Agenda and minutes

Venue: Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent

Contact: Committee Section 

No. Item




Apologies of absence were received from Stuart Bobby, Director (Corporate Services) and the representatives from Grant Thornton.





Cllr John Knight asked that the minutes be amended to reflect the question he made about a lessons learned paragraph being added to the future Annual Counter Fraud reports. 


The minutes of the meeting on 16 June 2016 were signed by the Chair.



Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were made.


Statement of Accounts 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) provided Members with the draft Statement of Accounts for 2015/16 highlighting the following points:


  • It is still subject to audit by Grant Thornton LLP which will commence on Monday 25 July 2016 
  • The manager of Grant Thornton, Vaughn Matthews parted ways with the organization and a new audit manager has been appointed, Chris Long; the working relationship should continue to be strong
  • The remaining staff and the staff that are usually on site in Gravesham have not changed
  • Chris Long will be attending the F&A Committee in September 2016
  • The most significant change to the Code is the Narrative Statement which reveals a broader scope of items and is a much more helpful guide for the reader to understand the significant matters within the Statement of Accounts report
  • This draft statement of accounts is available on the Gravesham website; the public can view it and raise questions on it to the external auditors until the 10 August 2016
  • Once the auditors have audited the report the finalized Statement of Accounts shall go the September F&A Committee to be signed off by Members


A Member commented on the answer ‘No’ given to the Equality Impact Assessment question at the end of the report; the decision being made adversely affect a group of people specifically those under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.


The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) explained that the Appendix 1 relates purely to the decision being made; this report is for information only.


Narrative Statement


In response to a Member’s question the Assistant Director (Corporate Services) clarified that following the implementation of the two hour parking free zone policy on a Saturday in Gravesend car parks there has been no reduction in income.


After a discussion the Chair advised that the following points in the report be looked into:


·         Legal should be spoken to about the matter of Appendix 1 to see if it is really needed for reports that have no decisions and are for information only

·         In future reports instead of a ‘No’ answer on the Appendix 1 questions it should be expressed as ‘N/A’

·         The accuracy of the wording on Page 19 of the ‘Gravesend Market’ section of the Narrative Statement needs to be checked as the funding may have been possibly secured during the previous administration

·         On Page 20 the Car Parking section needs the last sentence reworded: remove the word ‘cheaper’ and replace with ‘cost-neutral’


Statement of Responsibilities for the Statement of Accounts 


The Committee were satisfied with this section of the report. 


Accounting Policies


Following a Members enquiry as to whether or not GBC are expecting any more refunds from VAT the Assistant Director (Corporate Services) explained the following points:


Car Parks:    The high courts did not support the Isle of Wight claims but there could be a            subsequent claim made about the donations to car parks (ie an hour costs      90p, a payment of £1 is given and the car parks keep the additional 10p).


Theatre:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.


Any other business which by reason of special circumstances the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency. pdf icon PDF 666 KB



5.         AOB – Implications of Brexit on Property Funds


The Chair advised that he would allow the officers to present an oral update item on the Implications of Brexit on the Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Treasury Management Activity. 


Following a response from a Member the Assistant Director (Corporate Services) confirmed that the reason for 28 days’ notice not being given will be provided to the Member outside the meeting.


Please see the Supplementary for the officer’s presentation of this item and Members questions below.


UK Sovereignty


It was challenged by a Member that the testing regime was more thorough in the UK as well as that UK banks grading was better on their own braches within the UK than in such countries as Spain but welcomed the prospect of outside expert help.


Following questions from Members the Assistant Director (Corporate Services) and Principal Accountant (HRA & Housing Exchequer) advised that:


·         Capita can be contacted to attend a future Finance & Audit Committee to explain further their strategy to Members

·         Reports suggest that Brexit will not be as financially damaging as the start of the recession/housing crash of 2008/09


It was separately advised by two Members that: 


·         Brexit does have some positive outcomes from it which need to be included as the report only suggests that the potential impacts will be very bad for GBC

·         EU funding must be monitored as projects such as the Market refurbishment require such money to be continued