Agenda, decisions and minutes

Virtual Live Streamed Meeting (At present, members of the public are not able to attend), Governance and Audit Committee
Wednesday, 23rd June, 2021 2.00 pm

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Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Ann Holmes 01248 752518 

Items
No. Item

The Chair welcomed all those in attendance to this virtual meeting of the Governance and Audit Committee following which introductions were made and the apologies for absence were noted.

 

1.

Declaration of interest

To receive any declaration of interest by any member or officer in respect of any item of business.

Minutes:

No declaration of interest was received.

 

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 292 KB

To present the minutes of the previous meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 25 May, 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Governance and Audit Committee held on 25 May, 2021 were presented and were confirmed as correct.

 

3.

Draft Annual Governance Statement 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To present the report of the Head of Profession (Human Resources) and Transformation.

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Profession (Human Resources) and Transformation incorporating the draft Annual Governance Statement for 2020/21 was presented for the Committee’s consideration. The purpose of the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) is to provide assurance that the Council’s governance arrangements are appropriate, adequate and are working effectively.

 

The Programme, Business Planning and Performance Manager reported that the Council is responsible for ensuring that its business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards and that public money is safeguarded and used economically, efficiently and effectively. The Council also has a duty under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. In discharging this overall responsibility, the Council is also responsible for putting in place proper arrangements for the governance of its affairs, facilitating the effective exercise of its functions, which include arrangements for the management of risk together with adequate and effective financial management. The Council has approved and adopted a local code of governance that is consistent with the principles contained within the Framework for Delivering Good Governance in Local Government (CIPFA/Solace, 2016). This local code was due to be revised during 2020/21 but because of the pandemic, this work has been rescheduled to 2021/22. The AGS explains how the Council has complied with the code and also meets the requirements of the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014 in relation to a publication of a statement on internal control.

 

The AGS reports on the governance framework that has been in place at the Isle of Anglesey County Council for the year ended 31 March, 2021.Elements of that framework were highlighted as follows –

 

·         Political Management arrangements an overview of which is provided at page 7 of the Statement. The governance framework was substantially amended due to the emergency powers delegated to the Leader and Chief Executive as a result of the pandemic. The Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Local Authorities (Coronavirus) (Meetings) (Wales) Regulations 2020 reduced the legal obligations on local authorities in relation to meetings. Accordingly the Council reviewed its programme of committee meetings. In an effort to ensure that the Council maintained its core business, whilst ensuring democratic accountability and being realistic about the uncertainty that it faced, a strategy for committee meetings to 30 April, 2021 was approved in principle by elected members on 12 May, 2020.

·         Dealing with the Covid 19 crisis has been a significant challenge for the Council – not only in maintaining key front-line services and conducting normal business where possible, but also in ensuring that health and safety arrangements are in place to protect the Council’s staff whilst providing services. On 18 March, 2020 an Emergency Management Response Team (EMRT) comprising of the Senior Leadership Team, Heads of Services, the Council Leader and Deputy Leader and key personnel from an emergency response perspective was set up; the EMRT became the main decision  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Draft Statement of the Accounts 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To present the report of the Director of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer.

 

Minutes:

The report of the Director of Function (Resources) and Section 151 Officers incorporating the draft pre-audit Statement of the Accounts for the 2020/21 financial year was presented for the Committee’s consideration.

 

The Director of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer advised that the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014 (as amended) require that the Responsible Officer for the Isle of Anglesey County Council sign and date the statement of accounts and certify that it presents a true and fair view of the financial position of the body at the end of the year to which it relates and of that body’s income and expenditure for the year. The regulations require that this be completed by the 31 May, 2021. However the extended publication deadlines introduced for the 2019/20 accounts process in recognition of the impact of Covid 19 on local authorities and their staff have been applied to the 2020/21 accounts publication process as well meaning that local authorities have until 31 August, 2021 to approve their draft accounts for 2020/21 and until 30 November, 2021 to publish their final audited accounts. Nevertheless the Authority’s draft 2020/21 accounts were signed by the Section 151 Officer on 15 June, 2021 and thanks are due to the staff of the Finance Service for their work in completing the draft accounts earlier than required. The process has again been challenging this year because of the continuing pressure of dealing with Covid 19 and also because of the need to account for the significant additional funding provided by Welsh Government to support councils through the pandemic.

 

The Statement of the Accounts 2020/21 has been prepared and set out in a format prescribed by  CIPFA’s Local Authority Code of Practice and the requirements  of accounting regulations and practices; it is a statement that is produced annually to give electors, local taxpayers, Members of the Council, employees and other interested parties clear information about the Council’s finances. The main elements of the Statement of the Accounts include the following –

 

·         The Narrative Report which provides an effective guide to the most significant matters reported in the accounts. The report also contains additional information about the Council in general and the main influences on the financial statements which link between the Council’s activities and challenges and how these impact on the financial resources.  In 2020/21, the Council reported an underspend of £4.204m against a planned activity of £142.146m (net budget) and achieved £0.244m of savings. The table at 3.4.1 reflects the final budget for 2020/21 and actual income and expenditure against it. The impact of the underspend means that the Council increased its general reserves by £4.204m to £11.594m which equates to 7.87% of its net revenue budget for 2021/22. The Capital Budget was underspent in the year with the total spend amounting to £33.129m against a total Capital Budget for 2020/21 of £58.425m.

·         Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement (page 17 of the accounts) – shows the cost of providing the Authority’s services during the year in accordance with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.