Venue: Room 1, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions
Contact: Metin Halil
WELCOME AND APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mary Maguire, Councillor Terry Neville and Mrs Chaitali Roy (Independent Person).
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
Members of the Committee are invited to identify any dis-closable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non - pecuniary interests relevant to items on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
ORDER OF THE AGENDA
AGREED that the order of the agenda be varied due to those attendees living out of London. The minutes follow the order of the meeting.
To receive from the Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care providing a verbal update on the Council’s Housing Supply and Homelessness and action points - arising from the 5 November 2015 committee meeting.
RECEIVED a report from the Director – Health, Housing & Adult Social Care regarding an action arising from the 5 November 2015 committee meeting regarding Destitute homeless families with no re-course to Public funds arriving in the Borough.
The report was presented by Sally Mcternan (Assistant Director – Community Housing).
1. Housing service areas were now part of the Assessment Hub and as part of that re-organisation Sally McTernan introduced Olu Oni, who is the Homeless and Immigration Services Manager.
2. One of the areas which requires some clarity for some members of Audit Committee who had a particular interest on how the Council deals with families who enter the borough and who have no re-course to public funds. These numbers were not showing up on the homelessness service statistics and Sally was invited to explain how those families are being managed by the Council.
3. The reason why the homeless service did not record statistical information about families coming to the borough who have no re-course to public funds is that there is a separate service who deal with those families, managed by Olu Oni. The report provided a breakdown of the numbers of households who have entered Enfield and who have been assessed as requiring assistance from the Council under the Children’s Service – Child in need assessment, in particular Section 17 of the Children’s Act. Including a subsequent assessment of human rights of those households, by the Homeless and Immigration service.
4. Table 3.5 (page 2) of the report details some statistics that go back over the past 2 years which shows that there has been a steady flow of numbers, a band of steadiness. There has not been massive increases or decreases. The Council are looking at around 130-150 families requiring assistance from the Council.
5. The report concludes with a report about the Government’s Syrian Re-settlement Programme which the Council is ready in playing its part in assisting Syrian refugees. At this point in time there had been no requirement for the Council to mobilise in response to the refugee programme.
6. The following issues raised by members in response to the report:
a. There had not been any further guidance from the government regarding the Syrian re-settlement programme. The Council were in ‘wait and see’ situation. The Council would be part of a London response to the programme once it starts.
b. Olu Oni clarified that those families who have had support ended in the year following a grant of leave to remain were initially supported, but after review, was found not to be eligible. They had come to the end of the road as regards their Home Office applications. They did not satisfy Home Office criteria and most of them took voluntary re-patriation.
c. The Council were still waiting for further information regarding the arrival of Syrian refugees.
d. Councillor Brett was heading up a group of officers who will prepare and mobilise staff/resources as soon as they are advised ... view the full minutes text for item 358.
To receive from the Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care providing an update on the Council’s Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) - arising from the 5 November 2015 committee meeting.
RECEIVED a report from the Director – Health, Housing & Adult Social Care providing an update on the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).
The report was presented by Bindi Nagra (Acting Director – Health, Housing & Adult Social Care, Sharon Burgess ( Head – Safeguarding Adults and Quallity) and Liana Kotze (MCA & DoLS Manager)
1. At the last Audit Committee, members heard about a Depravation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) audit completed in August 2015, which identified a number of areas of limited assurance. This report outlines the current position the current position regarding DolS applications and assessments.
2. Enfield was not unique in having pressures around DoLS safeguards, there is a problem nationally.
DoLS safeguards require Council’s to undertake very comprehensive assessments for people who may have their liberty deprived from them as a result of receiving care & support services, often in a residential nursing home or hospital. These are people who are in need of care and support including NHS Services, who would not be able to make decisions for themselves regarding their own safety.
As a resort, there is a process put in place by the Supreme Court that states; assessments have to be undertaken to ensure that the Council does everything it can to have a least restrictive approach that ultimately, if that patient or service user heads for the door, they will be detained by care or NHS staff.
