Venue: virtually via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Amanda Clayton 01246 34 5273
Declarations of Members' and Officers' Interests relating to Items on the Agenda
No declarations of interest were received.
Apologies for Absence
No apologies for absence were received.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Standards and Audit Committee held on 5 February, 2020 and 19 March, 2020 were agreed as true records and signed by the Chair.
The Monitoring Officer reminded the committee that emergency delegations were introduced following a meeting of the committee on 19th March 2020. The delegations permitted single officer/Member delegated decisions to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Corona Virus Act 2020 enabled the introduction of remote member level meetings and the committee was given an outline of the revised procedures. It was acknowledged that these temporary powers would potentially remain in place until May 2021. A meeting of the Licensing Committee was due to take place the following day and other committee meetings would follow based on the priority level of the decisions required.
The Standing Orders were attached to the officers’ report at Appendix A.
Other arrangements were proposed to help facilitate sealing of council deeds during lockdown and to ensure proper record keeping of emergency procurement.
The Chair thanked the Monitoring Officer and his team, Democratic Services and ICT Services for all their hard work, time and effort ensuring that the council could continue to deliver its services to the Borough.
1. That the report be noted.
2. That officers determine the most effective way to phase in remote meetings
3. That the draft Standing Orders for remote meetings be approved, with the Monitoring Officer authorised to make any reasonable amendments to ensure effective operation of remote meetings.
4. That appropriate member training (to be carried out remotely) and guidance is put in place to enable effective remote meetings.
5. That a power of attorney be entered into to facilitate an alternative means of executing deeds by the individual officers identified in the report, where appropriate.
6. That the Council’s contract procedure rules be applied taking into account Procurement Policy Note – Responding to COVID-19 Information Note PPN 01/20 and other relevant government guidance. Procurement waiver applications in these circumstances to be considered by the Local Government and Regulatory Law Manager.
The Internal Audit Consortium Manager presented a report for members to consider and agree the Internal Audit Plan for 2020/21.
The detailed plan for 2020/21 was attached at Appendix B to the report and had been prepared in consultation with the Senior Leadership Team and the Corporate Management Team, prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic taking into account the following factors:
· The Council’s objectives and priorities;
· Local and national issues and risks;
· The requirement to produce an annual internal audit opinion;
· The Council’s assurance framework;
· An update of the internal audit risk assessment exercise covering the financial control and other procedures subject to audit;
· The Council’s strategic risk register;
· The views of the Corporate Management Team.
The plan outlined the assignments to be carried out during 2020/21, their respective priorities and the estimated resources needed. The plan allocated 560 days to Chesterfield Borough Council for 2019/20, which was the same allocation as in the previous four years.
The Internal Audit Consortium Manager was satisfied that the plan would provide sufficient data to form an audit opinion but it was acknowledged that the plan will need to be adjusted due to the impact of COVID-19. The following points were highlighted;
· The grants awarded to local businesses would need to be reviewed to detect any potential fraud
· It would be necessary to review how effective the council’s emergency planning had been
· High risk areas would be prioritised in the coming months and regular updates on these provided to the committee
It was noted that the audit report on Procurement would be presented at the next meeting of the committee. The Chair also requested that the updated plan be brought to each subsequent meeting of the Committee.
1. That the Internal Audit Plan for 2020/21 be agreed.
2. That it be noted that the plan will need to be adjusted and prioritised in future months due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.