Audit, Governance and Standards Committee Terms of Reference
The Audit, Governance and Standards Committee provides an independent and high level focus on audit, assurance and reporting arrangements that underpin good governance and financial standards. Its purpose is to provide independent assurance to members and those charged with governance, on the adequacy of the risk management framework and internal control environment. It provides an independent review of the Council’s governance, risk management and control frameworks and oversees the financial reporting and annual governance processes. It oversees internal audit and external audit, helping to ensure efficient and effective assurance arrangements are in place.
The Committee is also responsible for the promotion and maintenance of high standards of conduct amongst elected, co-opted and advisory members and employees of the Authority.
Five Members of the Council, who should not be Lead Members and an Independent Member
1. Approve Internal Audit’s Charter, risk based plan and any significant changes to the plan.
2. To monitor delivery of the audit plan.
3. Review Internal Audit’s work and performance to include consideration of the most significant issues arising from internal audit work; obtaining assurance that appropriate action is being taken on those issues, conformance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and monitoring results of the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme;
4. Consideration of the external auditor’s opinions of financial statements and of other reports addressed to those charged with governance in accordance with International Standards on Auditing; deciding any required initial response; obtaining assurance that appropriate action is being taken on any issues raised; initiating any appropriate recommendations to the Treasury Committee for matters within their remit; and otherwise initiating any action or matter that the Committee considers appropriate in relation to these opinions and reports;
5. Review of the effectiveness of relationships between internal and external audit and inspection agencies and between those and the subjects and addresses of their reports;
6. Undertake a self assessment of the effectiveness of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee against the agreed terms of reference.
7. Maintain an overview of the effectiveness of the Council’s arrangements for corporate governance, particularly those concerned with risk management, internal control, financial governance, treasury management, value for money and counter fraud and corruption; obtaining assurance that appropriate action is being taken on any issues or risks raised; initiating any appropriate recommendations to the Treasury Committee for matters within their remit; and otherwise initiating any action or matter that the Committee considers appropriate in relation to these issues;
8. On the Annual Statement of Accounts, the Annual Governance Statement and the Pension Fund accounts:
a) receive the accounts themselves and, following initial review of the appropriateness of accounting policies and questioning of the basis of the responsible financial officer’s signature thereon, approve them for publication, subject to audit;
b) receive and approve the Annual Governance Statement and ensure from its work and enquiries that it addresses the key governance weaknesses and areas for improvement.
c) receive the external auditor’s Annual Governance Report following audit of the accounts and, after reviewing and considering the matters raised therein and officers’ responses thereto, submit it to the Treasury Committee for their consideration and action as appropriate;
d) monitor management action in response to issues raised in the action plan arising from the Annual Governance Statement and the external auditors’ Annual Governance Report;
e) initiate any appropriate recommendations to the Treasury Committee or other action that the Committee considers appropriate in relation to these matters.
f) approve the Anti Fraud framework, endorsing those elements of it which are within the Constitution and recommending these to Council for approval
1. To promote and maintain high standards of conduct amongst elected, co-opted, and advisory members of the Authority.
2. Generally, to be responsible for matters relating to the declaration and registration of interests.
3. To advise the Council on the adoption or revision of a Code of Conduct for members, this is to include the monitoring of the operation and effectiveness and any updating of the Code as appropriate.
4. To advise and assist in observing the Code, including arranging for the training of members in matters of conduct, and advice to individual members on such issues as the treatment of interests and, generally, on matters of conduct.
5. To hear and determine any appeals by Members against the Monitoring Officer’s decisions on the grant of a dispensation.
6. To set up arrangements, including the establishment of a Sub –Committee, for the formal hearing of any complaints referred by the Monitoring Officer and to determine the procedure to be followed for any hearing. .
7. Where, following a hearing, by the Committee or Sub Committee, a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct is found, to
A. impose one or more of the sanctions
1. Censuring or reprimanding the member;
2. Reporting the Committee’s findings to Council for information;
3. Recommending to the member’s Group Leader that he/she be removed from any or all Committees or Sub Committees of the Council. In the case of ungrouped members or in respect of Committees to which the political balance requirements do not apply, recommend to Council that he/she be removed from any or all Committees or Sub-Committees of the Council;
4. Recommending to the Leader of the Council or Group Leader that the member be removed from particular Portfolio responsibilities;
5. Request that the member undertakes such training as may be specified (to be arranged by the MO);
B. refer the proposed imposition of one or more of the following sanctions for decision by Council
6. Removing from all outside appointments to which he/she has been appointed or nominated by the Council;
7. Withdrawing facilities provided to the member by the Council, such as a computer, website and/or email and Internet access; or
8. Excluding the member from the Council’s offices or other premises, with the exception of meeting rooms as necessary for attending Council, Committee and Sub-Committee meetings.
8. To maintain oversight of the operation of the Councillor Recall Scheme, receive and consider an annual report on its operation and recommend modifications to Council, and to determine whether any further action should be pursued in the event of a Councillor failing to abide by the requirements of the Scheme
9. To advise on good practice generally through training and the adoption, where necessary of protocols.
10. To adjudicate on any dispute as to entitlement to payments under the Dependent’s Allowance Scheme, and any allegations of abuse of the Scheme.
Support officer: Fiona Cotter, Democratic Services Team Leader, tel 020 8547 4607. email: firstname.lastname@example.org