That includes people who have been taken to hospital, are in coma’s or admitted to A & E. This covered a range of people in care homes who are often older people with dementia, who may be compliant with their care, but in reality would not be allowed to leave the building or may compel them to have some certain types of care & support i.e. compel them to have a wash.
DoLS puts in place this assessment process and then the Council authorises their detention, care and support.
3. In terms of Council and Court powers, these are probably the most serious powers imaginable. Individuals are told that they are not going to be left to do as they please and that they will be restrained from having free will.
4. In terms of the national position, ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) estimates 50,000 applications that are not being processed properly and consistent with the time scales set out by the Supreme Court.
5. As detailed at the bottom of page 5 of the report, the number of DoLS applications over the last few years has steadily increased and there had been 703 applications this year already.
6. The Government had not seen this as a new burden from which they have not provided sufficient funding to meet the new requirements. This financial year the Council were given £38K, and given that 1 assessment of a 6 stage process costs £1K, it is very costly and time consuming.
All Councils’ are struggling with this issue including Enfield. The Council has 75 ... view the full minutes text for item 359.
To receive the report of the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services summarising the work that the Internal Audit and Risk Management Service (ARMS) has completed for the period 1 April 2015 to 30 November 2015.
RECEIVED the report of the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services (No.166) summarising the work of the Internal Audit and Risk Management Service for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 December 2015.
1. During the review period, the Internal Audit team had commenced 77 assignments (96% of the current plan) of which 25 (31%) had been completed. 41 reviews (51%) had reached the draft report stage. A summary of the progress in delivering the 2015/16 audit plan had been provided in Table 1 (3.4 – page 2) of the report, with a more detailed analysis of the status of each review, set out in Appendix 1 (pages 12-16) of the report.
2. Table 2 (page 3) detailed a breakdown of assurances for completed audits to date with 25 in total.
3. The number and priorities of recommendations arising from completed reviews to date were detailed in Table 3 (page 3). There had been 236 recommendations raised including 21 that were of a high importance.
4. Changes to the 2015/16 audit plan, since approved by Audit Committee in March 2015 are all detailed at Appendix 2 (pages 18-19). These changes included agreed school and IT audits to reflect key risks faced by the Council in 2015/16.
5. The results of Enfield 2017 risk awareness work are being reported to Internal Audit on a regular basis.
6. Six audits had been reported with Limited assurance to date. Three of these had been issued since the last Audit meeting and are detailed at 3.10, 3.11 & 3.12 (pages 4-5) of the report.
7. At the last Committee meeting (5 November 2015), there had been a request by Members for details regarding the internal audit of property and land acquisitions review relating to regeneration projects. This has been detailed at 3.13 – 3.14 (pages 5 – 6) of the report.
8. Managers’ progress with implementation of internal audit recommendations, that were due to be implemented by 30 November 2015 are presented at Table 4 (page 7) of the report. The results for high priority recommendations shows that 85% of recommendations followed up had been fully implemented and 15% had been progressed towards mitigating the original risk identified.
9. Table 5 (page 7) of the report, details the implementation of medium risk recommendations and shows that 63% of recommendations had been fully implemented with 37% in progress.
10.In terms of counter fraud achievements, table 6 (page 8) of the report details Council housing recoveries, temporary accommodation recoveries, fraud prevention workshops and the savings made from frauds prevented. The total savings achieved were £787,540 as at 31 December 2015.
11.Table 8 (page 9) of the report details the performance of the Internal Audit service 2015/16 to 31 December 2015.
AGREED to note the progress made in delivering the Audit and Risk Management Service’s 2015/16 work plan and the outcomes achieved to date and to note managers’ progress with the implementation of internal audit recommendations.
To receive a report from the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services providing an update on the Audit Committee Self-Assessment of effectiveness.
