Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Sean O'Neill  01225 395090

Items
No. Item

1.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE

The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 7.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Officer advised the meeting of the procedure.

2.

ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR

To elect a Vice-Chair (if required) for this meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that a Vice-Chair was not required on this occasion.

3.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Lucy Hodge, for whom Councillor Winston Duguid substituted.

4.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officeror a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.

Minutes:

There were none.

5.

TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIR

The Chair will announce any items of urgent business.

Minutes:

The Chair informed Members that the previous week a reply signed by him had been sent to the external auditors’ standard enquiries about how the Committee performed its role. A copy was available for inspection by Members.

6.

ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS

Minutes:

There were none.

7.

ITEMS FROM COUNCILLORS AND CO-OPTED AND ADDED MEMBERS

To deal with any petitions, statements or questions from Councillors and, where appropriate, co-opted and added Members.

Minutes:

There were none.

8.

MINUTES: 7 FEBRUARY 2019 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Minutes:

These were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

9.

ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT FINDINGS REPORT pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Finance Officer introduced the item, and invited Mr Barber to present the Audit Findings Reports for the Council and the Avon Pension Fund.

 

Mr Barber reminded Members that the external auditor had a twofold responsibility to the Council: to give an opinion on the Financial Statements and to reach a Value for Money conclusion. The report reflected the situation at 23rd July. Good progress had been made in the intervening period with the outstanding items listed on page 4. The headline opinion on the accounts was as set out on page 3. The draft accounts had been received by the new earlier deadline, and had been free from material error. As is inevitable in such a large and complex set of accounts, issues had arisen, the most significant of which was the High Court judgement on the McCloud pension case in December 2018. The external auditor’s view was that this had a clear impact on the liabilities of the Avon Pension Fund and therefore the Council’s balance sheet. Following discussion with the external auditor, the Avon Pension Fund instructed its actuary to assess the potential effect of the judgement. In addition a number of minor changes had to be made to the draft accounts. Full assistance and co-operation was given to the external auditor by officers, which considerably facilitated reaching the current position.

 

The external auditor could not yet issue a certificate that the audit work on the 2018/19 accounts was complete, because they needed to be assured that the annual report for the Pension Fund, to be published in December, was consistent with the Pension Fund accounts.

 

He hoped to be able to sign off the accounts with an unqualified opinion later that day.

 

He then commented in detail on the findings. He explained that the materiality level is usually set in the ½-2% range. It could be argued that a low level should be set, because of the high level of risk associated with the accounts, since external parties, such as banks, rely on them when deciding, for example, whether to advance loans. However a level of 2% had been set, because the external auditor considered that the inherent risk of misreporting or error was low in the light of their experience of the Council. Significant risks were identified in the Audit Plan. Findings in relation to these are set out on pages 5-7 of the report. More audit work had been done on Property, Plant and Equipment than in previous years. This had been made easier by the fact that following previous comments from the external auditor, the Council had moved the valuation date from December to the end of the financial year, enabling the auditor to be sure that the carrying value did not differ from the current value.

 

The report of APF’s actuary on the impact of the McCloud judgement had identified an additional liability of £10.534m as at 31 March 2019, for which the Council had adjusted in the final accounts.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

TREASURY MANAGEMENT OUTTURN 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 225 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate Finance presented the report. He said that because of the timing of meetings the report had already been considered by full Council earlier in the month.

 

He summarised the headline figures for investment and borrowing.

 

A Member noted that Public Works Loan Board annuity borrowing was arranged during the last quarter to maintain cashflow balances, and asked whether this would be done more often. The Chair responded that it had been the practice over the past eight years to fund the capital programme from cash flow as far as possible, but on occasion borrowing was necessary to maintain cash flow. Officers explained that it was important to get the timing of borrowing right; the majority of the Council’s borrowing was from PWLB, which was at a fixed rate.

 

RESOLVED to note:

 

  1. the Treasury Management Report to 31st March 2019, prepared in accordance with the CIPFA Treasury Code of Practice.

 

  1. the Treasury Management Indicators to 31st March 2019.

 

 

11.

INTERNAL AUDIT ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Audit and Assurance (One West) presented the report.

 

The Service Director (One West) drew attention to his formal opinion on the Council’s internal control framework contained in section 4.11 of the report. He said that it had been a challenging year for One West, but fortunately it had been possible to obtain additional staff resources from the Devon Audit Partnership.

 

RESOLVED to note the Internal Audit Report 2018/19 and the formal opinion on the internal control framework.

 

12.

INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 The Head of Audit and Assurance (One West) presented the report.

 

A Member asked about protecting the identity of whistleblowers.  He suggested that it might deter some whistleblowers if they felt that they might be identified. The Head of Audit West responded that while whistleblowers were interviewed in total confidence, it could be difficult to deal with them if they were anonymous. Meeting them was part of the assessment process, and it was usually necessary to understand what outcome they were seeking. They had a right to remain anonymous, but this was not encouraged.

 

RESOLVED to approve the Internal Audit Plan for 2019/20.

 

 

13.

AUDIT COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director (Audit West) introduced this item.

 

He said that as the Committee contained a majority of new Members, he was proposing that he draft the annual report and agree it with the Chair. He invited Members to him email with any suggestion for the content for the report.

 

RESOLVED to delegate the Annual Report of the Committee to the Chair to endorse and agree before issued to full Council at its November meeting.