Agenda and minutes
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Contact: Emily Horne on 01424 451719 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The recording of this meeting is available online at https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my_council/cm/?video=267437841
Items No. Item
Apologies for absence
Absence was noted for Councillor Davies.
Declarations of interest
RESOLVED – (unanimously) that the minutes of the meeting held on 31 March 2018 be approved and signed by the Chair as a true record.
- Appendix A - BDO Audit Plan to the Audit Committee (Audit for the year ended 31 March 2018) , item 20. PDF 138 KB
The Assistant Director, Financial Services and Revenues, presented the BDO audit plan for the audit of the Council’s accounts and Value for Money arrangements. The report from BDO highlighted the risk based approach to the audit and the main risks they have identified. It also showed the proposed audit fees.
The Assistant Director, Financial Services and Revenues, introduced Leigh Lloyd-Thomas, BDO Partner, to advise on the plan for the remainder of the year for closing the accounts.
Mr Lloyd-Thomas explained the Audit Plan addressed the following areas; scope, materiality, areas of risk, group accounts and sustainable finances.
In July BDO will report on the key findings and judgements for signing the Annual Accounts.
Councillor Rankin asked what size the Hastings Housing Company needs to be to require group accounts? Mr Lloyd –Thomas explained the criteria that needed to be taken into account and that the threshold in the case of Hastings Borough Council is £1.8million. The Assistant Director, Financial Services and Revenues added that the assets Hastings Borough Council Housing Company were under £800,000 compared to the £1.8millon.
Councillor Sinden asked who the ‘Use of Resources’ judgement was compared to. Mr Lloyd-Thomas said the comparison was against other Districts. He said that BDO bench mark figures very carefully and that Hastings Borough Council comes out as a higher spending council per person due to legitimate reason eg deprivation.
RESOLVED (unanimously) to accept the External Auditor’s Audit Plan.
The reason for the decision was: The Audit Committee, as required by the Constitution, receives and notes the External Auditor’s Audit Plan on behalf of the Council.
The Chief Auditor submitted his report to the Committee to consider the proposed internal audit plan for 2018/19.
The Chief Auditor said his report sought approval to proceed and went on to give a brief outline of the plan. He said that the plan was designed to discharge the core audits as soon as practical and that the remainder of it was taken up by topical audits with built in flexibility for emerging risks. There was an outline of each audit in the pages behind the calendarised schedule which also included the reason for each audit. He highlighted that the Section 106 audit was there because of the financial materiality and change in key personnel and that the audit of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) was included because of the inherent financial risk and potential damage to reputation.
Councillor Charman said that Members were aware Section 106 monies being due to the Council but could not be sure what it was being spent on and that it would be useful if it was more transparent. The Chief Auditor said the intention of this audit had originally been to provide the committee with just an assurance of effectiveness of the controls over accuracy. He pointed out that it was a complex area but would broaden the scope to include transparency.
Councillor Chowney welcomed the audit of S106 administration. He said it was an area where the public think money disappears. He also welcomed the audit of GDPR arrangements and pointed out that there were complexities that made it difficult for Members to adhere to the regulations. He asked for the GDPR audit to cover both the Council and Members.
Mr Lloyd-Thomas asked if Councillors maintain private email accounts as well as HBC email accounts? He went on to say that there was differing legal advice within the Authorities, for example, some Members are advised to keep emails within the confines of their Authority account and others told they can use their private account.
Councillor Charman explained that anything related to your role as a Councillor should be contained within the Council’s systems. This way is easier for Members,the data is managed and it is within the Council’s policies. The main issues are that you cannot use your HBC Councillor email address on leaflets during purdah. Any emails received have to be forwarded to your Councillor email to deal with. During purdah it is confusing and clarification by an audit would be welcome.
Councillor Charman referred to the GDPR audit and explained that the only time she emails to her personal account is when it is necessary print. She recommended Audit attend the GDPR training for Members in order to observe what issues they have been having. She suggested asking Members to complete a questionnaire to see if there are more action points, might be a good way forward
The Assistant Director, Financial Services and Revenues advised that new tablets were on the way to replace the current iPad devices ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
Notification of any additional urgent items (if any)