(Report No.163 )
RECEIVED the report of the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services (No.163) providing an update on the Audit Committee Self-Assessment of effectiveness.
1. The Chair suggested that this item be looked at by the Audit Committee on an annual basis. This was agreed by the Committee and will be entered onto the Work Programme.
ACTION: Committee Administrator.
2. The Chair asked Members if they wanted to address the 2010 self-assessment check list (Appendix 1 – page 5-14 of the report), to see if they agreed with the yes/no ticks that have been addressed. James Rolfe suggested that officers should speak to Members individually regarding completion of the checklist Section 2 (Training) showed that a specific exercise had not been undertaken to identify members’ skills and experience. Experience gaps to be identified and training to be provided. The Chair suggested that members sitting on Audit Committee should be subject to a training and development programme regarding training need gaps.
Isabel Brittain and James Rolfe to look at producing a training and development programme for Audit Committee members so as to increase the profile of Audit Committee, at the July 2016 Audit Committee meeting.
ACTION: Christine Webster – Head of Internal Audit & Risk Management/Isabel Brittain – Assistant Director – Corporate Governance
3. James Rolfe further commented that the committee could use their partnership with PWC to identify key topics members may be interested in.
4. The Chair drew members attention to the recent update paper Grant Thornton had produced and was circulated to the Committee. Page 9 of that update talked about an Audit Committee effectiveness review. He suggested that officers may need to think about this aswell. The update paper will be attached to these minutes.
AGREED to note the CIPFA standards set out in the checklist presented in this report, and re-assesses the Committee’s compliance with these.
To receive an information update from the Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care and the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services regarding the Implementation and progress of the Care Act 2015.
RECEIVED the report of the Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care & Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services providing an update regarding the implementation and progress of the Care Act 2014.
1. At the Audit Committee meeting of 5 March 2015, a report was heard setting out the key requirements of the Care Act 2014, its implications and preparations for local implementation. Following the presentation of the report, The Audit Committee had requested and update be heard at a future meeting. Therefore this report was an information update about the Care Act 2014 and activities relating to local implementation.
2. The Care Act 2014, part 1 was about how the Council discharged its care and support functions, which came into force in April 2015.
3. The Care Act part 2 related to funding reforms, which were due to come into force in April 2016. It is the Care Act funding reforms that the government has decided to postpone to 2020.
This means that the following sections of the Act have been delayed:
· the Cap on Care Costs (to April 2020)
· the extension to the Means Test Thresholds (to April 2020)
· the Appeals system (pending the Comprehensive Spending Review).
4. Due to the postponement of the funding reforms to 2020, the Council’s focus has moved away from the preparation of part 2 to the continuation of the embedding of part 1 of the Act. The Council has moved the Care Act forward and has satisfactorily met the key duties or are in the process of satisfactorily meeting key duties. In view of the postponement of the care act reforms,the Care Act Board has now been closed. The Council had been through a very rigorous process regarding this.
5. The following issues raised in response to the report:
a. The Chair asked for clarity regarding delivery of the Care Act and whether this was part of the introduction, as part of Enfield 2017 or both. Keezia Obi (Head – Care & Support) clarified that in terms of Enfield 2017, this is withregard to where the Care Act is sitting presently. Initially, Keezia was servicing the Act under Adult Social Care and has now moved onto the umbrella of Enfield 2017and Mark stone (Assistant Director – ICT & Transformation) and the Director – Housing, Health & Adult Social Care.
b. More detail on achievements made in implementing part 1 of the Act included the following:
· One of the key areas of implementation is the wellbeing principle, which is applied to where the council and its partners discharge its care and support functions. The Act contained new criteria as to how someone coming to the Council requiring care and support would be assessed. The new eligibility criteria had been applied through the whole assessment process and these were now in place.
· One of the other key duties is supporting carers. Carers now had the right for assessment and have eligibility criteria they never had previously. This was also now in place.
· Improved access to ... view the full minutes text for item 362.
