Agenda

Audit Committee - Wednesday, 28th July, 2021 10.15 am

Venue: Committee Room 1 County Hall Morpeth NE61 2EF

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 7 July 2021

 

8 members (4:3:1)  

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

 

Independent Chair: S. Watson 

 

Vice Chair: D. Towns 

 

Conservative 

Labour 

Independent

Group 

Liberal Democrats 

Green Party 

Ind Non-Grouped 

T. Cessford 

S. Dickinson 

C. Taylor 

 

 

 

P. Jackson 

L. Grimshaw 

 

 

 

 

N. Oliver 

A. Scott 

 

 

 

 

D. Towns 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also: 

2 Independent Members (non-voting) –  P. Topping and one vacancy

 

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 239 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 24 March 2021, 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 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 and must leave the room. NB Any member needing clarification must contact Legal Services by email at monitoringofficer@northumberland.gov.uk  Please refer to the guidance on disclosures at the rear of this agenda letter.

5.

REPORTS OF THE EXTERNAL AUDITOR pdf icon PDF 616 KB

(1)        Interim Audit Completion Report 2019-20

 

(2)        FinalAudit Completion Report 2019-20

 

(3)        Northumberland Pension Fund - Follow Up Letter

 

(4)        Audit Completion Report 2019-20 - Pension Fund

 

Additional documents:

6.

REPORTS OF THE ACTING CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITOR pdf icon PDF 93 KB

(1)       2020/21 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.

 

(2)       Key Outcomes from Internal Audit Reports (Issued November 2020 – July 2021)

 

The purpose of this report is to advise Audit Committee of key outcomes from Internal Audit reports issued between November 2020 and July 2021.

 

Additional documents:

7.

REPORTS OF THE INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE pdf icon PDF 194 KB

(1)        Final Statement of Accounts 2019-20

 

The purpose of this report is to seek the Committee’s approval of the final statement of accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2020.

 

(2)        Statement of Accounts - Group Boundary Review  

 

The purpose of this report is to provide members of the Audit Committee with details of the boundary review which has been undertaken to determine those organisations which should have their financial statements consolidated with the Council’s Statement of Accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2021.  Particular consideration is given to the position of Active Northumberland.

 

(3)        Pension Fund Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20

 

The purpose of this report is to provide the Audit Committee with an update related to the Council’s 2019-20 Pension Fund Annual Report and to assist Members in carrying out their role in reviewing the Financial Statements.

 

(4)        Annual Report of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme

Local Pension Board 2020-2021

 

To receive the above report.

 

 

Additional documents:

8.

URGENT BUSINESS

9.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, 22 September 2021 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".

10.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

The Audit 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            Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A

 

11-12                                       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.

 

 

11.

REPORT OF THE ACTING CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITOR

Strategic Audit Plan 2020/21 – 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 2020/21.

12.

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR- CORPORATE ASSURANCE

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 as agreed by Executive Team and considered by Cabinet portfolio holders in April 2021.