THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 11TH JANUARY, 2016
REFERENCE FROM AUDIT COMMITTEE: 16TH NOVEMBER, 2015
" CORPORATE RISK REGISTER UPDATE (CRMG) -
Committee were updated on the current position of the Corporate Risk Register.
The Corporate Risk Management Group (CRMG) met on a quarterly basis to review the Risk Register to consider the position of each corporate risk identified. The Group evaluated whether there had been any changes in either the internal or external environment as well as any mitigating controls that were being put in place that would prompt a re-evaluation of the risk in terms of its score / position.
The report provided a half yearly update on the current status of the risks contained in the Corporate Risk Register along with an update on key recent developments. There were now 13 risks included in the Corporate Risk Register.
In terms of risk status, two risks were medium / high, 10 risks were medium and one risk was medium / low. In terms of the direction of travel, of the 13 risks, 12 risks had remained unchanged and one risk had decreased.
The risk status in relation to Welfare Reform had reduced from a medium to medium / low with a score of 3. There had been a shift in this risk because the Welfare Reform changes had not had the impact that was first anticipated. Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) had considered a report on Welfare Reform in January 2015 which had outlined the key developments in all areas of Welfare Reform. The report highlighted that although the introduction of the Social Size (Bedroom Tax) had resulted in a reduction in Housing Benefit for some clients by 15-25% the numbers affected by this change had reduced. Equally the numbers affected by the benefit cap had also reduced. In terms of its Council tenants, the Council had put in place effective actions to mitigate the impact of the Welfare Reform changes. Examples included the introduction of money advisors to support tenants who manage their money and prevent rent arrears, and greater investment in one and two bedroomed units at The Marine Heights Hotel, Barry Island and the former Barry Magistrates Court site. The implementation of the Universal Credit would start in February 2016 with a full roll out by 2018. Therefore, there had not been any significant implications as a result of the delay in the transfer to Universal Credit. However, as it was difficult to predict the impact of this at the moment it had been recommended that this risk be lowered to medium / low but that this status should be reviewed at the beginning of the new financial year when there may be more information on which to base the assessment of risk.
It was anticipated that the Reshaping Services risk would increase over time, as the programme was still at the business case stage and the need to make increased savings year on year would make it increasingly challenging for the programme to achieve its intended outcomes. Despite this, the programme had in place robust governance arrangements, and it was identified in a recent Wales Audit Office review of the Reshaping Services Strategy that the Council "conforms to good practice and demonstrates that it is following the right processes to achieve transformation".
In relation to legislative change and local government reform, it was forecast that this risk would escalate over time given the volume and pace of the legislative change instigated by the Welsh Government. The diversity of the legislative programmes on the horizon would present an increase in challenge to the Council in terms of workforce, capacity and service pressures aside from the evident financial burdens such as legislative change creates. Currently, the most pertinent pieces of legislation identified in the Risk Register related to the Social Services and Wellbeing Act, the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the Welsh Language Standards. There were currently a robust set of measures in place to mitigate the impact of these legislative changes but because of the likely financial impact of Welsh Language Standards it was anticipated that this risk would escalate over time.
In terms of the Waste Management risk, although there had not been any significant developments since the CRMG last reviewed the risk, it was anticipated that this risk would move in an upward direction. This was due to the likely implementation of the Environment (Wales) Bill. It was anticipated that once passed, it would impact on the status of this risk. A new risk factor that would contribute to escalate was in relation to the Single Environment Grant which brought together 3 formerly separate grants (Sustainable Waste Management Grant, Flood and Water Grant and Tidy Towns). The combined grant was now smaller than the combined value of grants from the last three years as the Sustainable Waste Management Grant had been declining year on year, and some of the flood grant had been earmarked to support development work in preparation for the Coastal Defence Investment Programme and was now also required to achieve multiple benefits in line with the goals of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Welsh Government officials have said that this could be subject to further cuts in future of anywhere between 25 ‑ 50%. The impact of cuts of this magnitude would significantly increase the risk considering that the waste element of this grant accounted for the vast majority of the Council's core waste activities introduced to enable them to work towards statutory recycling targets.
The Risk Register had also been refreshed to ensure that where relevant any mitigating actions outlined in Service Plans were reflected as actions within the Register. Appropriate linkages had also been made with any regulatory reports / reviews, by ensuing that any improvement proposals / recommendations outlined in the reports from the Inspectorates had also been appropriately referenced in the Register (where applicable to a corporate risk).
Members discussed issues surrounding Waste Management.
A Member, in commenting on the WHQS Housing Improvement Programme was informed that the head of Housing and Building Services had requested that this matter be retained in the Corporate Risk Register because the Programme was incomplete.
The Risk Register would be published and publicised on the Council's website.
Having considered the report, it was
(1) T H A T the current position in relation to corporate risks be noted.
(2) T H A T the key recent developments and new / emerging corporate risks be noted.
(3) T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To highlight the current position of corporate risks for the Council.
(2) To ensure that all corporate risks for the Council are effectively monitored, addressed, reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
(3) To ensure Cabinet are aware of and endorse the Risk Register and the actions being taken in mitigation."
Attached as Appendix - Report to Audit Committee: 16th November, 2015