Agenda item

Corporate Risk Register 2018-19 - Mid-Year Review


Members were presented with mid-year progress information in respect of all risks recorded in the 2018-19 Corporate Risk Register which can be found at appendix two of the report.


The 2018-2019 Corporate Risk Register was approved by Council on 17 April 2018 and is attached at appendix two to the report for Member information. Seven strategic risks were identified as being above the Council’s risk tolerance threshold and were therefore included in the register. Management action is provided against each of those risks by the officers in charge of them and the quarterly risk assessment for each risk is located on pages 81- 93 of the report.  


The Principal Accountant (HRA & Exchequer) welcomed Member input on adding or moving any risks for the 2019/20 register.


The notion was raised by a Member that risk 5 and 6 should be combined for the new register as they link to each other and homelessness can be increased by the rollout of Universal Credit. The amount of Universal Credit given compared to high rent levels is not compatible and makes large swathes of people homeless in a vicious cycle. But the point was stressed that something needed to happen immediately as the nights are growing increasingly colder as winter approaches, action needs to be carried out before the paperwork.


The Assistant Director (Housing) advised that there are synergies between those two risks and there are several lobbying groups nationally that are looking into that correlation. It is a national problem although as of yet no one has linked those two problems together. Measures are in place addressing the risks separately at Gravesham. Over the last four years housing rent arrears have reduced by approximately £800K, however upon roll-out of Universal Credit that rate of reduction rate has slowed down. MT have agreed to the procurement of a particular software which is an analytical tool which helps to better focus the rent recovery work undertaken by staff ; the software will be active from January 2019. The Homelessness Reduction Act that came into effect in April 2018 has directly impacted the figures especially causing an increase in approaches to the council for assistance and also in the numbers placed in temporary accommodation (the figure now stands at 90 as at the end of quarter 2). Some of the temporary accommodation used is in privately rented accommodation, which are charged for at a nightly rate and therefore more expensive.  The grant received from Central Government goes towards topping up some of the rents paid for such accommodation where housing benefit doesn’t cover the cost of the accommodation. 


After a further short discussion on homelessness and Universal Credit, Members agreed that more light should be shone on the difficulties the Housing Team face and it should be made publicly aware that Universal Credit is causing more people to become homeless. Members felt that the public needed to be more aware of the problem people face with claiming for Universal Credit.


Referencing risk 1, concern was raised by a Member and following a detailed overview he asked that the two actions below be incorporated into the Risk Register:


  • Making ongoing financial pressures that Local Government are facing more public
  • Review the best deals and development opportunities for Local Government as a whole 


The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) highlighted the following in response:


  • In terms of public reporting there have been double page spreads in the ‘Your Borough’ magazines talking about ‘Bridging the Gap’ activity, why the Council is in that position and what is being done to combat the problem. As part of the consultation for the new Corporate Plan, a document has been prepared that sets out the financial position of the Council. Next year GBC will receive the outcome of the Fair Funding Review
  • The Council responds to far more consultations than two or three years ago and the Council has become a lot more robust in expressing its views on issues or proposals from Government.
  • GBC are very active in relation to the District Council Network, David Hughes is a member of and engages in that group. This Group, as well as the Local Government Association, are both voicing local government views to the Government 
  • One thing that has changed is about trying to put the case together for a better deal for Local Government overall


The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) advised that she would take all the information back to Management Team for review.


A Member sought clarification on his earlier point of Health and Safety. The Principal Accountant (Housing & Exchequer) advised that the health and safety risks will be managed through each services own departmental risk register. The Corporate Risk Register only deals with overarching risks for the whole Council. A risk that doesn’t exceed the risk tolerance threshold will be given back to individual department risk registers and business plans to be reviewed annually.     


Resolved that Members:


  • noted the progress that has been made so far in managing or mitigating each risk that is recorded within the 2018-2019 Corporate Risk Register
  • propose the merger of risk 5 and 6 on the 2017/18 Risk Register in the 2019/20 register as one risk dealing with Homelessness and Universal Credit
  • propose that the below two actions be incorporated into the 2019/20 register


-       Making ongoing financial pressures that Local Government are facing more public

-       Review the best deals and development opportunities for Local Government as a whole


Supporting documents: