To present the report of the Chair of the Committee.
The Annual Report of the Governance and Audit Committee for 2020/21 was presented for the Committee’s endorsement. The Committee is required to report to those charged with governance i.e. the County Council an assessment of its performance on its activities during the year to demonstrate how the Committee has discharged its responsibilities. The report outlines the work of the Committee during 2020/21 and how it has undertaken its responsibilities for reviewing the key areas within its remit.
The Head of Audit and Risk referred to an inaccuracy at Appendix A of the report which sets out the frequency of meetings and Members’ attendance, with regard to the total in attendance at the 1 December, 2020 and 9 February, 2021 meetings where Councillor Robin Williams (Portfolio Member for Finance but not a member of the Committee) has inadvertently been included in the attendance numbers.
In reviewing the report, the following points/suggestions were made by the Vice-Chair –
· Clarification of paragraph 6 headed Annual Governance Statement 2019/20 and the relevance of the reference to the External Audit report on the Financial Statements to the subject matter. The Head of Audit and Risk clarified that the AGS is published as part of the Financial Statements which reflect the Authority’s financial activities and how it spends its money and as such show how financial governance is exercised by the Council within the wider governance framework.
· With regard to paragraph 15 where it refers to the Committee’s request for a response from the relevant Head of Service to the year on year decline in the policy acceptance compliance level of the service’s staff , to include the response if forthcoming and if not, to say so. The Head of Audit and Risk confirmed that she would follow the matter up to confirm whether or not a response had been received.
· Repetition with regard to the frequency of meetings at paragraphs 66 and 67. The Head of Audit and Risk clarified that paragraph 66 refers to the CIPFA Guidance which states that the Committee should meet regularly and paragraph 67 refers to the Committee’s terms of reference which require it to meet at least four times per year.
· Replace “Membership” with “Members” in the first sentence of paragraph 71.
· At paragraph 74 to add that the Council did resolve to amend the Constitution to reduce the number of lay members required on the Governance and Audit Committee from two to one.
The Chair took the opportunity to thank both his fellow members and the staff of the Finance and Internal Audit services for their support and contribution to the work of the Committee during a difficult year. He further paid tribute to the Finance Service’s staff for their work in administering and processing Welsh Government’s business support grants during the pandemic which was in addition to their day to day work.
It was resolved to endorse the Annual Report of the Governance and Audit Committee for 2020/21 prior to its submission to the meeting of the County Council on 7 September, 2021.