Decision Maker: Audit Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Committee considered this report and the attached draft Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for the County Council. It was explained that the Council was required to carry out, at least annually, a review of effectiveness of its governance framework. This review of internal controls provided additional assurance that the Statement of Accounts gave a true and fair view of the Council’s financial position at the reporting date and its financial performance during the year.
The Committee considered the report and it was explained by the Council’s Monitoring Officer that the process carried out had been in line with guidance published in 2016 by CIPFA / SOLACE in the new “Delivering Good Governance in Local Government”. This updated framework would now apply to all Annual Governance Statements prepared for the financial year 2018/19 onwards. It was therefore a highly prescriptive process and for example as part of the Healthy organisation report compliance had to be demonstrated against 91 separate behaviours.
The Committee discussed the report and there was a brief discussion about the Council’s MTFP process and the work undertaken to improve financial resilience and the value for money. It was noted best practice suggests that the Annual Governance Statement should reflect the unique features and challenges of the County Council, and that it should also anticipate known and potential governance challenges ahead.
It was reported that this year’s Statement had again deliberately included Somerset examples of both good governance measures that have been implemented locally, and the significant challenges ahead. It also highlighted some of the areas, which if not controlled adequately, could present additional corporate risks in 2019/20.
Members noted that there were 3 reviews that would feed into the forward-looking actions for 2019/20 and there were listed as follows:
· the follow up Corporate Peer Review feedback (review undertaken in April 2019 and formal feedback report pending);
· the findings from the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) review (undertaken in April 2019 and formal feedback reports to Scrutiny Committees in early Autumn 2019), and;
· the external auditors VFM Assessment (which will form part of the Councils Statement of Accounts audit to conclude by 31 July 2019).
There was a brief discussion of the report and Members thought the AGD was a very thorough and accessible document. It was noted the before publication of the final accounts for 2018/19, the Committee would have a final opportunity (at the July meeting) to review and confirm any final changes.
The Committee approved the draft Annual Governance Statement prior to it being signed by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive, and members noted the Statement would form part of the 2018/19 Statement of Accounts.
Publication date: 09/07/2019
Date of decision: 20/06/2019
Decided at meeting: 20/06/2019 - Audit Committee