David Hughes (Director for Audit, Fraud, Risk and Insurance) and Mike Sloniowski (Risk Manager) presented the report that provided members of the Committee with an update on risk management within the Council - and presented the Corporate Risk Register for consideration.
Mike Sloniowski noted the following key risks:
· Risk 3: Commercial & Procurement - Work was concluding on a review and update to the Council’s Corporate Procurement Strategy, the Forward Plan of Procurement and cross-service contracts and commercial training. Improvements had been embedded in departments to ensure they were more effective and efficient in this area.
· Risk 27: Digital Accessibility - The EU Web Accessibility Directive meant there would have to be a radical overhaul of the structure and content of public bodies websites and mobile apps to transform the way 13 million disabled people in Britain access the Internet.
· Risk 6: Information Management, legislation and compliance - A joint programme being trialled in Children’s Services to improve information management. The disentanglement of shared services exposed issues with the management reporting system and the Business Intelligence Unit were looking at how to resolve this. Steve Miley noted that since coming out of shared services Children's Service hadn't received a single monthly management information report.
Mike Sloniowski noted that officers were also considering how the Council was prepared for a range of Brexit scenarios. They had spent a lot of time understanding the supply chain risk, staffing risks, impact on residents etc. In recent weeks there had been daily meetings with the business continuity team to keep updated on these issues. There was also a service group chaired by the Chief Executive and there were additional assurances through the London Resilience Forum that the Council was closely involved with.
Councillor Jonathan Caleb-Landy asked if the digital accessibility work meant the Council would be re-investing in the website or updating what was already in place. Mike Sloniowski said the work was more about future-proofing the design of web content - embedding accessibility by design.
Councillor Caleb-Landy noted that some residents struggled to find information on the website. He suggested involving community groups and groups like the Disabled People's Commission in the development of the new content. Kim smith informed the Committee that the Council had just appointed a senior co-production post, one of the key recommendations from the Disabled People's Commission, and they would be starting work at the end of the month. She said she would pass this work over to them to take it forward.
The Chair asked for officers to update the Committee on risk 22 - Children's Services placements - and the risks associated with knife crime, particularly given the recent fatal stabbing of a young person in the borough. Steve Miley said that, as with other London Boroughs, H&F was seeing a rise in demand from adolescents at risk due to knife crime, child sexual exploitation and children being used for drug trafficking (County lines). Last Thursday a 17-year-old was stabbed and died and this weekend a 15-year-old was charged with his murder. He noted that officers had recently attended a Community Safety Partnership meeting and a Youth Crime Partnership meeting to discuss how all public agencies could work together on these problems.
The Chair asked if the Council had the necessary resources to properly deal with these issues. Steve Miley felt the Council had adequate resources but needed to use them in more effective ways. Different resources were needed at different points in a young person's life. For those displaying extreme behaviours like supplying drugs they would need a period of intensive intervention to move that person to a more positive pathway. The Council needed to identify individuals as early as possible and put the right support in place. Officers were currently looking at how they could support inclusion and move resources up-stream.
That the Committee noted the report and reviewed the Corporate Risk Register.