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Agenda Item No 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Audit Committee 24th February 2015

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Audit Committee - WAO Financial Planning Assessment

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         The purpose of the report is to present to Members the findings of the Wales Audit Office assessment in respect of the Council's overall Financial Planning arrangements.

Recommendation

1.         THAT Members note the Wales Audit Office report attached as Appendix A.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.         To keep the Audit Committee informed and to ensure Members of the Committee are fully aware of the findings and conclusions of this review.

Background

2.         During the period May to August 2014, the Wales Audit Office examined authorities' financial position and how they are budgeting and delivering on required savings.  This work considered whether authorities have robust approaches in place to manage the budget reductions that they are facing to secure a stable financial position that will enable them to continue to operate for the foreseeable future. 

3.         The study examined what the Council itself has done to seek assurances that its arrangements to support safeguarding are effective by reviewing how the Council is discharging its safeguarding responsibilities at all levels.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         The work focussed on answering the following question:  Is the authority managing budget reductions effectively to ensure financial resilience?

5.         The WAO have set their conclusions on both the track record and future prospects of the Council:-

Track Record - whether the Vale of Glamorgan Council (the Council) successfully identified, planned for, and delivered the savings required in the period 2011-12 to 2013-14; and, if there was a shortfall, how was this addressed?

Future prospects - whether the Council has an effective corporate framework for financial planning, exercises effective financial management and control, has a robust framework for reviewing and challenging financial performance; and whether the Council has realistic plans to make the savings required for 2014-15 and is taking appropriate steps to deliver them.

 

6.         The report concludes that:

The Council has effective financial management arrangements in place.  This conclusion was reached because the WAO found that the Council has a good track record in delivering a balanced budget within year, monitoring service specific savings is undertaken by scrutiny committees.  The WAO also found that the Council has an effective corporate process for developing its future financial plans. 

 

7.         A copy of the Wales Audit Office report on Financial Planning Assessment is attached at Appendix A.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.      None as a direct consequence of this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.      None directly from this report

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.    Provision of an adequate and effective Internal Audit function is a legal requirement under the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2005 as amended and now as contained within the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014.

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.    Pursuing initiatives to prevent, detect and deter crime is encompassed within the terms of reference under which the audit function operates.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

12.    None as a direct consequence of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

13.    The work of audit is intended to assist in the achievement of all corporate and service objectives.

Policy Framework and Budget

14.    The proposals in this report are in accordance with the policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

15.    No further consultation is proposed.

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Alan Jenkins - Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer

 

Officers Consulted

External Audit Manager - Grant Thornton UK LLP

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies - Managing Director