Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions

Contact: Committee Section 

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apology for absence were received from Cllr Derek Ashenden and Cllr Samir Jassal. Cllr Frank Wardle substituted.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 152 KB


The minutes of the meeting on Monday, 13 February 2023 were signed by the Chair.



Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.



External Audit Update pdf icon PDF 3 MB


There were no declarations of interest.



Review of Accounting Policies 2022- 23 pdf icon PDF 203 KB

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The Committees endorsement was sought of the Accounting Policies to be used in formulating the Financial Statements for the authority for the financial year 2022-23.


The Principal Accountant (General Fund) informed Members that as at the time of writing, there were no major changes to The Code that had been identified that would influence the council’s accounting policies for 2022-23. The accounting policies would therefore broadly remain in line with those used to prepare the 2021-22 Statement of Accounts, although opportunity has been taken to review the wording of accounting policies and update where necessary to provide greater clarification.


The Principal Accountant (General Fund) added that as of writing, the audit of the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts remains outstanding due to technical accounting challenges regarding the St George’s Shopping Centre. This meant that the Statements of Accounts for 2020/21 and 2022/22 were also outstanding as there were no agreed / audited opening balances upon which to commence those processes. Thus, no auditor amendments to the accounting policies as a result of those processes were yet to be factored into the current version.


The Principal Accountant (General Fund) had shared the documents with the external auditors and requested comments. Members were assured that any fundamental changes arising from the audit would be incorporated into the document and brought back to the Committee for review.


In response to the Chairs question around governance, the Principal Accountant (General Fund) advised that the Councils Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo) had governance arrangements in place for operations and auditing which are separate to the Council’s own arrangements. The formatting for the Council’s Statement of Accounts, incorporating the LATCO as part of the overall Group Accounts would keep the format used as much as possible for the Council’s own statements.


Resolved that Members agreed to endorse the use of the Accounting Policies as outlined at

Appendix One to the report, subject to comments from the Council’s external auditor.




Corporate Risk pdf icon PDF 353 KB

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The Committee was provided with the outcome of the annual risk identification and analysis exercise, the purpose of which was to assist in the development of Gravesham Borough Council's Corporate Risk Register for 2023-2024.


The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) directed Members to appendix one which held the Risk Management Strategy. The Strategy was reviewed annually and there were no updates or amendments made to the Risk Management Strategy 2023-24. 


The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) directed Members to paragraph 3.2 of the report which held a summary of the Councils seven identified risks; one additional risk for 2023-24 ‘Implementation of the Elections Act’, had been incorporated into the Corporate Risk Register. Further information on the seven identified risks could be found in the document attached at appendix two to the report.


Following a Members question, the Assistant Director (Corporate Services) explained that the seven risks on the register were the only ones identified during the process for 2023-24. The draft corporate risk register had been presented to Management Team for comment prior to the Finance and Audit Committee.


Resolved that Members approved the draft Corporate Risk Register, prior to it being presented at Cabinet on Monday, 20 March for approval.



CIPFA FM Code pdf icon PDF 283 KB

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The Committee was provided with an overview of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants (CIPFA) Financial Management Code 2019, along with an annual self-assessment that was undertaken in January 2023 to identify compliance and areas for further consideration.


Appendix one set out the annual self-assessment against the financial management code, undertaken by the Finance team and a column had been included which detailed how compliant the council was against the seventeen requirements of the code. The assessment included any areas that may need improvement to ensure full compliance. However, the self-assessment conducted during January 2023 concluded that there were no significant improvements to be made.


The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) explained that the code and the Councils approach to the Code had been discussed with the Section 151 Officer. Additionally, the report had been through the Councils Management Team and had received their comments and endorsement.


Members noted the report.



Internal Audit & Counter Fraud Quality Assurance & Improvement Program pdf icon PDF 286 KB

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The Committees approval was sought for the Internal Audit Quality Assurance & Improvement Programme (QAIP) for 2023-24.


The Head of Internal Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services explained that there had been some changes to the Key performance indicators for the coming year, which were meant to be shown as tracked changes on the document at appendix two however there were issues with the committee software which erased the changes. However, a detailed breakdown of the changes could be found at section 2.3 of the report. 


Resolved that Members approved the QAIP presented at Appendix 3 for use in 2023-24.



Internal Audit Plan 2023-24 (Q1-Q2) pdf icon PDF 222 KB

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The Committees approval was sought for Gravesham’s Internal Audit Plan (Q1-Q2) 2023-24.


The Head of Internal Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services explained that he had trialled a new approach to the audit plan for 2022-23 however due to unexpected vacancies within the team he had been unable to demonstrate if the new approach had been effective so the new approach would be trialled again this year.


The Head of Internal Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services explained that although a plan was drafted for the full year based on resources predicted to be available, given that the risk assessment was completed in January, there was a high probability that changes occurring in the year could result in changes to the risk landscape that needed to be addressed. As such the plan being presented for approval was only for the first six months of the financial year.


In July, the resource budget and risk assessment detailed in the report would be reviewed

to take account of any changes and updated accordingly. That would then inform the plan for the remainder of the year, which would be presented to the Finance & Audit Committee for approval in September 2023, along with the first progress update.


Resolved that Members approved the Internal Audit Plan (Q1-Q2) 2023-24 for Gravesham

presented at Appendix Two.



Counter Fraud Plan 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 208 KB

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The Committees approval was sought for the Counter Fraud Plan for 2023-24.


The plan for 2023-24 had been designed around four keys’ areas of activity; the report outlined the work to be undertaken in the below areas:


  • Fraud Awareness and Prevention
  • Pro-Active Counter Fraud Activity
  • Responsive Investigation Activity
  • Other Counter Fraud Activity


The Head of Internal Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services advised Members that the performance information on page 147 had been expanded slightly for 2023-24 to include details of the number of civil actions and criminal sanctions being applied as a consequence of investigative activity to provide Members a broader picture of the impact, in addition to the financial savings.


In response to a Members question concerning training, the Head of Internal Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services assured Members that a fraud awareness training session had been scheduled as part of the Member Induction Plan 2023. Further sessions to backdate any Members that may be unable to attend that session could be held later on in the year. 


Resolved that Members approved the Counter Fraud Plan 2023-24 presented at Appendix Two.



Any Other Business


The Chair thanked Members and officers for supporting him during his Chairmanship of the Committee and for their very hard work over the last four years ensuring careful scrutiny of the Councils financial arrangements.