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 85 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2018.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman subject to the Independent Specialist Advisor to the Governance & Audit Committee, Mr John Plaskett, being added to the list of those present.


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


Members were reminded of the Norfolk Pension Fund Briefing being presented by Mr Alex Younger which was being held immediately after this meeting.


Apologies (Agenda item 3)

To receive apologies for absence.




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.





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

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


None present.


Training (Standing item) (Agenda item 7)

To note if there are any training issues/ requests.


None required.


Quarter 2 2018-19 Risk Report (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of Executive Director for Strategy & Governance.

Additional documents:


Members agreed the Exclusion of Press and Public at this point of the meeting (see Agenda item 14) to enable the Capita Risk Report (Agenda item 15) to be discussed with agenda item 8.




“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 and 4 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.


Ross Bangs, the Corporate Improvement and Performance (CIP) Manager presented the report.


The Strategic Risk Register included 15 strategic risks.  Overall the number of risks in the high category remained the same; there was one less in the medium category in this quarter and one more in the low rated category, so overall risk scores had improved in this quarter.


The ICT risk regarding possible breach remained as a high risk due to the impact a breach would have on the Council.  The Impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act also remained at ‘red’ status for this quarter due to the implementation of the Act putting a strain on resources for the housing service and the housing register.  However, following a successful recruitment exercise six new members of staff had been appointed and once trained, this particular risk was expected to be moved to a more positive position in quarters 3 and 4.


There were eight risks that remained in the medium category; however, whilst risk scores remained the same a great deal of work had been done by HR in relation to staff recruitment.  This work had paid more focus on social media and direct marketing for candidates to enhance the Council’s recruitment campaigns.  Analysis had also been conducted by the CIP team which had shown positive trends amongst staff turnover within Breckland.


Work also continued within the Legal Team around GDPR and ensuring privacy notices/IARs were complete and a GDPR audit had been undertaken and would be reported to the Governance & Audit Committee in Quarter 3.


Attention was drawn to the risk on page 23 of the agenda pack in relation to the under occupancy rate of Riverside.  Members had asked for this particular risk to be deleted at the last meeting. The Corporate Improvement and Performance Manager apologised and would remove the risk accordingly. Members were informed that the Corporate Management Team had recently adopted an account management approach who would work closely with the Service Manager to share information to help to maximise performance and reduce risks within their teams; therefore, any risk should be mitigated before it occurred.


There was a great deal of debate in relation to Capita particularly in respect of staff turnover and savings against the contract.  The Chairman felt that a wider piece of work was needed as the risk score in his opinion and other Members opinions was much too low.  It was noted that Capita was being called into the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70/18


Treasury Management Mid Year Report 2018-19 (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of Councillor Phillip Cowen, Executive Member Finance.

Additional documents:


Alison Chubbock, the Chief Accountant & Deputy S151 Officer presented the report.


The new Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountancy (CIPFA) Code of Practice on Treasury Management and the Prudential Code had been affective from April 2018 and include the revised Ministry for Communities, Housing and Local Government (MCHLG) statutory guidance on Local Government Investments.


The definition of an investment now covered all the financial assets of the organisation, as well as other non-financial assets which the organisation held primarily for financial returns, such as investment property portfolios.


The anticipated changes to both the Treasury Policy and Strategies and the Capital Strategy had been reported to the Governance & Audit Committee on 16 February 2018.  CIPFA had not anticipated the changes implemented in full until 19/20 and this report therefore highlighted the key changes that were proposed (see report).


For 2019-20 the Treasury Management Policies and Prudential Indicators must be more closely aligned to the Council’s Capital Strategy.  The Capital Strategy itself would be amended to include a new section setting out the Council’s approach to non-financial investments.


In addition, new indicators were proposed in the Treasury Strategy to report yield on financial and non-financial investments and also borrowing in respect on non-financial investments.  The new indicator would monitor the extent to which the Council relied on income generating activity to achieve a balanced budget.


The appendices attached to the report were highlighted and explained.


RESOLVED that the mid-year report and information on treasury activity be agreed.


Follow Up Report on Internal Audit Recommendations (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Report of the Head of Internal Audit - presented by Faye Haywood, Internal Audit Manager for Breckland DC.


Additional documents:


Faye Haywood, the Internal Audit Manager for Breckland Council presented the report based on the agreed internal Audit recommendations as at 30 November 2018.  Since then for 2017/18, the five recommendations that needed attention had been completed; however, 14 recommendations were still outstanding and three for 2016/17 required urgent attention.


