Agenda item

Audit & Counter Fraud Plan 2019-20

Minutes:

The Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services sought Member approval for the Audit & Counter Fraud 2019-20 Plan for Gravesham which was attached at appendix 2.

 

The plan had been prepared in line with the requirements of the Standards and was based on a cyclical programme of core financial and governance activities as well as a risk assessment to ensure the team’s resources were directed to the highest areas of risk.

 

In response to a Members concerns over officers using qualitative and quantitative data appropriately and an evaluation on the actual concept of shared arrangements in the next quarter, the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services advised that:

 

  • With regard to shared working arrangements, in item three of the report, the Audit Team sets out their responsibilities and states that they will be carrying out a review of partnership frameworks and shared working arrangements to ensure everything is in place and beneficial to the Council 
  • He would feed back the comment, ensuring qualitative and quantitative data is captured during the data collection, to the auditor that will be carrying out that piece of work

 

The Committee queried ten days of resources being allocated to review the Councils Constitution as a number of changes to the Constitution had previously been agreed at the meeting of Full Council on Tuesday, 26 February 2019. It was suggested that that ten day allocation would be better served reviewing the Planning Department and their processes.

 

The Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services directed Members attention to ‘Ref 1’ on page 74 advising them that the Audit Team were required to review the Constitution under the review of the Councils corporate governance arrangements on a periodic basis. The review isn’t looking at the Constitution itself but rather the controls and processes behind the Constitution to ensure they are still effective and carried out properly.

 

The Assistant Director (Corporate Series) added that a series of changes had been made to the Constitution but there was still much work to do; the Council is conducting a comprehensive review of the Constitution, the outcomes of which would be passed through Full Council, which would ensure Member involvement.

 

On the matter of Planning, the Corporate Performance Team will be reviewing the processes of the department as part of the SRT Review options which aimed to review the effectiveness and efficiency of the planning service.  An external review was conducted but internally the Corporate Performance Team will be directed to carry out process reviews which will identify opportunities to change some of the processes currently followed by the planning team. The changes will seek to increase efficiency across the department.

 

A short discussion was had in response to the Chairs question on the shared working arrangements with Medway and the recent issue that was still being investigated with the CCTV shared service. The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) advised Members that the investigation was still ongoing and there was no update to provide Members. The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) committed to give a full update to the Committee as soon as it became available.

 

Concern was raised by the Committee over shared services and the control mechanisms in place to ensure the shared services performed effectively and Members were kept up to date with all relevant information. 

 

The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) explained that the reviews and performance information of individual shared service arrangements go through their respective Cabinet Committees. Any concerns would most likely be brought to the attention of the relevant Portfolio Holder.  Members could seek assurance or raise concerns about those services at the Cabinet Committees or by discussing it directly with the Portfolio Holder. Senior management team also continuously monitor the shared service arrangements within the Council and would report any major concerns to the Portfolio Holders and the Leader.  The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) agreed to clarify the arrangements in place and email Members with an update after the meeting.

 

The Committee suggested that there needed to be a proper formal arrangement in place that informed Cabinet Members whenever there was a problem with the shared service arrangements and established a chain of communication between officers and Members.

 

The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) advised the Committee that she would raise the discussion at a Management Team meeting for discussion and report back to the Committee.

 

A Member pointed out that the Constitution had too much technical jargon within the wording and needed to be simpler for Members to understand. The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) advised that she would pass that comment back to the Head of Shared Legal Services.

 

Resolved that Members approved the Audit & Counter Fraud 2019-20 Plan for Gravesham subject to the aforementioned amendments.

 

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