Agenda item

Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report

To note the annual report for the Audit and Governance Committee.


Annual reports shall be received at the Annual Council meeting.


The Council procedure rules 3.70 Section 4A, states the overall time which may be devoted to questioning any Annual Reports shall be not more than ten minutes per report. The Chair of the relevant Committee (or in the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair) shall introduce and answer questions on the report. The Chair of the Committee shall not have more than 3 minutes speaking time to introduce the report. 3.71 For the remaining time available, the report will be open to questions. In the event that any recommendation in the report has not been reached when the overall time limit has expired, it shall be put immediately to the vote. 3.72 Any Member, except the seconder of the report, may ask the Chair or Vice-Chair (as appropriate) not more than two questions on each paragraph of the report.


Council received a presentation on the annual report from the Independent Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee, Dr Olu Olasode. The report highlighted the following:


·       the work of the Committee over the last year as provided within the   Committee’s ‘Terms of Reference and Scope of Work’.


·    a brief forward look into the year ahead on the Committee’s work and developments and specific comments in relation to the Council’s exit strategy and expected outcomes in governance and financial control in the next few years to satisfy the requirements of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.


·    The Audit and Governance Committee continued to provide a robust and independent challenge to the processes, structures and arrangements surrounding the Council’s audit, assurance, risk management, financial control, and governance framework. Significant focus has been given to the latter two in recent times, particularly as it concerned the risks to the Council's underlying financial sustainability, the effectiveness of its governance and assurance arrangements, and the Council’s ability to deliver services to residents.


·    The year had been eventful, as the Council issued its third S114 in January 2023, while continuing to work to implement actions arising from the Reports in the Public Interest in January 2022 and October 2020.


In closing, Dr Olasode, thanked officers, external auditors, cabinet members, professional advisers, and members of the Audit and Governance Committee for their input and support of the work of the Committee.


In response to a question from Councillor Danielle Denton if good progress had been made on returning the Council to good governance systems and controls, Dr Olasode advised that the different governance activities showed progress and this had been stated in the recent annual governance statement.


In response to a question from Councillor Bridgette Graham, Dr Olasode advised that there had been a challenge with legacy reports, but the committee was working with officers to ensure pace as there were three years accounts yet to be signed off.


In response to a question from Councillor Mario Creatura, if the report showed significant improvement in terms of assurance from internal audits reports and if this was expected to improve in the coming years. Dr Olasode advised That there had been a challenge with long standing actions but the committee had supported the Head of Audit to put together a framework to escalate actions, track progress and ensure delivery.


In response to a question to Councillor Rowenna Davis, on the committee would work with the Improvement and Assurance Panel to make sure that transformation was happening as fast as possible. Dr Olasode advised that he had regular meetings and discussions with the Panel but the transformation journey was still two or three years away.


In response to Councillor Michael Neal’s question on joint scrutiny and assurance with Lambert Council. Dr Olasode said there was joint working at officer level to share information and aids benchmarking but not a joint committee.


It was moved by the Chair, seconded by Councillor Luke Shortland and put to the vote and RESOLVED to unanimously to note the report.



1.    Support the recommendation of the Audit and Governance Committee for the preferred candidate David Clarke to be appointed as an independent co-opted non-voting member of the Committee; and, 


2.    Agree that David Clarke be appointed for an initial period of 1 year, to be extended thereafter for another 3 years, and that said appointment be subject to standards of conduct which encompass the Nolan Principles. 





Supporting documents: