Decision Maker: Audit Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Committee considered this report introduced by the Council’s Risk Manager. She began by drawing Members attention to Appendix A of the report which contained the Strategic Risk Register (SRR). The report contained a ‘heat map’ that showed the movement in severity/priority of any individual strategic risk since the report to the January meeting.
Referring to Appendix A it was noted that any date in red font meant that it was overdue. There had been a single change to the SRR, that being ORG43 which now had a score of 16 from a previous score of 25. It was explained that this was because the risk was still judged as being likely but that the impact of such a risk would be less.
There was a discussion of the SRR and it was asked why if ORG43 had been judged to still be likely how at the same time the impact of the risk had been reduced. It was noted that although progress had been made in improving the Council’s financial position this work was part of an on-going process and remained a key focus and Officers wanted to see improvements continue and further savings being achieved before lessening the likelihood of the risk. The impact of ORD43 had been judged to be less because of the Council’s underspend and the positive impact that had on the overall reserves.
There was a question relating to the Council’s budget monitoring reports and it was noted that some negative reserves had been finalised, including the Learning Disabilities negative reserve. The figure arising from Adult Services had been the result of an underspend rather than savings and this had boosted the Council’s reserves.
Members were reminded that JCAD, the system used to monitor the Council’s risk database, was a live system and so was reviewed and updated constantly. It was noted that Officers were required to provide update information in JCAD, in response to recommendations from each partial audit. The report showed that management reviews were still outstanding in respect of 6 partial audits. It was known that some of this work had been completed but it was emphasised that it remained important to record this in JCAD.
Overall it was noted that there was an improved picture with reviews and actions, and members confirmed they still wished to see a specific detailed update on ORG43 in each report.
There was a question about outstanding debts at the end of the financial year and how this was reflected. It was stated that for each invoice raised that an assessment is made at years end on how much would be recoverable based on the income code of practice, to ensure it was not over stated. In response to a further question it was confirmed that the Council did not use bailiffs, and the debts were not written off but the circumstances of each debtor was considered.
Members sought and received assurance on the question of resilience of the Council’s risk management capacity and it was noted the Risk Manager would be reporting to the Chief Accountant and working with colleagues in the Insurance Team. This would allow for some additional support and enable other officers to be trained and add to the Council’s resilience, knowledge and expertise.
There was a question about a SWAP partial audit in respect of Education of Children Looked After as it was overdue and in response the Assistant Director of SWAP stated that this was being currently being followed up and it was for the service area to update JCAD.
The Committee accepted the report and noted the progress and importance of keeping JCAD updated.
Publication date: 30/05/2019
Date of decision: 28/03/2019
Decided at meeting: 28/03/2019 - Audit Committee