Agenda

Audit Committee - Wednesday, 29th May, 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall. View directions

Contact: Andrea Todd 

Items
No. Item

1.

MEMBERSHIP AND TERMS OF REFERENCE

The Committee is asked to note the following membership and terms of reference for the Audit Committee which were agreed by Council on 1 May 2024.  The Committee is also asked to note the appointments of the Independent Members.

 

Membership

 

8 members (4:2:1 Ind Gp, 1 Min Gp)

 

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

 

Chair: P. Topping

 

Vice Chair: D. Towns

 

 

Conservative

Labour

Independent

Group

Liberal Democrats

Green Party

Ind Non-Grouped

T. Cessford

L. Grimshaw

A. Dale

J. Reid

P. Jackson

A. Wallace

N. Oliver

D. Towns

 

Also:

 

3 Independent Members (non-voting) – P. Topping (Chair), S. Green, J. Hannah

 

Terms of Reference

 

a) Statement of Purpose

The committee’s purpose is to provide an independent and high-level focus on the adequacy of governance, risk and control arrangements. Its role in ensuring there is sufficient assurance over governance, risk and control gives greater confidence to all those charged with governance that those arrangements are effective. The committee has oversight of both internal and external audit, together with the financial and governance reports, helping to ensure there are adequate arrangements in place for both internal challenge and public accountability.

 

b) Governance, risk and control

i) To review the Council’s corporate governance arrangements against the good governance framework, including the ethical framework, and consider the local code of governance.

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

iii) To monitor progress in addressing risk-related issues reported to the committee.

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

v) To consider reports on the effectiveness of financial management arrangements, including compliance with CIPFA’s Financial Management Code.

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

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

viii) To approve the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) policy and procedures, monitor the Council’s use of RIPA powers and to undertake the annual review of the Council’s use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) ensuring compliance with the Code of Practice.

ix) To monitor the counter fraud strategy, actions and resources.

x) To review the governance and assurance arrangements for significant partnerships or collaborations.

 

c) Financial and governance reporting

i) Governance reporting

  • To review the Annual Governance Statement prior to approval and consider whether it properly reflects the risk environment and supporting assurances, including the head of internal audit’s annual opinion.
  • To consider whether the annual evaluation for the Annual Governance Statement fairly concludes that governance arrangements are fit for purpose, supporting the achievement of the authority’s objectives.

ii) Financial reporting:

  • To monitor the arrangements and preparations for financial reporting to ensure that statutory requirements and professional standards can be met.
  • To review the annual statement of accounts. Specifically, to consider whether appropriate accounting policies have been  ...  view the full agenda text for item 1.

2.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 261 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 27 March 2024, as circulated, to be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

4.

DISCLOSURE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

Unless already entered in the Council’s Register of Members’ interests, members are required where a matter arises at a meeting;

 

a. Which directly relates to Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (‘DPI’) as set out in Appendix B, Table 1 of the Code of Conduct, to disclose the interest, not participate in any discussion or vote and not to remain in room. Where members have a DPI or if the matter concerns an executive function and is being considered by a Cabinet Member with a DPI they must notify the Monitoring Officer and arrange for somebody else to deal with the matter.

 

b. Which directly relates to the financial interest or well being of a Other Registrable Interest as set out in Appendix B, Table 2 of the Code of Conduct to disclose the interest and only speak on the matter if members of the public are also allowed to speak at the meeting but otherwise must not take part in any discussion or vote on the matter and must not remain the room.

 

c. Which directly relates to their financial interest or well-being (and is not DPI) or the financial well being of a relative or close associate, to declare the interest and members may only speak on the matter if members of the public are also allowed to speak. Otherwise, the member must not take part in discussion or vote on the matter and must leave the room.

 

d. Which affects the financial well-being of the member, a relative or close associate or a body included under the Other Registrable Interests column in Table 2, to disclose the interest and apply the test set out at paragraph 9 of Appendix B before deciding whether they may remain in the meeting.

 

e. Where Members have or a Cabinet Member has an Other Registerable Interest or Non Registerable Interest in a matter being considered in exercise of their executive function, they must notify the Monitoring Officer and arrange for somebody else to deal with it.

 

NB Any member needing clarification must contact monitoringofficer@northumberland.gov.uk. Members are referred to the Code of Conduct which contains the matters above in full. Please refer to the guidance on disclosures at the rear of this agenda letter.

5.

MONITORING REPORT / ACTION LOG 2024-25 pdf icon PDF 115 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 2024/25 council year.

6.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 162 KB

2023/24 Opinion on the Adequacy and Effectiveness of the Framework of Governance, Risk Management and Control

 

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 CABINET MEMBER FOR CORPORATE SERVICES pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Draft Statement of Accounts 2023/24

 

To update Audit Committee on the publication of the draft (unaudited) Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2024.

 

8.

REPORT OF THE LEADER OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Annual Governance Statement 2023/24

 

The purpose of this report is to enable the Audit Committee to review updates made to the draft Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for 2023-24 and consider whether it properly reflects the risk environment and supporting assurances.  These updates have been made to the draft AGS since Audit Committee considered the draft AGS at it last meeting on 27th March 2024.  

 

Additional documents:

9.

EXTERNAL AUDIT

Progress Update Report

 

To receive a verbal update.

10.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Strategic Audit Plan 2023/24 - 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 2023/24.

Additional documents:

11.

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT AND RISK MANAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 186 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 2023 and April 2024.

Additional documents:

12.

URGENT BUSINESS

13.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, 31 July 2024 at 10.00 am.

 

Future Meeting Dates – 25 September 2024, 27 November 2024, 29 January 2025 and 27 March 2025.