Agenda and minutes

Online meeting, Audit, Governance and Standards Committee
Tuesday 4 May 2021 7:30 pm

You can view the individual reports for this meeting by selecting the headings from the numbered list of items at the bottom of this page. Alternatively you can view the entire agenda by selecting 'Agenda Reports Pack' below.

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Venue: An online meeting that can be viewed at https://kingston.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/564668

Contact: Kevin Jones, Democratic Services Officer, tel 020 8547 6622  email:  kevin.jones@kingston.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Green declared a personal interest, the details of which have been noted by the Monitoring Officer.

3.

Minutes

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 27 January 2021 were not yet available and it was agreed that they would be sent out together with the minutes of this meeting as soon as possible.

4.

External Audit Plan and Pension Fund Plan 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To update the Committee on the external auditor’s progress and the plan for Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames and Pension Fund’s 2020/21 statement of accounts.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members had before them the report by the Executive Director for Corporate & Communities. The Assistant Director – Finance presented the report and the Chair then asked the External Auditors to go through the annexes to the report individually.

Annex 1 was a progress report which pulled together all the various work that had been done. For 19/20 the work was largely complete and the annual audit letter was in the pack. Since the report they had also certified the teachers’ pensions audit and completed the certification of the Capital Receipts grant. It was agreed that the Teacher’s Pension & Pooling of Housing Capital Receipts will be circulated by e-mail when they are completed. The report included a sector update giving insight into recent Grant Thornton output as well as information from the National Audit Office and the PSAA. The report included an item on Value for Money and the new approach and the auditors confirmed that they were working to sign off the accounts by October. They confirmed in response to a question about a review of IT, fraud and Cyber controls from an audit point of view, that they looked at the IT control environment as part of the control environment and this directed some of their sample sizes. They confirmed work was undertaken in that area and that they would comment if they thought there were any deficiencies in the control environment. The audit was set out in a way to detect fraud although they could not detect it all. The auditors confirmed they had seen that remote audits are possible but not as efficient as traditional onsite audits and that future audits would probably be a hybrid model.

Annex 2 showed elements of the work done and the scope of the audit including Value for Money. It described significant risk and areas they had focused on, and which were material in nature including the valuation of land and buildings and the Pension Fund Liabilities. There had been changes to auditing standards but other than that there were no changes from the previous year. Annex 2 described the change in approach for Value for Money and they were now required to provide a commentary on perceived risk. They had not identified risks of significant value for money weaknesses and noted areas of focus including estate redevelopment and governance around that. The report noted that as a result of the Redman review, value for money work and other auditing standards the audit fees would need to be increased. The increase was being discussed pan London with specific regard to the government grant and they would provide an update on fee increases at the next meeting. The report explained the approach towards compliance with ethical standards and that there were no significant facts or matters of concern. They were satisfied there were appropriate safeguards in place. Questions were raised regarding the completion by Members and senior staff of the Related Parties documentation. The question as to whether committee members understood the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Update on Fraud Work undertaken pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To provide the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee with an update on the fraud work undertaken in 2020/21 by the South West London Fraud Partnership (SWLFP).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee received a report by the head of the South West London Audit Partnership which provided the Committee with an update on the

fraud work undertaken in 2020/21. The report noted that an extra column for Business support Grants had been added to the tables as reguired by government to satisfy it that they were acting responsibly in discharging government funds. The extra column was expected to remain on the table for the next 2 years.

Due to courts being closed for part of the last year there was a backlog of cases going to court and property recoveries were lower than had been hoped. A question was raised as to whether there had been an increase in IT, Cyber security and phishing. Both Fraud and audit said it was a matter they both took very seriously. The Chair agreed a suggestion that the committee has a session on cyber security a later meeting. The delivery of the fraud plan was noted as being at 88% as a result of vacancies in the fraud team. All major priority works had been addressed. Some of the shortfall was as a result of COVID but the team was back up and running and the team was actively looking for new staff.

After discussion the committee agreed to add a recommendation that a communications plan be would be worked out to promote the work of the Fraud Shared Service and the Chair would meet with members of the Comms team together with members of the Fraud and Audit teams to work out a comms plan to show residents the work the Fraud Team are doing and, it was RESOLVED that the fraud work undertaken and performance results for 2020/21 are noted.

 

Voting: Unanimous

6.

Treasury Management Annual Report 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To inform the Committee of the Council’s Treasury Management activities and

performance for 2020-21.

Minutes:

The committee received a report informing members of the Council’s Treasury Management activities and performance for 2020-21.

The report set out the borrowings and investment activities for the year under review. Borrowing activities were well within the limits set in the strategy and no new long term debt had been taken on. It noted that cash flows had been unpredictable due to COVID-19. The report author advised the committee that there was an error in addition in the reports on paragraphs’ 17 and 32 but that the totals reflected were correct. (The corrected tables were sent to members on the following day.)

The report was received FOR INFORMATION.

 

7.

Internal Audit Charter, Strategy and Audit Plan 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To set out the proposed Internal Audit Charter and Strategy and Internal Audit Plan for 2021/22 as required by the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS)

Minutes:

The committee received a report by the Head of the South West London Audit Partnership (SWLAP) which set out the proposed Internal Audit Charter and Strategy and Internal Audit Plan for 2021/22 as required by the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS).

The report included a list of proposed audits for the year and noted that it would be reported to committee if there were any significant changes to the plan. Annex 1 to the report contained the Internal Audit Charter and Strategy which was unchanged from the 2020-21 report. Annex 2 detailed the Internal audit Plan for 2021-22 and included the plan for Achieving for Children.

 

After discussion it was RESOLVED that the IA Charter and Strategy and Internal Plan for 2021/22 be approved.

 

Voting: Unanimous

8.

Annual Governance Statement Action Plan 2020/21 - Updated Position Statement pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To update the Committee on progress against the Action Plan agreed in November 2020 to address the areas of improvement identified in the 2019/20 Annual Governance Statement.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had before it a report by the Head of the Shared Audit Partnership and by the General Counsel. The report updated the Committee on progress against the Action Plan agreed in November 2020 and addressed the areas of improvement identified in the 2019/20 Annual Governance Statement. This report was an update on the 2020/21 Annual Governance Statement action plan.

After discussion the committee agreed that a report on mandatory training be brought to the July meeting of the Committee and it was RESOLVED that progress against the Annual Governance Statement Action Plan (2020/21) set out in Annex 1 to the report be noted.

 

Voting: Unanimous

9.

Internal Audit Update pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To provide the Committee with assurances around the Council’s control environment based on the work carried out by Internal Audit since the last report on the 27th January 2021; including identification of significant issues arising from this work and providing assurance that appropriate action is being undertaken to address these issues.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee had before it a report by the Head of the South West London Audit Partnership (SWLAP) which provided the Committee with assurances around the Council’s control environment based on the work carried out by Internal Audit since the last report on the 27th January 2021. The report included the identification of significant issues arising from this work, and provided assurance that appropriate action was being undertaken to address these issues.

 

After discussion it was RESOLVED that the Committee note the work undertaken by Internal Audit, the new Priority 1 recommendations raised since the last meeting and the progress being made to address issues previously reported.

 

Voting: Unanimous

10.

Urgent Items Authorised by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no urgent items authorised by the Chair.