and 27th June were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Mr P Hewett.


Mr Hewett had tendered questions and observations on various matters and these were taken into account as the relevant agenda items were considered.



Non-members wishing to address the meeting

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


Lady Fisher, Executive Member for Governance, was in attendance.


Ray Acreman, the External Audit Manager, was introduced to the Committee.




Draft Risk Management Strategy - For Consultation (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 507 KB

To consider the attached consultation draft Risk Management Strategy.


The Chief Accountant introduced the draft strategy, pointing out that the Committee had an opportunity to make amendments before it became final.


The Chairman drew attention to the observations of Mr Hewett on the format of the strategy, which had been produced by taking account consultants’ advice and tailoring it to reflect Breckland practices. Members agreed with his comments on the process diagram, which; it was also felt that the Strategy would benefit from simplification in a summary for public use which could be easily understood by the layman.


Subject to tidying up the document as suggested and circulation of the revised document, including the summary, to Committee Members for approval, it was


         RECOMMENDED that Council adopt the Risk Management Strategy.



Partnerships - Review of Governance, Performance, Risk and Financial Management (Agenda Item 7)

To consider the findings of the reviews carried out by Norfolk County Council on behalf of Breckland as follows:


Summary Overarching Report pdf icon PDF 118 KB


In March, the Norfolk County Council was asked to look at the governance, performance and financial and risk management of the partnerships referred to in the following paragraphs. In general, governance arrangements had been found to be good, although in some case the need to strengthen partnership plans, terms of reference and agreement documents had been identified. Performance was being managed, but could be enhanced through a more formalised approach, written in to partnership plans and terms of reference.


Although Breckland had developed an approach to risk management, this did not cover partnership risk at an operational level.


Financial arrangements were found to be generally sound and most partnerships were adding value to the services they provided.


The summary report had recommended, in recognition of these findings, a Partnership Policy and Framework for adoption, with a programme of suitable training for Officers and Members involved.


In reply to a question, the Chief Accountant confirmed that the Local Strategic partnership had not been looked at as part of this review, but would be covered by the recommended approach, if accepted.




(1)         the reports be noted;

(2)         action plans as recommended be adopted, or noted for future action, as appropriate; and

(3)         a timetable for the development of Governance, Performance Management and Risk Management in respect of the Steria Contract /Partnership be brought back to the next meeting of this Committee (see 35/08 (g) below).


Anglia Revenues Partnership Report pdf icon PDF 163 KB


The ARP Strategic Manager welcomed the very positive report, which suggested that the Partnership and the Trading Company should have their own performance and risk cultures, which he agreed would be preferable to feeding into the systems of partner authorities. The Action Plan was advisory only - agreement to this would of course depend upon the support of the other constituent authorities and there were also at this time many variable to consider.


Anglia Revenues Partnership Trading Ltd Report pdf icon PDF 154 KB


The ARP Strategic Manager questioned the conclusion that the main issue was to set clear and specific service targets; by definition, the main objective of the Company was to make money. He felt that targets were at present right for the organisation. He agreed that risks should be defined and entered into the Corporate Risk Register.


A discussion followed on the interim arrangements in the event of local government reorganisation proceeding, which appeared to present a significant risk for the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership (although, as the Strategic Manager pointed out, the risks were slightly less for the Trading Company. The Deputy Chief Executive pointed out that, in the event of the local government review resulting in a replacement structure, the Joint Committee would be likely to be abandoned as a vehicle for delivery of revenues and benefits across the new administrative area.


Breckland Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership Report pdf icon PDF 166 KB


The   Community Safety Officer explained the findings and drew attention to the aims and objectives and Value For Money conclusions. A funding panel had now been established.


PFI Leisure Contract – Management and Monitoring Partnership Report pdf icon PDF 160 KB


The identification of risk management as an area of concern, as mentioned by Mr Hewett, was noted by the Committee, as were the report’s recommendations designed to improve upon this.


Serco Environmental Services and Security Report pdf icon PDF 161 KB


The Environmental Services Manager, in acknowledging the comments on lack of risk management, pointed out that there was a risk matrix, but this was fairly broad. Work was to be undertaken on including more specific information within the next month. A Member commented that this should be looked at again when  that work had been done.


Steria Contract/Partnership Report pdf icon PDF 167 KB


The Deputy Chief Executive drew attention to conclusions which revealed that governance, performance management and risk management were weak in this area and required attention. These weaknesses were due in part to unstable management arrangements. Now that a permanent Head of ICT had been appointed, this would be addressed. Discussions would be needed before a further report was brought back to Committee.


Mr Hewett’s written concerns about shortcomings were noted.


Annual Governance Report (Agenda Item 8)

Report of the External Auditor.

Additional documents:


This item was presented by Ray Acreman, the Audit Manager, who pointed out that, although the Report was a draft, the outstanding issues had been dealt with and the final document would be in this form. Unqualified Audit and Value For Money opinions could be issued. The Report concluded that the Council had made proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources and there were no matters to report or recommendations on procedures in relation to the Best Value Performance Plan.


The Chairman enquired as to the reason for the reduction in fee on that charged for the previous year. This had also been raised in Mr Hewett’s letter. The Audit Manager explained that this was due to the more comprehensive information supplied, which had made audit and judgement generally easier.


In reply to a question on the operation of this Council’s Audit Committee in its first few months, the Audit Manager could only form an opinion on the basis of CIPFA guidance, which had been complied with.


The Executive Member for Governance was very happy with the Report.


Mr Acreman also referred to the Audit and Inspection Plan, which in previous years had gone to Cabinet with the Annual Audit Letter.


         RESOLVED  that the Annual Governance Report and Annual Inspection Plan be accepted and the comments therein noted.


Business Transformation


The Chairman wondered whether it would be appropriate to introduce a standing agenda item on this subject. The Deputy Chief Executive explained that the timetable might not lend itself to this, or to a report to the next scheduled meeting, before reporting on progress. The final tender was due for completion on 28th October; work on Environmental Health had progressed quickly and developments on the Contact Centre were in hand. It had been the intention to refer the proposed arrangements for Planning and Building Control to this Committee at the earliest opportunity.


In response to a comment from the Chairman that the Committee would have liked to have seen the tender before this went through other Committees and the Council, the Deputy Chief Executive said that a briefing would be possible after 17th October; in the meantime, he advised Members of the criteria that would apply, around the areas of income, efficiencies, governance, managing knowledge and quality of services.


After further discussion, the Deputy Chief Executive undertook to provide the Committee with the best possible report at the next scheduled meeting.


Next Meeting

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 12 November 2008 in the Norfolk Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham.


The arrangements for the next meeting, on 12th November 2008, were noted.