Agenda and minutes

Audit and Pensions Committee - Wednesday, 11th February, 2015 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Hammersmith Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Poonam Patel  Tel: 020 8753 2088

Items
No. Item

90.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 241 KB

(a) To approve as an accurate record and the Chairman to sign the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 2nd December 2014.

 

(b) To note the outstanding actions.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 2nd December 2014 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the chair.

 

91.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

92.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

If a Committee member has any prejudicial or personal interest in a particular item they should declare the existence and nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.

 

At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a prejudicial interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Standards Committee.

 

Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance, then

the Councillor with a prejudicial interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration unless the disability has been removed by the Standards Committee.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Vincent, declared that he was a School Governor for Woodlane High School.

 

93.

RISK MANAGEMENT HIGHLIGHT REPORT pdf icon PDF 555 KB

This report presents a quarterly review of risks faced by the Council.

Minutes:

Michael Sloniowski (Bi-Borough Risk Manager), introduced the report. The first phase in the Risk Management Framework was evidence based and the Tri-borough Corporate Services Risk Register was featured in Appendix 2 of the report. In response to the Committee’s query around the applied methodologies for each of the boroughs, Michael Sloniowski confirmed that the H&F framework and approach was more strategically divergent than RBK&C and WCC. The Committee noted that H&F increased the amount of training and awareness to maintain business continuity and Health & Safety.

 

Michael Sloniowski also confirmed that the Risk Register was based on quarterly reports from departments which enabled all the data to be realistic. All departments and more specifically, the Adult Social Care division took their risk management very seriously. Jane West (Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Governance) assured the Committee that the Risk Management Framework played a serious role in the organisation and that there were a number of Risk Registers actively managed within the organisation. It was noted that the Hammersmith and Fulham Business Board received the high risk registers to review and question, whereas the Cabinet would receive comments on the risks.

 

The Committee drew the officer’s attention to page 27 of the report, as it was felt that reference 11 had not been thought through, as the text had not presented any context. In response Michael Sloniowski, accepted the observation and highlighted that this was a constant challenge in preparing the registers. The Committee noted that they could gain more context if Service Departments attended the Committee meetings and presented their Risk Management arrangements. Additionally, they could also provide the Policy Accountability Committee Chairs their respective risk registers for review.

 

The Committee discussed at length the purpose and value in receiving the register and that the comparative differences in the commercial and non-commercial industries. The Committee noted that all future H&F registers would include the relevant context to justify the recommendations. The Committee also noted that although the register was prepared under the CIPFA (The Charted Institute of Public and Accounting) best practice, it could be prepared and presented in a different format. There was also scope for highlighting, explicitly the mitigating factors within the audit remit in the register. In response, Jane West agreed to feedback the Committee’s request to the Hammersmith and Fulham Business Board for further discussion.

 

ACTION: (Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Governance)

 

RESOLVED –

 

THAT the quarterly review of risks faced by the Council be noted subjected to the actions listed in the discussion be met.

 

 

94.

ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT ACTION PLAN AND OUTSTANDING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EXTERNAL AUDIT pdf icon PDF 266 KB

This report summarises Progress on implementing recommendations arising from the KPMG ‘Report to those charged with governance (ISA 260) 2013/14’ and the Annual Governance Statement.

 

Minutes:

Geoff Drake (Senior Audit Manager) introduced the report. The Committee drew the Geoff’s attention to pages 71 and 72 in Appendix B of the report and requested a similar presentation be used to report the ‘Progress To Date’.

 

ACTION: (Senior Audit Manager)

RESOLVED –

 

THAT the report be noted.

 

95.

INTERNAL AUDIT QUARTERLY REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1 OCTOBER TO 31 DECEMBER 2014 pdf icon PDF 578 KB

This report summarises internal audit activity in respect of audit reports issued during the period 1 October to 31 December 2014 as well as reporting on the performance of the Internal Audit service.

 

Minutes:

Geoff Drake (Senior Audit Manager) introduced the report and referred to paragraph 5.1 of the report. It was noted from paragraph 5.1.3.2, that the Home Meal and Frozen Food Delivery Service contract management made 1 high recommendation, not 2, as cited in the report. Appendix C of the report presented a summary of each of the limited assurance reports. Geoff Drake and service managers then took questions from the Committee on the audit reports.

 

Cemeteries and Bereavement Service

 

The Committee referred to the background report and recalled an unfortunate case in RBK&C. The Committee then sought assurances that the Cemeteries and Bereavement Services delivered in H&F followed stringent procedures to avoid bad practice and service. By combining any ad-hoc lessons learnt from the Bi-Borough arrangement and was integrating them with the specifications of the contracted service. In response, Karia Ullash (Head of Leisure) assured the Committee that all procedures were regularly reviewed to meet the severity and sensitivity of their customers.

