Venue: Virtual Meeting/Remote - please use the links on the Agenda Front Sheet to join the virtual meeting
Contact: Susan O'Connell
WELCOME & APOLOGIES
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
The Panel were reminded of the current Purdah period during the meeting as follows:
“We are now in Purdah and during this heightened period of sensitivity it is important that we ensure that Council resources are not used for political purposes. Councillors are reminded that when at Council events or public meetings, councillors must not use that platform for political purposes. If Officers in attendance at the meeting believe this is happening the Chair of the meeting will be informed.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the committee are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevant to the items on the agenda.
Councillor Tim Leaver and the independent Member Peter Nwosu declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda item 7 as Directors of one of the companies in the report. They will both leave the meeting for this item.
To receive and agree the minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on the 4 March 2021.
AGREED the minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4 March 2021.
To receive the following reports:
i. Draft Statement of accounts 2019/20
ii. BDO – Draft LBE Audit Completion Report 2019/20 – IA260- this report is not attached to the agenda and will be circulated ‘to follow’
iii. Pension Fund Accounts
Matt Bowmer, Interim Director Finance & Commercial introduced the report.
1. The report presents the Council’s final 2019/20 accounts as at the 14 April 2021.
2. The report covers the key changes that have been made from the audit work with BDO account and are outlined in paragraph 11 onwards of the report. The full list of adjustments is set out in the Adjusted Audit Differences section of BDO’s draft Audit Completion Report.
3. The audit is still ongoing and there are likely to be some minor changes, such as disclosure notes and the text in the statement. It is not anticipated that there will be any further changes to the main core statements.
4. The finance team is continuing to deal with technical review queries, manager review queries and partner review queries.
5. The team’s response in responding to queries is much improved, as an example 62 technical queries were received on Monday and all but 2 are now complete.
6. It has taken longer to get to this point than was anticipated at the last General Purposes Committee meeting.
7. The challenge faced at present is down to the extensive work that has needed to be undertaken by both the Council and BDO on Prior Period Adjustments (PPA). Officers were aware that once the outcome of the PPA was resolved that it would require extensive reworking of the accounts. However, it has required a full reconciliation of the data migration from SAP to the new CIPFA asset register. This has been a colossal piece of work, as an example there are twenty-two thousand lines of HRA assets in this schedule. In addition, this had to be reviewed including the changes coming out of it with the BDO team.
8. Another factor has been the need to reconcile and agree all of the adjustments in the final accounts set out in BDO’s completion report.
9. The positive going forward is the quality of the asset data is now greatly improved and provide a clean base to go forward on.
10. At this late stage of the audit, in addition to dealing with various quality review questions, BDO are now working on the valuation part of the audit and completing this work. As a consequence of this, it will not be possible for BDO to complete their work by the end of the month as intended. This now means that BDO has health audit work that needs to be undertaken. Discussions are ongoing with BDO on the timing of the completion of their work.
David Eagles from BDO (External Auditors) introduced the Auditors completion report
1. Since the last committee meeting on the 4 March the key point in the progress made is agreeing the PPA linked to the change of asset register.
2. It was anticipated at the time of the last meeting that there were some adjustments that could be put through as part of this process and that this would be a relatively straight forward exercise ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
To receive a report from Claire Reilly, Head of Procurement, Resources & People.
Claire Reilly, Head of Procurement, Resources & People introduced the report
1. The report provides an update on the Contract Procedure Rules (CPR’), Waivers and Procurement Spend covering the period April 2020 to March 2021.
2. The report covers; the continued improved management of waivers; the reduction in exceptions; the need to review CPR’s in line with UK procurement regulations and an improvement plan for the future for procurement services.
3. In terms of Brexit the CPR’s remain valid. Once the UK government decide what the regulations and rules will be around UK procurement. The CPR’s will be updated to be in line with these.
4. The CPR’s were updated and refreshed in July 2020 in line with the updating of the Constitution. Extensive training and awareness have taken place to ensure officers are aware of the CPR’s.
5. The number of waivers has greatly reduced over the last 5 years. In 2014/15 there were around 40, in the last 3 years there were not any and this year there has been one. The one waiver is detailed under paragraph 22 of the report.
6. The number of exceptions has also reduced and is detailed in paragraphs 23-27 of the report.
7. In terms of the procurement spend overall there was an increase for third parties in total spend but a decrease in number of spends via purchase orders.
8. The spend with Small to Medium Enterprises and local suppliers was slightly down in line with spend across purchase orders.
9. Work is being undertaken with Economic Development to look at how the council can support local businesses with a ‘Keeping It Local’ toolkit. Raising awareness has been undertaken with officers across the council to use local suppliers wherever possible.
10. Paragraph 35 details how local value is measured.
11. The council is moving to a more strategic and partnering approach with the introduction of Category Management model and is detailed under paragraph 33- 43 in the report.
12. A new Sustainable and Ethical procurement policy is being drafted and is due to go to Cabinet in July.
13. A Social Value portal will be implemented, that will support the monitoring and reporting of social value leveraged through procurement contracts.
