Agenda

Audit Committee - Wednesday, 25th May, 2022 10.15 am

Venue: Meeting space, Block 1 Floor 2, County Hall, Morpeth, County Hall, Morpeth, NE61 2EF.

Contact: Andrea Todd 

Note: Guidance for Public Attendance at meetings: *The meeting venue requires access to the normal workplace, so the public are asked to wear face coverings and ensure good hand hygiene. *Arrangements are in place to reserve the required number of seats for meeting participants. Members of the public must contact democraticservices@northumberland.gov.uk if they wish to attend a meeting in person and should specify which meeting. *Members of the public are only allowed entry on a first come basis where capacity allows. *Any member of the press or public may view the proceedings of this meeting live on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/NorthumberlandTV *Signage will be posted once the room capacity has been reached. *Standard Covid secure controls are in place to book in, ensure hand hygiene, ventilate the meeting space and ensure people comply with agreed meeting protocols. *Public Speakers on planning applications must register as usual. 

Items
No. Item

1.

MEMBERSHIP AND TERMS OF REFERENCE

The Committee is asked to note the membership and terms of reference as appointed by Council, and the election of Mr Stephen Watson as Chair of the Committee as appointed by Council on 4 May 2022.

 

8 members (4:2:1 Ind Gp, 1 Min Gp)   

Quorum – 3 (must be at be at least 2 opposition members)

 

Chair: S. Watson

Vice Chair: D. Towns

 

Conservative

Labour

IndependentGroup

Liberal Democrats

Green Party

Ind Non-Grouped

T. Cessford

L. Grimshaw

A. Dale

 

 

 

P. Jackson

A. Wallace

 

 

 

 

N. Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

D. Towns

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also:

2 Independent Members (non-voting) – P. Topping and S. Watson

 

Statement of purpose 

(1)      Our audit committee is a key component of Northumberland County Council’s corporate governance. It provides an independent and high-level focus on the audit, assurance and reporting arrangements that underpin good governance and financial standards. 

(2)      The purpose of our audit committee is to provide independent assurance to those charged with governance of the adequacy of the risk management framework and the internal control environment. It provides independent review of Northumberland County Council’s governance, risk management and control frameworks and oversees the financial reporting and annual governance processes. It oversees internal audit and external audit, helping to ensure efficient and effective assurance arrangements are in place. 

 

Terms of Reference: 

 

Governance, risk and control  

 

(1)      To review the Council’s corporate governance arrangements against the good governance framework, including the ethical framework, and consider annual governance reports and assurances. 

(2)      To review and approve the Annual Governance Statement and consider whether it properly reflects the risk environment and supporting assurances, taking into account internal audit’s opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s framework of governance, risk management and control. 

(3)      To consider the Council’s arrangements to secure value for money and review assurances and assessments on the effectiveness of these arrangements. 

(4)      To consider the Council’s framework of assurance and ensure that it adequately addresses the risks and priorities of the Council. 

(5)      To monitor the effective development and operation of risk management in the Council. 

(6)       To monitor progress in addressing risk-related issues reported to the Committee. 

(7)      To consider reports on the effectiveness of internal controls and monitor the implementation of agreed actions. 

(8)      To review the assessment of fraud risks and potential harm to the Council from fraud and corruption. 

(9)       To monitor the counter-fraud strategy, actions and resources. 

(10)    To review the governance and assurance arrangements for significant partnerships and arrangements. 

 

 Internal audit  

 

 (1)      To approve the internal audit charter. 

(2)      To review proposals made in relation to the appointment of external providers of internal audit services and to make recommendations. 

(3)      To approve the risk-based internal audit plan, including internal audit’s resource requirements, the approach to using other sources of assurance and any work required to place reliance upon those other sources. 

(4)      To approve significant interim changes to the risk-based internal audit plan and resource requirements. 

(5)      To make appropriate enquiries of both management and the head of internal audit to determine if  ...  view the full agenda text for item 1.

2.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 23 March 2022, as circulated, to be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

4.

MONITORING REPORT / ACTION LOG 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

The Audit Committee operates under an agreed programme of core business, in accordance with its Terms of Reference as set out in the Council’s Constitution. The Committee is asked to review and note its monitoring report/action log for the 2022/23 council year.

5.

DISCLOSURE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

Unless already entered in the Council’s Register of Members’ interests, members are required to disclose any personal interest (which includes any disclosable pecuniary interest) they may have in any of the items included on the agenda for the meeting in accordance with the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council on 4 July 2012, and are reminded that if they have any personal interests of a prejudicial nature (as defined under paragraph 17 of the Code Conduct) they must not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter.

 

NB Any member needing clarification must contact the Monitoring Officer at monitoringofficer@northumberland.gov.uk. Please refer to the guidance on disclosures at the rear of this Agenda letter.

6.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 100 KB

21-22 Opinion on the Adequacy and Effectiveness of the Framework of Governance, Risk Management and Control Annual Opinion Report

 

The purpose of this report is to provide the annual opinion from the Chief Internal Auditor on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the organisation’s framework of governance, risk management and control, taking into account the expectations of the Council’s Leadership Team, Audit Committee and other key stakeholders.

Additional documents:

7.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Key Outcomes from Internal Audit Reports

 

The purpose of this report is to advise Audit Committee of key outcomes from Internal Audit reports issued between November 2021 and May 2022.

Additional documents:

8.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Annual Review of Audit Committee Effectiveness

 

To receive a verbal update.

 

9.

REPORT OF THE EXTERNAL AUDITOR pdf icon PDF 450 KB

External Audit Progress Report

         

To receive a progress report.

10.

URGENT BUSINESS (IF ANY)

To consider such other business as, in the opinion of the Chair, should, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

11.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, 27 July 2022 at 10.15 am.

PART II

It is expected that matters included in this part of the Agenda will be dealt with in private.  Reports referred to are enclosed for members and officers only, coloured pink and marked "Not for Publication".

12.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

The Committee is invited to consider passing the following resolution:

 

(a)    That under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item on the Agenda as it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I of Schedule 12A of the 1972 Act, and

 

(b)    That the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure for the following reasons:-

 

 

Agenda Items         

 

13, 14, 15                          Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding the information).

 

Disclosure could adversely affect the business reputation or confidence in the person/organisation, and could adversely affect commercial revenue.

 

 

13.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Strategic Audit Plan 2021 22 - Final Monitoring Statement

 

The purpose of this report is to provide Audit Committee with a final monitoring statement in respect of the Strategic Audit Plan for 2021/22.

 

14.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Risk Management Update

 

The purpose of this report is to provide Audit Committee with an update on progress with the development, implementation and embedding of risk management within the County Council; and to inform Audit Committee of the latest position of the corporate risks following review by Executive Team and Cabinet portfolio holders in April 2022.

 

 

15.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Group Audit Committee - Advance Northumberland Internal Audit Update

 

The purpose of this report is to update Group Audit Committee on the Chief Internal Auditor’s Annual Opinion for 2021/22 on the Framework of Governance, Risk and Control for Advance Northumberland Group of Companies together with the agreed Strategic Audit Plan 2022/23.