 

The Committee asked if the audit looked at the service departments procedures to prevent such a case occurring for H&F. In response, Geoff Drake referred members to the detailed recommendations in the audit report and advised that the audit could not guarantee that such an event could not occur.

 

The Committee further questioned the current finance management systems in place to prevent fraud and error, as the report identified that one officer was receiving, recording and banking income. In response, Geoff Drake assured the Committee that this was seen as a weakness which was why the recommendation was raised. The recommendation required introducing segregation of duties and further to introduce reconciliations.

 

The Committee also raised concerns about the recommendation relating to Health and Safety action plans not being timely acted upon. In particular, electrical checks could have significant implications. Karia Ullash confirmed that the electrical check undertaken on 6th February 2014 was in a separate office from the crematorium. The Committee acknowledged from the background report that the KPIs targets were met.

 

Melcombe Primary School

 

The Committee requested confirmation of the audit assurance provided for the last audit previously undertaken on the School.

ACTION: (Senior Audit Manager)

 

The Committee noted that a copy of the H&F Final Internal Audit Report for the school would be sent to the School, the Governors and Children Services. The respective management teams would challenge the outcomes accordingly. Geoff explained that the Audit process involved reviewing the systems in place, hold discussions with the accountable managers and a series of recommendations would be identified. For limited assurance reports such as this a follow-up audit  would be undertaken.

 

Home Meals and Frozen Food Delivery Service

 

The Committee referred to the background report and raised serious concerns about the results of the KPIs. In response, Mike Potter (Interim Director for Adult Social Care Procurement & Business Intelligence) and Sherifah Scott (Head of Procurement and Contracting) assured the Committee that remedial action had been undertaken to rectify the failings in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.

96.

TREASURY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY REPORT 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 522 KB

The report sets out the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2015/16. 

Minutes:

Jonathan Hunt (Tri-Borough Director for Pensions & Treasury) introduced the report by confirming that the report had been to the Finance & Delivery Policy Accountability Committee and went to the H&F Officer Briefing Board on 2nd February 2015 and would be going to Council on 25th February 2015.

 

The Committee discussed at length the annual investment strategy for 2015/16 and the proposed changes from the 2014/15 Treasury Management Strategy as set out on page 100, paragraph 6.8 of the report. The Committee agreed that the Maximum Individual Counterparty Investment limit against Network Rail be change from ‘Unlimited’ to £200m.

 

ACTION: (Tri-Borough Director for Pensions & Treasury)

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)            THAT the Council approve:

 

(ii)           THAT the future borrowing and investment strategies as outlined in the report be amended to ensure that Network Rail Maximum Individual Counterparty Investment limit be changed from ‘Unlimited’ to £200m and the Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Governance be authorised to arrange the Council’s cash flow, borrowing and investments in 2015/16.

 

(iii)          THAT in relation to the Council’s overall borrowing for the financial year, the comments and Prudential Indicators as set out in the report and the four year capital programme 2015/16 to 2018/19 be noted.

 

(iv)         THAT the approval was given to pay the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) investment income on unapplied HRA receipts and other HRA cash balances calculated at the average rate of interest (approximately 0.8% p.a.) earned on temporary investments with effect from 1 April 2014.

 

97.

GRANTS REPORT 2013/14 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

This report presents the certified the grant claims from 2013/14 financial year, which the external auditor, KPMG finalised.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Hitesh Jolapara (Bi-Borough Director of Finance) introduced the report. The Committee noted from page 117, Appendix 1 of the report that the one error identified by KPMG was valued at £4,383. The Housing benefit subsidy claim was reduced by this amount due to the tax credit entitlement was incorrectly applied.

 

RESOLVED –

 

THAT the report be noted.

 

 

98.

INTERNAL AUDIT ANNUAL PLANS 2015/16 YEAR pdf icon PDF 461 KB

This report summarises internal audit approach used to develop the Internal Audit plans for the 2015/16 year as well as providing the audit plans.

 

Minutes:

Geoff Drake (Senior Audit Manager) introduced the report and referred to the draft plan for 2015/16 in Appendix B. The Committee asked if it was possible for the committee to have an input into the procurement audit scope. In response, Geoff Drake confirmed that as the procurement audit was timetabled for quarter 1 (April to June 2015) it could not be brought to the next committee meeting, however the draft audit scope could be circulated to Committee members for comment.

 

ACTION: (Senior Audit Manager)

 

The Committee acknowledged that although the London Waste Authority was a separate organisation and an existing business partner for H&F, it was considered essential to identify their ‘fit for purpose’ capability.

 

RESOLVED –

 

THAT the report be noted.