Agenda and minutes

Venue: Online meeting

Contact: Caroline Marshall 

Link: Watch this meeting live on the Herefordshire Council Youtube channel

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence.


There were no apologies for absence.


Named substitutes (if any)

To receive details any details of members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.


There were no substitutes.


Declarations of interest

To receive declarations of interests in respect of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interests.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 16 June 2020.

Additional documents:




That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 June 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the chairperson.


Questions from members of the public

To receive questions from members of the public.  


Deadline for receipt of questions is 5.00 pm on 24 July 2020 (3 clear working days from date of meeting).


Accepted questions and answers will be published as a supplement prior to the meeting. 



There were no questions from members of the public.


Questions from councillors

To receive any questions from councillors.  


Deadline for receipt of questions is 5.00 pm on 24 July 2020 (3 clear working days from date of meeting).


Accepted questions and answers will be published as a supplement prior to the meeting. 



There were no questions from councillors.


Corporate Risk Register pdf icon PDF 196 KB

To consider the status of the council’s corporate risk register in order to monitor the effectiveness of risk management within the Performance, Risk and Opportunity Management framework.

Additional documents:


The chairperson welcomed the director for children and families to the meeting who was in attendance to answer questions in connection with the children and families risk registers.


The head of corporate performance presented the report and highlighted:


·         The risk registers were as at 30 June 2020.

·         The Covid-19 risk register had been included.

·         The draft risk management plan was attached for the committee’s comments as it was due to be presented to Cabinet in September 2020 for approval. 

·         Three new risk had been added and details were contained within the agenda pack for the meeting.

·         There was an error on the heat map contained within the report as CRR36 had been included instead of being removed.

In the committee’s discussion on the item, the following points were raised:


·         Cabinet were potentially looking at a further £5m to £10m from government on top of the funding which had already been received.   The council had received just over £13m from government but were waiting for details of the support in connection with lost income.    Assumptions had been made in connection with cost implications in the future.   It was confirmed that there were a range of reserves in place which could fund these budget pressures.   There would be more detail contained within the quarter 2 budget and performance report which would be considered by Cabinet.

·         It was confirmed that public health budget was a ringfenced budget for that area.   £840k had been received as part of a Covid-19 grant which was being used as part of the council’s response to the pandemic.    Details of this grant would be included in the quarter 2 report to Cabinet.

·         It was noted that for the high level risks, there appeared to be no change in the mitigation actions.  It was acknowledged that further work could be done in connection with this to ensure that there were Specific, Measureable, Attainment, Realistic Targets (SMART) as part of the mitigation.

·         It was noted that for five risks, there had been an increase in the risk score but very little detail about the increase or any resultant actions to be taken.   It would be useful to the committee if details of why the risk or mitigation had changed could be included.

·         It was confirmed that management board do review the risk registers on a regular basis.  In the children and families directorate, the risk registers were reviewed on a monthly basis.  It was acknowledged that some risks did appear to be longstanding but that was because the directorate were living with longstanding risks.   Using the Human Rights Act (HRA) risk as an example, the register acknowledged that there had been cases in the past but there may be cases in the future so it was appropriate to reflect this on the risk register.   

·         With regard to the children and families’ risk in connection of an overspend against planned budget with regard to placements, this was a significant budget pressure but there were a range of mitigating actions in process  ...  view the full minutes text for item 455.


Draft Annual Governance Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

To seek the views of the committee as to whether the draft annual governance statement 2019/20 properly reflects the risk environment the council is operating in and the appropriateness of any actions required to improve it.


Additional documents:


The chief finance officer presented the report.


During the discussion on the item the following points were raised:


·         The external audit work was on track for November 2020.

·         The draft annual governance statement is available on the council’s website for the public to comment on.

·         The typographical and grammatical errors would need to be corrected.

·         The committee were pleased with the user-friendly presentation and the inclusion of hyperlinks.

