Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Aquila House, Breeds Place, Hastings, TN34 3UY. Please enter the building via the Tourist Information Centre entrance.
Contact: Emily Horne on 01424 451719 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Previously 23rd - moved due to EU Referendum
Items No. Item
Declaration of Interest
There were no declarations of interest made at this meeting.
Apologies for Absence
Absence was noted for Councillor Sinden.
RESOLVED – (unanimously) that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 March 2016 be approved and signed by the Chair as a true record.
- Appendix A - BDO Grant Claims and Returns Certification year ended 31 March 2015 , item 38. PDF 82 KB
The Assistant Director – Financial Services & Revenues presented his report setting out the audit of the Housing Benefit Subsidy Claim undertaken by external audit. The BDO report summarises the matters arising from the certification of the Housing Benefit Subsidy Claim for the financial year ended 31 March 2015. The report also included the amount of fees incurred.
It was noted that there had been a slight delay in agreeing the certified grant claim 2014/15 due to the additional testing that was required.
The report identified a change to the draft claim due to a change in the Council’s entitlement.
Members sought clarification on the testing process.
Councillor Clark thanked everyone involved in keeping the errors to a minimum.
RESOLVED – (unanimously) to accept the External Auditor’s Report on the Audit of the Housing Benefit Subsidy Claim for the year ended 31 March 2015.
The Assistant Director – Financial Services & Revenues introduced his report setting out the Planning Letter to consider the matters raised by the Council’s external auditors (BDO) in respect of their proposed audit fees and programme of work for the 2016/17 financial year. The Planning Letter to the Audit Committee was appended to the report.
Jody Etherington, Audit Manager BDO, presented the plan. He informed the committee that the scale fee was consistent with 2015/16. However, there had been a delay in certification for the 2014/15 housing benefit claim. The certification fee for 2015/16 will remain the same.
Councillor Clarke enquired why there was downward pressure on the audit fees and whether it was a reflection across the public sector or due to current times.
The Audit Manager, BDO, confirmed that the scale audit fees were set by the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA) and that there had been a 25% reduction in the fee’s for 2015/16.
RESOLVED– (unanimously) that the Audit accepts the report.
The Assistant Director – Financial Services & Revenues presented the Chief Auditors report on the annual review of the effectiveness of Internal Audit to Council.
He advised that the internal and corporate government controls were still working and the outcome was positive.
Councillor Clarke queried the status of the contingency plan and was advised that it was still ongoing.
RESOLVED– (unanimously) that the Audit report 2016 be presented to Council.
The Assistant Director – Financial Services & Revenues presented the Chief Auditors report on the Annual Government Statement 2015/16. The purpose of the report was to provide assurance that the Council’s governance framework was adequate and effective.
The Committee was asked to recommend the Leader of the Council and Director of Corporate Services and Governance sign the Annual Governance Statement 2015/16 on behalf of the Council in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
The Annual Governance Statement for 2015/16 was appended to the report.
In the last Annual Governance Statement 2015/16, one risk had been identified relating to the reduction in Government grant funding. The budget for 2016/17 has been balanced. No further risks were identified in annual governance.
Councillor Beaver asked if the risk to funding in last statement will be the same now that funding will stop for EU projects.
The Assistant Director – Financial Services & Revenues confirmed that existing schemes had been approved, however going forward funding will only last till 2020/21 and no further. Funding received during the last year has been significant for the town, however some claims have not been submitted. They are not at risk.
Councillor Clarke referred to the financial risk regarding ‘Brexit’, for example, he said the fishermen will lose access to the ice maker. We need to make it clear what is funded by EU and that we will inevitably do less of.
The Assistant Director – Financial Services & Revenues explained that the Fishermen’s Icemaker will be applied for under Flag II and community led local development (CLLD).
The Assistant Director – Financial Services & Revenues said that uncertainty remains regarding the external funding and implications going forward. Interest rates will be reported in mid-term financial statements.
1. that the Assistant Director – Financial Services & Revenues amends the Annual Governance Statement to include the emerging implications arising from the national referendum and the vote to exit the EU.
2. that the Audit Committee recommends that the Leader and Director of Corporate Services and Governance sign the Annual Governance Statement.
Notification of any additional urgent items (if any)