Minutes of a meeting held on 19th
Present: Councillor A.C. Williams
(Chairman); Councillor J. Clifford (Vice-Chairman); Councillors
J.F. Fraser and K. Hatton.
Also present: Councillors Mrs. E.
Dodd and Mrs. C. Davies (Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively of
Bridgend County Borough Council's Audit Committee); Mr. J. Golding
(Grant Thornton UK LLP) and Mr. S. Barry (Wales Audit Office).
375 APOLOGIES FOR
These were received from Councillors Mrs. P.
Drake, N. Moore and C.L. Osborne.
376 MINUTES -
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the
meeting held on 21st July, 2011 be approved as a correct
377 DECLARATIONS OF
No declarations were received.
378 ANTI-FRAUD AND
BRIBERY POLICY (HARM) -
The Committee's approval was sought in regard
to an updated and revised Anti-Fraud and Bribery Policy.
In referring to the report the Head of
Accountancy and Resource Management indicated that the revised
Policy summarised the Council's position with regard to fraud and
corruption, building on the content of a number of corporate policy
statements incorporated in the Council's Constitution, including
the Members' Code of Conduct; Officers' Code of Conduct;
Whistleblowing Policy; Financial Regulations and Contract Standing
Orders. He indicated that it was imperative that Anti-Fraud
Policies reflect the 'tone at the top' of an organisation making it
clear that fraud and corruption would not be tolerated. In
addition, he referred to the updated Anti-Fraud and Bribery Policy
which was attached at Appendix A to the report and referred to
specific elements of the Policy in particular relating to the
detection and investigation
awareness and training.
In referring to specifics of the Policy the
Head of Accountancy and Resource Management indicated that there
was a greater emphasis on employees of all grades at all levels to
lead by example in matters relating to fraud and bribery.
Employees were a vital element of the Council's stance on fraud and
bribery and as such staff were encouraged and were expected to
raise any concerns that they may have on such issues and where they
were associated with Council activities. He went on to
indicate that the Council's stance regarding such matters in all
instances involved the police.
His attention then turned to the importance of
raising staff awareness in regard to anti-fraud and corruption and
to this end appropriate training was provided as part of the
Council's Induction arrangements for new employees, in addition to
the Internal Audit Section which offered tailor made programmes in
fraud awareness training for staff. He also alluded to web
based training modules being available on the Council's
Finally, he indicated that the arrangements as
set out in the Policy signalled a move towards greater prevention
with senior managers being made responsible for ensuring that
employees were aware of their role they were expected to play in
the Council's framework of internal control e.g. through induction
and training courses, procedure manuals, intranet, internet
etc. He reminded the Committee that the Council regularly
reviewed its Standing Orders and Financial Regulations to ensure
that appropriate arrangements were in place in regard to the duty
on all Councillors and employees to act in accordance with best
practice when dealing with the affairs of the Council.
At this juncture, brief discussion took place
on current safeguarding measures in place to protect the Council's
interests, fraud detection rates and arrangements in place to allow
employees to raise issues which fell under the auspices of the
Policy and other policies of the Council.
Having regard to the above and related issues
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the revised Anti-Fraud
and Bribery Policy as set out in Appendix A to the report be
endorsed and referred to Cabinet for adoption.
Reason for recommendation
To agree an updated and revised Policy prior
to the matter being referred to Cabinet for approval.
379 UPDATED FORWARD
WORK PROGRAMME (HARM) -
The report sought to apprise Members of the
updated 2011/12 Forward Work Programme for the Committee. Set
out in Appendix A was information in relation to all aspects of the
Committee's core functions including progress made to date on each
activity detailed in the Programme.
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the content of the
report be noted.
Reason for recommendation
In acknowledgement of the updated information
in regard to the 2011/12 Forward Work Programme.
380 INTERNAL AUDIT -
OUTTURN REPORT - APRIL TO JUNE 2011 (HARM) -
The Committee was apprised of the actual
Internal Audit performance against the 2011/12 Plan for the period
1st April to 30th June, 2011.
The actual position for the first three months
of the year, compared against the Plan was set out in Appendix A to
The figures showed that 460 actual productive
days had been achieved which equated to 99.5% of the overall
planned productive time available. This was considered an
achievement when taking into account that staff had been relocated
during the period to Bridgend and had to embrace new working
practices such as agile working and hot desking.
With the two sections now combined, it was
envisaged that staff would work alongside one another to ensure
that both Council's Audit Plans were achieved in line with stated
A summary of audits completed during the above
period were detailed in Appendix B to the report. This showed
the reviews which had been completed, together with an overall
Audit Opinion that would support the annual audit opinion at the
end of the financial year. For the period subject of the
report, Internal Audit had made a total of 33 recommendations, 7
were categorised as significant, 26 merited attention and none
being regarded as significant. Relevant Managers had provided
written assurance that these would be addressed. Following
each audit, satisfaction surveys were forwarded to the service
recipients. Survey results revealed excellent customer
Overall the reviews completed during the first
few months of the Plan had not identified any significant
weaknesses in the system of internal financial control.
A number of specific points were raised in
regard to information contained in Appendix A particularly in
reference to the status of audits in regard to Jenner Park Primary
School and Bryneithin EMI and these were clarified.