The appendices to the report were highlighted and explained.


Councillor Monument asked for further explanation in relation to the ‘latest notes’ under BRK1704 on page 41 of the agenda pack.  Members were informed that DEFRA’s resources and waste strategy had been published in May 2018 and the deadline had been extended; therefore, the recommendation would be amended accordingly in the next follow up report.


Members asked to see more progress against agreed recommendations for the year- end report due to be produced for June 2019, as it was noted that a number of recommendations had now fallen overdue. 


Councillor Hewett referred to the recommendation responses from the officer on page 43, commenting that he preferred the style of the response, as the officer portrayed their accountability for delivery and cited how the risk was being mitigated until completion could be achieved.


Many more questions and concerns were raised relating to recommendation progress. The Internal Audit Manager informed the Committee that she would be attending future Performance Risk and Audit Board meetings to work with Officers on resolving the outstanding recommendations, focusing particularly on those raised in previous financial years. It was suggested that if historic recommendations remain unresolved at year end, the Committee to invite responsible officers to attend the next meeting to explain delays.


The contents of the report were noted.


Progress Report on Internal Audit Activity (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Report of the Head of Internal Audit - presented by Faye Haywood, Internal Audit Manager for Breckland DC.


Additional documents:


Faye Haywood, the Internal Audit Manager for Breckland Council presented the progress report on internal audit activity.


The Annual Audit Plan for 2018/19 had been approved by the Governance & Audit Committee at its meeting on 16 February 2018.  The Plan had identified specific audits to be delivered and accordingly, the following changes have been made:


Transformation Programme


The programme had come to a natural end of the four-year life span, the remaining efficiencies formed part of the ongoing programme of works; therefore the internal audit was no longer required.


Environmental Protection


This audit had been deferred to 2019/20 to allow the Team to work on the implementation of new software.


Housing Needs, Allocations, Homelessness and Housing


An additional two days had been allocated from the Transformation Programme review to accommodate additional testing over funding arrangements, system access rights and following up on previously raised recommendations.


Office 365 changed to Project Programme Audit


The review had been scheduled in for quarter four of 2018/19; however, the Office 365 project had not yet been completed.  Assurance would therefore be provided on the governance and management arrangements of IT projects.


The 2019/20 Audit Plan would be presented to the Governance & Audit Committee in draft form at the next meeting.


Appendix 1 of the report highlighted the current position in completing audits to date within the financial year and progress to date was in line with expectations.


During the period covered by the report Internal Audit Services had issued four final reports and the Executive Summary of these reports had been highlighted on Appendix 2 (Page 52 of the agenda pack).


The Chairman had noticed that the findings/recommendations had been based on both Breckland Council and South Holland District Council and felt that the report would look very different if it had been based on Breckland alone.  The Internal Audit Manager reported that a relatively equal number of recommendations had been raised at both Councils during the joint review, therefore the report had been presented as one piece of work allowing officers to clearly identify the required improvements for the shared service. 


Councillor Hewett drew attention to page 61 of the agenda pack in relation to an improved audit trail for the processing and approval of Members’ expenses and asked if any instances of fraud had been identified. The internal audit manager confirmed that no instances had been identified and that the recommendation had been raised in relation to strengthening controls at South Holland only to prevent fraud risks from occurring. He was also very surprised to note that Members did not submit VAT receipts for petrol with their mileage claims.


Councillor Monument found it very strange that this report should include anything relative to South Holland DC and felt that it would be very helpful if the name of the Council could be included at the beginning of the report.


Mr J Plaskett informed the Committee that he is used to seeing the deadlines dates for each recommendation when reviewing reports from TIAA  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73/18


Work Programme (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 47 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 Counter Fraud Corruption and Bribery Policy, Whistleblowing Policy and Money Laundering Policy would be added to the Work Programme for the next meeting in February 2019.



Next Meeting (Agenda item 13)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting on Friday, 15 February 2019 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room.


As previously requested by the Committee, a Norfolk Pension Fund Representative will be in attendance after the meeting.  Members are asked to send any questions they may have to Alison Chubbock who will then pass them onto the representative.


The arrangements for the next meeting on Friday, 15 February 2019 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room were noted.


Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda item 14)

To consider passing the following resolution:


“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 and 4 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.






See Minute No. 70/18 above.


Quarter 2 2018-19 Risk Report - Appendix (Agenda item 15)


See Minutes No. 70/18 above.