Summary of Outcomes from the meeting of the Audit Committee held on Thursday 19 June 2014 at 10:00 in the Luttrell Room, County Hall, Taunton.
Minutes of last meeting 13 February 2014 – agenda item 3
The Committee agreed that the minutes of the meeting held on 13 February
2014 were accurate and the Chairman signed them.
Public question time – agenda item 4
The Committee received some questions from Nigel Behan of UNITE who
asked questions concerning transparency and accountability raised in a
recent publication by the Information Commissioners Office. The Strategic
Manager – Financial Governance responded briefly and undertook to provide
a written reply to Mr Behan, and circulate that to the Committee.
The Committee heard a statement from David Orr in which had asked a
number of questions regarding the South West One contract and plans the
Council were making in before the end of the contract in 2017. The Director of
Finance and Performance tabled a series of answers to questions Mr Orr had
submitted on 4 June and also on 12 June and also responded to the points he
External Audit update – agenda item 5
The Committee received and accepted this report from the External Auditors
that contained a summary of their findings and also highlighted key emerging
issues and developments.
Members also received a verbal update regarding progress made on the
current external audit work. Members accepted the report.
Internal Audit progress report – agenda item 6
The Committee considered this report that summarised the audit work carried
out since the previous Committee meeting by the South West Audit
Partnership (SWAP) the Council’s internal auditors and the overall progress
on the 2013/14 internal audit plan to date.
It was noted that of those reviews completed that had not been previously
reported none had been assessed as a medium or high priority level.
Members accepted the report.
Internal Audit Annual Opinion – agenda item 7
The Committee considered and discussed this report that contained
information about the internal auditors opinion on the adequacy and
effectiveness of the Council’s internal control framework.
(Audit Committee – 19 June 2014)
It was noted that despite a limited number of control issues previously
reported to the Committee, SWAP had given an opinion of ‘reasonable
assurance’. This is the same conclusion in 2012/13 and the opinion
highlighted was highlighted in the Annual Governance Statement. Members
accepted the report.
Review of Internal Audit – agenda item 8
Members considered and discussed the report about the review carried out
by the relevant officers in to effectiveness of the internal audit function from
the South West Audit Partnership in 2013/14.
The report concluded that SWAP continued to provide an adequate and
effective internal audit function for the Council and could demonstrate value
for money. Members accepted the report.
Risk Management update – agenda item 9
The Committee considered this report in detail and held a thorough
discussion about the revised Risk Management Policy and Strategy agreed at
the 4 June Cabinet meeting. Members also discussed the Risk Matrix
document and also the latest Corporate Risk Status report attached as
Appendix A to the report.
Members accepted the report and requested that an item for a future training
session cover Governance issues; also in respect of ORG0007 and ORG0011
the Committee suggested that reports be brought to future meetings to
provide further information on both topics.
Debtor Management – agenda item 10
The Committee considered this report that provided an update regarding the
current position in regard to recovery of outstanding money owed to the
Council, and Members noted the improving overall situation.
Members were pleased to note that overall debt had fallen and continued to
be reduced with focus to recover older debts and approximately 99.8% of the
debt raised in a year had been collected. The report was accepted.
Southwest One Lessons Learnt – agenda item 11
The Committee received a brief written update that was tabled and then read
aloud by the Director of Finance and Performance regarding the lessons
learnt across the Council in light of the evolution of the Southwest One
Shortly after the statement had been read and the Committee proceeded to a
brief discussion the Chairman asked a Member of the Public present if he was
recording proceedings. The Chairman asked him to stop, advising that at the
present time it was for the Chairman and the Committee to decide if they were
happy for the meeting to be recorded. A vote was proposed and seconded
(Audit Committee – 19 June 2014)
that the meeting not be recorded and 5 Members voted in favour and 3
There was a brief discussion about the Southwest One contract and it was
agreed that a further report be prepared for a future meeting with more
information to demonstrate the lessons learnt and it was noted that it may be
necessary for this to be a confidential report.
Draft Annual Governance Statement – agenda item 12
The Committee considered this report and the attached draft Annual
Governance Statement (AGS) for the County Council. Members noted that
good governance was an essential pre-requisite to any organisation pursuing
its vision effectively, and would underpin that vision with effective control
mechanisms and risk management.
The statement had complied with the guidance in the CIPFA Code of Practice
and contained an Action Plan of the steps officers believed would further
strengthen the Council’s governance. A review of internal controls had been
undertaken to provide additional assurance and the Council’s Monitoring
Officer and Responsible Financial Officer had served on the Governance
The report was accepted.
Other business of urgency – agenda item 11 Action
There were no other items and the meeting was closed at 11:47.