Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes (AGENDA ITEM 1) pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 31 July 2015.


Audit Results Report (Minute Ref: 39/15)


The Chairman asked for an amendment under paragraph 5, and asked for the first sentence to be amended as follows ‘The Chairman asked if this correction would make much of a difference in financial terms.


Breckland Bridge Ltd – Loans (Minute Ref: 41/15)


Councillor Hewett asked for clarification regarding Recommendation 3, on page 6.  The Chairman clarified that this was amended at Full Council, and now read:


‘The total value of loads not to exceed £5m at any one time and no loans to be made for periods in excess of 2 years without prior approval of the Audit Committee and full Council’.


It was noted that Councillor Dimoglou had sent his apologies for the meeting, which had been omitted.


Subject to the amendments noted above, the minutes of the meeting held on 31 July were confirmed as a correct record.



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


The Chairman asked if an update had been received on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).  The Internal Audit Consortium Manager said she had spoken to the Corporate Improvement and Performance Manager whose team were looking at contracts.  It was hoped more information could be provided to Members at the next Audit meeting.



Apologies (AGENDA ITEM 3)

To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Taylor and Wilkinson.  Councillor Hollis, substitute for Councillor Taylor, also sent her apologies.


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)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests that they have, in relation to an agenda item that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct




Non-members wishing to address the meeting (AGENDA ITEM 6)

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


The Chairman welcomed Councillor Dimoglou to the meeting.  (It should be noted that Councillor Dimoglou was a substitute for the Audit Committee, however was appointed a Cabinet Member on 15 September 2015).


Training (Standing item) (AGENDA ITEM 7)

To note if there are any training issues/ requests.


Mr Ludlow asked why the Breckland Training Services report had not come to Committee, as this should have been reported in July.


The Chairman asked for a report of Breckland Training Services to be presented at the next meeting.  The Internal Audit Consortium Manager agreed to take these comments back to the Executive Director Commercialisation.



Strategic Risk Report (AGENDA ITEM 8) pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Report of the Executive Director Strategy & Governance.

Additional documents:


The Corporate Improvement & Performance Team Leader presented the report to Members.


Mr Stevens highlighted that the Expected Benefits section had not been completed and asked for it to be included in future reports.


Councillor Hewett asked why there had not been any risk objectives set on the delivery of the Corporate Plan.  It was mentioned this had been encapsulated under the ‘Failure to deliver the Council’s Corporate Priorities’.  Councillor Hewett went on to say he had expected to see it listed as a higher risk, and whilst the impact on the Council would be lower in financial terms, the Corporate Priorities encapsulated everything the Council had set out to achieve.


The Corporate Improvement & Performance Team Leader said the new system, Covalent, was a tool used to produce the risk data, and was only as good as the content included. 


Mr Ludlow said he expected to receive the Strategic risks and priorities in the Insurance regulations, and felt concerned that the report only presented strategic risks, and not operational risks.  He asked if the Audit Committee were fulfilling their Terms of Reference.  He had noted the report did not cover the detailed information they were used to; such as the risk register, direction of travel and target scores, and how the risks would be mitigated.


It was reported that due to the implementation of the new system a management decision had been taken to produce operational risk reports at a later date.


The Chairman asked for the Terms of Reference to be circulated, and asked for a report that covered the 10-month gap of operational risks to the next meeting.


Councillor Hewett asked for the report to be presented to Members directly from the system and therefore Members could instantly see the different range of reporting mechanisms it could produce.


The Corporate Improvement & Performance Team Leader agreed with this suggestion.



Annual Audit Letter 2014/15 (AGENDA ITEM 9) pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Report by the External Auditors, Ernst & Young.


Mr Murray, External Auditor for Ernst and Young presented the letter, of which Members noted the content.



Local Government Audit Committee Briefing (AGENDA ITEM 10) pdf icon PDF 999 KB

External Auditors, Ernst & Young.


Mr Murray, External Auditor for Ernst and Young presented the report, of which Members noted the content.



Interim Mid Year Treasury Report (AGENDA ITEM 11) pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of the Executive Member Income and Prosperity.

Additional documents:


The Senior Accountant Capital and Treasury presented the report to Members. 


A number of issues had arisen and therefore an interim Mid-Year report was being presented for Members to note, for approval in advance of the formal Mid-Year report in December.


Members were updated on the roles and job titles following the recent management re-structure.


The Council continued to use the colour coding methodology to determine appropriate counterparties with which to invest.  The Council’s policy currently only allows for investment in non-UK banks if they had a sovereign rating of AAA.  In June, the Council’s treasury advisors issued an update on Sovereign ratings.


The Council’s overdraft banking arrangement with Barclays would be reduced in Year 2, to £250,000.  Operationally the figure was adequate as the Council operated as such that it only accessed the overdraft if a buffer was needed.


Councillor Hewett felt the recommendation was sensible as it enabled flexibility of individual counterpart banking.  He found it strange that the Council had not been able to invest in the UK.


Mr Ludlow asked if the Council should consider investing in non-financial institutions.


The Chairman said the Council had the duty to get the best return on its investments.


The Senior Accountant Capital and Treasury said there was a framework to enable investment in instruments other than cash. 


Members agreed to put forward the recommendation to Full Council, subject to adding ‘providing individual counterparts are also AA-‘ at the end of the sentence.


Recommend to Full Council that:


The Treasury Policy is amended to reduce the Sovereign rating for non-UK investments to AA- with immediate effect in accordance with our Treasury Advisors update from 9 June 2015, providing individual counterparts are also AA-.



Work Programme (AGENDA ITEM 12) pdf icon PDF 55 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 Chairman asked for Intellectual Property Rights to be added to the December Agenda.


Treasury Management Training would be provided to Members immediately following the December meeting and the Chairman encouraged all Members and Substitutes of the Audit Committee to attend.  A short training session the Committee’s Terms of Reference would also be provided in December.


It was suggested that an explanation of Risk Management processes be provided to Members in February 2016.



Next Meeting (AGENDA ITEM 13)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on Friday 11 December at 10:00am in the Norfolk Room.


As it was the last meeting that Mr Murray would be attending, the Chairman thanked him for his contributions to the Audit Committee.


The arrangements for the next meeting on Friday 11 December 2015 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room were noted.