Mr. Golding, in referring to the eight
assurance work reviews completed to date, sought clarification in
respect of the reasons for the variations between the planned days
taken compared to the actual days taken in relation to job numbers
A16 and A28. Given that both of the reviews related to Adult
Services he enquired if there were any underlying issues that
should be brought to the attention of the Committee. In
response the Principal Auditor indicated that there were various
reasons for the outturn performance and proposed that a further
report be submitted to the next meeting on these matters.
Having regard to the above and related issues,
(1) T H A
T the actual Internal Audit performance during the three months of
the financial year April to June 2011 be noted.
(2) T H A
T a further report be submitted to the next meeting of the
Committee in respect of assurance work reviews A16 and A28.
Reasons for recommendations
acknowledgement of work undertaken by the Internal Audit unit to
apprise the Committee of any issues in regard to internal financial
381 AUDIT OF THE
2010/11 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (DFICTP) -
The Council was responsible for the
preparation of the Financial Statements that presents fairly its
financial position as at 31st March 2011. Mr.
Anthony Barrett of the Wales Audit Office in his capacity as
Appointed Auditor was responsible for reporting whether, in his
opinion, this was indeed the case. The audit itself was
undertaken by Grant Thornton UK LLP, as the Council’s Engagement
Lead, on behalf of the Appointed Auditor.
Mr. Golding, as the Council’s Engagement Lead
representative, presented the draft Statement of Accounts for
2010/11. These had been prepared before 30th June
2011 in accordance with the statutory timeframe and reported
previously to the Audit Committee in July 2010 (Minute No. 233
With the audit of these Financial Statements
now substantially completed, he indicated that a report detailing
the key matters arising from the audit must be reported by the
Appointed Auditor to those charged with governance in accordance
with the Internal Standards on Auditing (ISA 260). In line
with the terms of reference, the Audit Committee represented the
appropriate body to which this report must be communicated.
The report of the Appointed Auditor, together
with the 2010/11 Statement of Accounts, incorporated all agreed
amendments and final Letter of Representation was attached for
signature by the appropriate nominated representatives of the
Council. Mr. Golding, in referring to the Audit of Financial
Statements Report, indicated that over the past few years
significant changes had been introduced by the Code of Practice on
Local Authority Accounting in the UK as to the presentation and
content of the Statement of Accounts. He reminded the
Committee that the 2010/11 Statement of Accounts had been prepared
in accordance with the requirements of the International Financial
Reporting Standards (IFRS). This was intended to provide
comparable accounts across all accounting boundaries, public and
private, national and international. He went on to allude
that these changes had seen a significant increase in the
information provided including new statement and changes to the
layout as well as treatment of areas such as salaries and pensions,
Government grants and contributions, fixed assets (property, plan
and equipment) and leases. However, none of these changes
impacted on the net expenditure and therefore, the Council tax of
Mr. Golding highlighted that the provisional
findings of Grant Thornton on behalf of the Appointed Auditor on
the audit of the Financial Statements were that:
they had concluded on all the risks in the Financial Audit
there were no concerns with the qualitative aspects of the
Council’s accounting practices and financial reporting
there were no uncorrected misstatements
there were no expected modifications to the standard Auditor’s
the audit did not identify any material weaknesses in internal
there were no other matters which needed to be reported as required
by other ISAs and
there were no other significant audit matters of governance
interest to report.
Having regard to the above it was the
intention of the Appointed Auditor to issue an unqualified audit
report on the Financial Statements once the relevant Council
officers had provided a signed Letter of Representation.
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the report of the
Appointed Auditor on the audit of the Council’s Financial
Statements for 2010/11 be approved and the Financial Statements
including the final Letter of Representation be recommended for
signature by those authorised subject to the Chairman of the Audit
Committee being added to the list of authorised signatories.
Reason for recommendation
To ensure that those charged with governance
had considered the results of the audit of the Council’s Financial
Statements for 2010/11.
382 MATTER WHICH THE
CHAIRMAN HAD DECIDED WAS URGENT -
RESOLVED - T H A T the following matter which
the Chairman had decided was urgent for the reason given beneath
the minute heading be considered.
383 WALES AUDIT
OFFICE: IMPROVEMENT ASSESSMENT UPDATE (DFICTP) -
Urgent by reason of there being
insufficient time to await the next meeting of the Audit
The Committee had previously considered a
report from the Wales Audit Office (WAO) at its meeting on
2nd June 2011 (Minute No. 85 refers) on the proposed
Regulatory Programme for Performance Audit at the Council for the
period April 2011 to March 2012. This process would provide
the Committee with regular update reports on progress of various
projects and studies and would inform the work of the Council’s
Improvement Assessment. The last update previously considered
by the Committee was at its meeting of 21st July 2011
(Minute No. 234 refers).
Submitted for consideration by the Committee
was a further update of the WAO progress as set out in Appendix A
to the report. This appendix detailed the intended work plan
and a brief status report outlining the position as at
15th September 2011.
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the update on progress
made by the WAO on their Improvement Assessment work be noted.
Reason for recommendation
In acknowledgement of progress made to