·         It was confirmed that the outstanding actions contained within appendix 2 of the agenda pack had been incorporated in the annual governance statement.



the committee determined the draft annual governance statement at appendix 1 properly reflected the risk environment the council is operating in and that actions identified are an appropriate response.


Progress report on 2020/21 internal audit plan pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To update members on the progress of internal audit work and to bring to their attention any key internal control issues arising from work recently completed. To enable the committee to monitor performance of the internal audit team against the approved plan.

Additional documents:


South West Audit Partnership presented the report.


The following points were highlighted as part of the discussion on the item:


·         Progress was not as expected for Quarter 1.

·         There was an error in appendix c on page 102 of the agenda paper as the HALO financial review will form part of the 2019/20 annual opinion report.

·         Four new pieces of work had been undertaken and two additional internal audits.

·         SWAP had been very active during the period and the council had used the team on a range of counter-fraud activities.

·         The 2020/21 internal audit would be reviewed with the chief finance officer to assess the impact of Covid-19 and a revised plan would be presented in September 2020.

·         The offer of training in connection with counter-fraud activity was accepted by the committee.

·         The audits for 2019/20 had been impacted by officers’ ability to respond due to Covid-19.   Currently, the audits were lacking the detail of what action officers were going to take in connection with recommendations.  

·         SWAP had been looking at the cyber security / fraud areas.    As cyber fraud was a high risk area, an internal audit had been scheduled.   This would be carried out by a SWAP IT auditor.   It was confirmed that as IT was a commissioned service from Hoople, the report would go to the relevant council officer to ensure that any identified recommendations were carried out by the provider.    The solicitor to council indicated that they would have to further consider the point as to who would be appropriate to attend a committee meeting if there were questions over the outcome of the internal audit but it may be a council officer as the commissioner of the service.   It was agreed that the chairperson would work with clerk and the IT team in connection with assurance being provided to the committee in connection with cyber security within the council.

·         The process of prioritising audits was outlined.   This included SWAP looking at the relevant risk register, meeting with senior managers in each directorate, etc to understand where the risk areas were located.

·         SWAP agreed to provide the committee with a brief overview in connection with the 2019/20 audits to provide assurance to committee about any key findings in advance of September 2020 meeting. 



a)    The Chairperson work with the clerk and the IT team in Hoople in connection with providing assurance with regard to council’s cyber security;

b)    A presentation from the IT auditor at SWAP in connection with cyber security be arranged for the committee;

c)    A brief overview from SWAP be prepared in connection with the 2019/20 audits in order to provide assurance to committee about any key findings in advance of  September 2020 meeting; and

d)    The chief finance officer consults with SWAP in connection with an audit of the public health budget. 



National model code of conduct consultation pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To consider whether a council response should be submitted in respect of the current national model code of conduct consultation.

Additional documents:


The solicitor to the council presented the report.


The proposed national code of conduct from the Local Government Association had arisen following a recommendation from the Committee on Standards in Public Life.    There were some differences from the national code of conduct to the adopted code of Herefordshire Council.  The examples of the requirement to declare gifts and hospitality on the register of interest form and the need to declare a membership of closed society were used.   It was noted that there were currently no sanctions which could be imposed on councillors beyond an apology or training.  


The committee were supportive of the proposed responses to the survey questions which had been drafted by the solicitor to the council.   It was confirmed that the proposed responses took into account the views of the independent persons for standards but no views from councillors had been sought.    Details of the consultation had been provided to all councillors in case they wished to submit an individual response. 


In response to a question from a member of the committee, the solicitor to the council confirmed that there were informal arrangements in place but where a member of the public had complained then the formal process would need to be used. 




the solicitor for the council be authorised to submit the response to the national code of conduct consultation attached at appendix 4 by the deadline of 17 August 2020.



Work programme update pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To provide an update on the work programme for the committee.

Additional documents:


The work programme was discussed.


Resolved that:


The work programme be approved subject to the following amendments:

·         annual internal audit opinion be added to the agenda for September 2020.

·         possible report on changes to the Constitution to the licensing sub committee functions for September 2020

·         Whistleblowing policy for September 2020