To receive from Grant Thornton (External Auditors) the Certification Work Report 2014/15 relating to grants, subsidy and the return of financial information.
RECEIVED from Grant Thornton (External Auditors) the external audit Certification Work Report 2014/15 to January 2016, relating to details of claims and returns, Action Plan and fees.
1. Grant Thornton had certified one claim, the Housing Benefit subsidy claim for 2014/15 relating to expenditure of £301.8 million.
2. The indicative fee for certification of the housing benefit subsidy claim compared to the 2013/14 indicative was reduced by 5%, to reflect the changes to the scheme compared to the base year. Appendix C (page 22 of the report) sets this out in more detail.
3. The indicative certification fee for the Council for 2014/15 was £32,160. However, as there was some increased work required on the Housing Benefit Subsidy (not required in 2011/12), there will be an additional fee of £8,550 (subject to Council approval). Due to Improvements by the Council, this additional fee was a reduction compared to the additional fee raised in 2013/14 of £25,710.
4. There had not been any errors identified to the Housing Benefit subsidy return with initial and further testing. The number of errors identified in this year’s claim, were lower than in the previous year with only minor amendments. Grant Thornton wished to thank Council staff for their hard work.
5. Grant Thornton also tabled (also e-mailed to all Audit Committee members) an update paper for the Committee, which included publication material that may be useful to Members of the Audit Committee. Grant Thornton extended an invitation to members to contact them if they required copies of these. The Grant Thornton update report will be published alongside these minutes for reference.
6. This was Grant Thornton’s last Audit Committee meeting before the new Council External Auditors (BDO) take over.
7. The Chair thanked Grant Thornton for all their help over recent years as the Council’s external auditors.
AGREED that the Certification Works Report 2014/15 and update paper be noted and endorsed by the Committee.
BDO - VALIDATION & SUBSTANTIATION OF PROPERTY VALUATIONS - 08:10 - 08:20
To receive a verbal update from BDO (New External Auditors) regarding the Validation & Substantiation of Property Valuations.
RECEIVED a verbal update from BDO (External Auditors) regarding the validation and Substantiation of Property Valuations.
The update was presented by David Eagles (BDO) and Andrew Barnes (BDO)
1. Following discussions after the last Audit Committee meeting on 5 November 2015, BDO were asked to provide a verbal report on the validation and substantiation of property valuations.
2. The fundamental purpose of validating and substantiating property valuations from BDO’s perspective is for them to be assured that no material mis-statements within the Property, Plant & Equipment (PPE) values are reported in the financial statements. The PPE figures that populate the balance sheet are a product of the opening balances from the previous year, any additional expenses incurred in the current year, any re-valuations that have taken place during the course of the year and depreciation that’s been charged for each application, as is disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.
BDO need to audit all the numbers in the PPE disclosure note table and ensure there are no material errors. The ISA (International Standards on Auditing) requirements mean BDO to do this by using assertions. These are the assertions the financial statements are effectively making about the financial position of the Council.
The assertions that BDO consider are:
· Completeness – ensuring that all assets that should be included are included.
· Existence– ensuring that all the assets that are recorded actually exist as part of the Council.
· Valuation – ensuring that the assets have been valued materially accurately
· Accuracy - ensuring the assets are recorded within the correct classifications and presented in the right area of the financial statements.
Auditing property valuations is more complicated than other parts of the financial statements as elements of estimation are included along with some factual pieces of information. Management usually obtain the estimated land and property valuations through expert valuers to establish what the value of those assets are.
Auditing standards require BDO to take a slightly different approach to auditing estimates as by their nature there is not definitive information to establish what those values are. BDO would take management representations and see what assumptions they have used to build up the estimates, how it’s been calculated and what other comparative data is available to BDO to use to verify the assumptions that have been used in providing these estimates. All these different factors need to be taken into account. BDO would then review each of those elements against each of the assertions, to test them so as to satisfy external audit that the figures in the accounts are materially reasonably stated. For example, to assess completeness of assets s. BDO would test revenue expenditure and assess whether any of those items classified as revenue should more probably be classed as capital additions, money spent to enhance assets held, or gain new assets. Checking that capital overall is complete by looking at revenue transactions and making sure nothing should be capital.
For the existence assertion BDO would need to look at ... view the full minutes text for item 364.
ENFIELD 2017 UPDATE - 08:50 - 09:05
To receive a report from the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services providing an update on the Enfield 2017 transformation programme.
1. The Chair changed items 7 and 9 around. There was no Enfield 2017 update bought to this Committee because he thought it would be useful to share with Audit Committee members the content of an Overview & Scrutiny Committee (OSC) meeting he had attended on 14 December 2015. He was asked to attend the OSC meeting because members wanted to understand more about procedural notes around contracts and property. He was happy to inform them that Audit Committee review procedures, look at waivers and try to minimise risks. OSC were happy that Audit Committee were doing that but their focus was more on what happens if an individual contract goes wrong. The Chair felt that this was something the Audit Committee needed to concern itself with unless it was of high magnitude that it bought down the whole financial system.
2. At the meeting, OSC talked about Enfield 2017 and were asking the same questions that Audit Committee had been asking; what is Enfield 2017 about, how much is it costing, what are the savings it will achieve, and what will the impact be on service. The Chair asked what the Committee’s view was on this and how to take it forward, because he didn’t want duplication. He had spoken with the Chair of OSC (Councillor Derek Levy) and he was happy to have Audit Committee join OSC to hear a special paper on Enfield 2017, at the 8 March 2016 OSC meeting.
The Committee agreed that they would like to join OSC to hear the special Enfield 2017 paper on 8 March 2016.
ACTION: Committee Administrator to co-ordinate with Councillor Derek Levy (Chair OSC) and Scrutiny administrator.
To receive a report from the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services providing an update on the revised Property Procedure Rules.
(Report No.160 )
RECEIVED the report of the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services providing a report on the monitoring of the Property Procedure Rules.
The Report was presented by Detlev Munster (Head – Property Programmes)
1. The Property Procedure Rules (PPR) were revised and approved in November 2014. The Audit Committee had requested that the PPR’s were monitored for a year during its first year of implementation. In 2015, the property team had reported on the implementation over the 2014 period and this was extended for an additional year.
2. Monitoring is undertaken by both Property and Legal Services. The key issues had been identified and work is ongoing for this. These are:
· Communication and knowledge of PPR’s throughout the organisation.
· To increase the financial needs so as to align with the financial regulations.
· The need for greater clarity regarding Heads of Terms with contracts and decision making.
· The budgeting around surplus assets.
· The need to include the anti-money laundering provisions in the PPR’s.
3. The PPR’s were now embedded in the organisation albeit for a few tweaks around communications, that are needed. He asked Audit Committee to endorse the recommendations at point 2. Of the report.
4. The following issues raised by members in response to the report:
a. Since the last report, the main issues and additional item identified was greater clarity around the use of Heads of Terms for decision making and the requirement to include the anti-money laundering provisions within the PPR’s. The recent anti-money laundering seminar is to be rolled out to the Council to include officers and members.
b. The Chair enquired about the raising of the threshold limit, that officers can make decisions on, and if it was working well. Detlev Munster clarified that the limits have not been increased for now, and the proposal is to raise those so that they are in line with the financial regulations. At present it is limited at £250K and the proposal is to bring it up to £500K, in line with financial regulations.
c. Detlev Munster clarified the threshold procedure. Property Services currently had a scheme of delegation which is approved by the Council and under this scheme there are certain limits and thresholds officers are allowed to make decisions on, particularly around the use of certain leases. What Property Services has identified, for example, is that some leases have a requirement that it is over 60 years and these would require a higher level of authority. The recommendation is that the threshold is aligned to the financial regulations to bring it up to £500K because officers were getting to the £250K mark regularly and on frequent basis. The intention is to increase the threshold to £500K.
d. If the decision was for an amount over £500K, then it would be the normal process of going to James Rolfe and Councillor Stafford. If it was for a complex asset then it would still be a joint decision along with relevant portfolio holders’ aswell.
e. Confirmation ... view the full minutes text for item 366.