Questions, comments and queries raised:
· What were the main themes of the Green Paper on the new procurement arrangements? Officers advised that the main themes were reducing bureaucracy with one set of rules for everything; reducing the routes to market to three and there is a drive for transparency and creating a central body to oversee procurement, monitor procurement activity and ensure that good practice is being maintained. Following a query, it was confirmed that the Green Paper did not state that frameworks will end.
· How does the new Contract Manager role fit in with the restructure of the service? Part of this role will be support services across the council to embed a better culture of contract management and support the facilitation through training and raising awareness setting expectation ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To receive a report on the approach to Housing Development.
Joanne Drew, Director of Housing & Regeneration and Nnenna Urum-Eke, Head of Development presented the report.
1. The report is in response to the Committees request for a regular update and provides an update to the approach to housing development, including risks, governance and progress of the schemes.
2. A thorough review of the HRA business plan and the development strategy which is part of the plan has been received and agreed by Cabinet.
3. Skills and capacity development training provided is detailed within the report under paragraph 11.
Questions, comments and queries raised:
· An observation was made that it would be helpful for the names to be included within the new governance structure included in the report.
· What is the scope of the scheme, does this include partnerships schemes, Housing associations and major works? It was confirmed that the scope covers all aspects of development delivery whether that is direct delivery or enabling work with partners or the client role in developing agreements and other partnership agreements. It is forward looking in terms of encouraging staff to bring forward issues concerning schemes including challenges and options to consider. It is backward looking to terms of scrutiny of performance and ensuring all governance requirements are met.
· Following on from a query on upskilling staff officers advised in terms of development skills been working with London Councils to skill up the Local Government Sector. Enfield is part of the group that is developing a comprehensive skills programme. Enfield is part of Future of London Council Build Forum which is sponsored by the GLA. Enfield has also run several training courses over the last year. All officers have been trained on Proval.
AGREED to note the report.
To receive a report on Local Authority Trading Companies.
Will Wraxall, Shareholder & Commercial Partnerships Manager introduced the report. Cllr Tim Leaver and the independent member Peter Nwosu left the meeting for this item.
1. The report provides a high-level overview and details the progress made in the last 2 years.
2. The governance of the Council’s trading companies has undergone significant change since the previous report to the former Audit and Risk Committee. The objective is to define the council’s roles and responsibilities and set expectations for the council and the companies both in the form of for strategic objectives for the companies and the operational procedures sitting below this.
3. Reserve Matters which works in a similar way to a scheme of delegations is detailed under paragraph 10 of the report.
4. The performance of companies is detailed under paragraphs 21-25 of the report. The two wholly owned council companies Energetik and Housing Gateway have consistently performed above the projections in their business plan.
5. Energetik, the consideration as a shareholder is the extent to which the council wants there to be a next phase of development. This is a very capital extensive company. Strategic review work will be undertaken to look at the long-term strategy for Energetik.
6. Housing Gateway has recently started a new business unit in the form of ‘Enfield Lets’. This has been running for six months and the initial signs are positive. In terms of achieving cash profits for HGL there are a number of critical success factors in terms of the number of properties they need to acquire and manage.
7. Montagu LLP is yet to undertake any substantive operational business, therefore there are no performance considerations to report at this time. The work so far has been at the strategic planning level.
8. Paragraphs 17-20 details the legislative changes with regards to State Aid.
Questions, comments and queries raised:
· It was clarified that the costs of winding up a company is under £1k.
· Officers confirmed that the companies accounts are considered by Cabinet as the management of company accounts is an executive function.
· It was confirmed that the last filed accounts of IWF did show a net profit.
· Following a query on Energetik officers advised success is measured against the business plan with the expectation that this would be a capital-intensive business. It is common in the private sector for companies in the high tech or high mechanistic industries not to make profits in their first year. This is a longer-term project, Energetik care projecting a net profit in 2021-22; if achieved, this would be five years ahead of schedule within the business plan.
AGREED to note the report
As this is the last Committee meeting in this Municipal Year, a new Work
Programme is being prepared for the 2021/22 Municipal Year.
It was noted that a new work programme is being prepared for 2021/22.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
Members are asked to note:
(a) that this is the last ordinary meeting of the General Purposes Committee scheduled for the 2020/21 Municipal Year;
(b) that a new programme of dates for the 2021/22 municipal year are
currently being prepared for inclusion and approval as part of the
Council’s 2021/22 calendar of meetings, which is due to be considered
and approved at the Annual Council meeting in May 2021.
It was noted that future meeting dates will be agreed at Annual Council.
EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC
To consider passing a resolution under Section 100(A) of the Local
Government Act 1972 excluding the press and the public from the virtual
meeting for the items listed as part 2 on the agenda on the grounds that they
involve disclosure of exempt information as defined in those paragraphs of
Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act (as amended by the Local Government
(Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006)
RESOLVED in accordance with Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the press and public from the virtual meeting for the item of business listed as part two on the agenda on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act (as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006).
To receive a report from Peter George, Programme Director, Meridian Water.
(This item contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3
(information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person- including the authority holding that information) of Schedule 12A to
the Local Government Act 1972, as amended).
Peter George, Programme Director – Meridian Water presented the report on an update on the Meridian Water Risk Register, containing changes that have occurred since the last time this item came to the Committee and answered questions from members of the Committee.
AGREED to note the Meridian Water Risk Register update.