Audit Committee – 29 June 2011

Chair: Councillor Eckhardt
Venue: Pittwood House, Scunthorpe
Time: 10am

AGENDA

  1. Substitutions (if any)
  2. Declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests (if any)
  3. To take the minutes of the meeting held on 12 April 2011 as a correct record and authorise the chairman to sign
  4. Audit Committee Structure, Terms of Reference and Forward Plan and Assurance Map 2011/2012 – Joint report of the Director of Finance and the Director of Corporate and Community Services
  5. To note the date and time of future meetings (of the committee/sub committee)
    • Tuesday 15 September, 2011 at 10am
    • Tuesday 31 January, 2012 at 10am
    • Tuesday 17 April, 2011 at 10am
  6. Any other items which the chair decides are urgent by reasons of special circumstances which must be specified.

(Please note – subject to approval of Item 4 above, upon conclusion of business of the committee there will be a short break before the Audit Sub-Committee meets).

MINUTES

PRESENT:  Councillor Eckhardt in the chair

Councillors England (vice-chairman), Briggs, Carlile, Collinson, L Foster, T Foster, Kirk, Godfrey, Gosling, Poole, Mrs Redfern, C Sherwood, N Sherwood, Waltham, Whiteley and Wilson.

Also in attendance were representative of the Audit Commission (the council’s external auditors).

The committee met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.

212  DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests made at the meeting.

213  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of the meeting held on 12 April 2011, having been printed and circulated amongst the members be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chair.

Minute 203 – Final Accounts and Accounting Policies – The Director of Finance referred to minute 203 and updated the committee informing it that the draft accounts for 2010/11 were being prepared for his approval by 30 June, with the final audited accounts to be submitted to the September meeting of the committee for consideration and approval. Also, no amendments had been made to accounting policies.

214  (1)  AUDIT COMMITTEE STRUCTURE, TERMS OF REFERENCE AND FORWARD PLAN AND ASSURANCE MAP 2011/12 – The Director of Finance and Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a joint report asking the committee to consider appointing a sub-committee to carry out its key functions, allocate appropriate terms of reference, and to endorse the Forward Plan and Assurance Map 2011/12 which was approved in April 2011 (minute 204 refers).

The joint report reminded members that in May 2006 the council’s Audit Committee was established in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA’s) document ‘Audit Committees Practical Guidance for Local Authorities’. This recommended that local councils establish independent and dedicated audit committees, and it promoted best practice through suggested roles and terms of reference.

CIPFA continued to emphasise that audit committees were a key component of corporate governance and that they were an important source of assurance about the organisation’s arrangements for managing risk, maintaining an effective control environment and reporting on financial and other performance.

Although the guidance was not mandatory it recommended best practice. This was recognised and applied by the council’s external auditors the Audit Commission when challenging the council’s internal control and governance arrangements. Components of the best practice were set out in the report.

Consequently, the committee was asked to consider the option of appointing a sub-committee to carry out its key functions in accordance with suggested CIPFA best practice and adopt terms of reference as set out in appendix A of the report. The terms of reference continued the roles and responsibilities already included within the council’s Constitution. It also provided the sub-committee with the opportunity to carry out the specific and detailed work contained within the Forward Plan and Assurance Map attached as appendix B, whilst providing a degree of flexibility to refer any matters of major significance to the Audit Committee as and when required.

A five member sub-committee (three Conservative and two Labour members) was recommended and could meet on the days already allocated to the committee in the council’s timetable of meetings agreed at its annual meeting in May.

An Audit Sub-Committee should also provide its members with focussed debate and sufficient scope to obtain assurance on the adequacy of the council’s internal control and governance arrangements to fulfil its terms of reference.

At this point in the proceedings Councillors Collinson, Carlile, L Foster, Kirk, Godfrey, Whiteley and Wilson left the meeting. 

Resolved – (a) That a sub-committee, the Audit Sub-Committee, be appointed, comprising five councillors (three Conservative members – Councillors Eckhardt, England, T Foster and two Labour members of the Audit Committee, names to be notified) to carry out its key functions; (b) that the terms of reference for the Audit Sub-Committee as set out in appendix A of the report be approved, and (c) that the Forward Plan and Assurance Map 2011/12 as set out in appendix B of the report, previously agreed by the committee in April 2011 (minute 204 refers), be endorsed.

Recommended to Council – That the terms of reference for the Audit Committee as set out in appendix A of the report be approved.

215  DATES AND TIMES OF FUTURE MEETINGS – Resolved – That the dates and times of future meetings of the committee and/or sub-committee be held at 10.00am on Tuesday 27 September, 2011, Tuesday 31 January, 2012 and Tuesday 17 April, 2012.

Reports