To receive a report from the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services providing an update on the use of RIPA to ensure that it is being used in accordance with the law.
RECEIVED the report from the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services (Report No.107) providing an update on the use of RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000)
The report was introduced by Asmat Hussain (Assistant Director – Legal and Governance).
1. The report reminded members of the requirement for them to review the Council’s Procedures for Covert Surveillance on an annual basis. The purpose of the proposed changes included in the attached revised version is to take into account amendments in the revised Codes of Practise issued earlier this year.
2. At the last meeting there had been one application for Directed Surveillance reported. This RIPA application was still ongoing and there would be a full briefing of this application at the next Audit committee meeting on 3 March 2016.
AGREED that Audit Committee note the requirement to receive quarterly reports from the Monitoring Officer on the use of RIPA within the Council and to note that been no applications since the last report.
a. To receive and agree the minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on Thursday 5 November 2015, as a correct record.
b. To note the update on actions identified at the last meeting.
AGREED that the minutes of the Audit Committee meeting dated 5 November 2015 be approved and signed as a correct record, subject to the following amendments:
1. Minute 245, No.6 should read “ There had been a change in approach, as specified by the National Audit Office for Value For Money for 2015/16.
2. Minute 245, No.6 should read “Under the new regime, Grant Thornton would choose completed risk assessments and report back on those”.
1. The Audit Committee name change report will have to go to Member & Democratic Services Group, which once approved will then have to go to full Council for approval and can then be implemented hopefully around March 2016.
2. The new external auditors would be talking to Audit Committee, about their materiality levels and provide the committee their plans on the audit.
3. Isabel Brittain would be addressing financial resilience regarding a plan as to how the statement of accounts could be closed down quicker, by tying it in with Audit Committee effectiveness. There had been a discussion at the last Audit meeting around trading companies because for the first time trading companies would have significant assets and members would need to understand how that links into the accounts. BDO would undertake a preliminary review regarding unusual patterns, trends or anomalies. BDO would go through that as part of their planning going through the accounts. The Council would also be responding back to BDO to help them understand what the issues may be. By the Council working together with BDO, this would give an additional view of the accounts.
4. Data Conversion Review - BDO would be reviewing any new systems the Council have or are bringing in and this would be looked at as part of their understanding of how the Council have produced the accounts.
5. James Rolfe had raised the issue around the use of a range of valuers with GVA Grimley Ltd (Property Valuers) and they had now put additional controls in place. Now that Finance were getting nearer to starting the production of the 2015/16 accounts, these controls would be tested for real.
The Committee is asked to agree the Work Programme put forward for the 2015/16 municipal year along with the timetabling of each issue on the Work Programme.
RECEIVED and noted the Committee’s updated work programme for 2015-16.
1. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) update to be added to the work programme for a further update in 6 months.
2. The Audit Committee Self Assessment of Effectiveness to be added to the work programme and to be heard on annual basis.
3. The new Housing and Planning Bill, currently going through the Commons, to be added to the work programme as a future item.
4. Treasury Management Strategy & Prudential Indicators – Finance details around Council borrowing would be set out in the budget report that goes to Council at the end of February 2016. That would be the discussion making body around it. The discussion at Audit Committee in March would provide further detail to members’ questions.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
To note the dates agreed for future meetings of the Audit Committee:
Thursday 3 March 2016
(All meetings to commence at 7.30pm unless otherwise agreed.)
NOTED the dates of future meetings:
Thursday 3 March 2016
(All meetings to commence at 7:30pm unless otherwise agreed)