Agenda item

Quarter 2 2018-19 Risk Report (Agenda item 8)

Report of Executive Director for Strategy & Governance.


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 in March 2019.  It was further noted that weekly meetings with Capita had already been scheduled to take place in the New Year.  It was agreed that all concerns would be fed back to the Executive Director of Place, Rob Walker and the Breckland Place Manager, Riana Rudland. 


It was further agreed that a report would be brought back to a future Governance & Audit Committee meeting to include: the assessment of the economy, effectiveness and efficiency of the Capita contract at this stage of its contract life - – rechecking the promised savings and guarantees made at its inception, and the plans currently in place to ensure the contract met the expectations both of the Council and residents in the future.


Referring back to the risk register, Mr Plaskett mentioned the target dates that had now passed and felt that they should be removed.  Revised, updated Risk Registers were circulated.  Mr Plaskett noticed that some of the targets had been missed and asked that Members be kept informed of how often the target dates should be changed.  The Corporate Improvement and Performance Manager said that original and new target dates could be shown on the Register.


Mr Plaskett drew attention to the risk score under the failure to maximise income from investment asset portfolio due to the one large void property.  Alison Chubbock, the Chief Accountant (Deputy S151 Officer) explained that a contract had recently been signed for this property; therefore, the risk score should be reduced.


Attention was also drawn to the risk that had not changed since he started with the Governance & Audit Committee in relation to staff recruitment and retention and felt that a better understanding was needed of how this risk was managed.  The Chairman asked if the target score was realistic.  Members were informed that this score and how the risk was managed would be reviewed by the Council’s HR colleagues.  The Vice-Chairman, Councillor Wilkinson did not approve of the idea of benchmarking with other authorities.  Members were informed that this was in relation to understanding the market and the movement with employment and was purely an indicator not a target.  Breckland Council was in the upper quartile and this should be seen as a positive.


In response to a further question in relation to Riverside, Members were informed that the notes referred to the social events that had taken place in 2018 in Thetford.  The Chief Accountant advised that internal funding had been secured for the Council’s Reserves to attract more interest in the Riverside area.


Councillor Newton mentioned the void units and the number of smaller assets that were being disposed of which he felt should be re-valued.  Councillor Nairn explained that many of the smaller industrial units were reaching a point that was no longer viable for the Council to maintain or redevelop.  The question of rents raised by Councillor Newton would be discussed outside of the meeting with the Chief Accountant.


Councillor Hewett questioned the score of ‘one’ for the failure to deliver the Local Plan and asked what this actually measured.  Members were informed that the score was low due to the fact that it was highly unlikely that the Local Plan would not be delivered.  Councillor Hewett had noticed the target date against this risk and felt that dates should be included on the latest notes and in subsequent reports in future.  The Corporate Improvement and Performance Manager pointed out that the Account Management approach would improve the commentary. 


Councillor Hewett noticed another issue in relation to the dates on page 24 of the agenda pack, the target date had passed and therefore should the risk remain.  It was agreed that this risk would be removed.


Members did not have much confidence of how good this document was and felt that there should be a thorough review.  Any further issues would be reported accordingly.


Subject to the aforementioned amendments and concerns, the contents of the report were otherwise noted.

Supporting documents: