Agenda and minutes

Venue: Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, Belmont, Hereford, HR2 7BP

Contact: Ben Baugh 

Link: watch this meeting live on the Herefordshire Council YouTube Channel

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence had been received from committee member Councillor Yolande Watson.


Named substitutes

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


Councillor David Summers attended the meeting as a substitute member for Councillor Yolande Watson.


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.


No declarations of interest were made.


Questions from members of the public

To receive questions from members of the public.  


No questions had been received from members of the public.


Questions from councillors

To receive any questions from councillors.  


No questions had been received from councillors.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 4 May 2021.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 4 May 2021 were received.


Attention was drawn to the action log attached to the minutes.  It was suggested that action owners be asked to comment on the reasons why actions had not been completed by the due dates and, if necessary, invite them to request revised due dates.  There was a brief discussion about the need to interrogate the reasoning behind due dates to ensure that they met the expectations of the committee, and to identify clearly where changes had been made to the action log.


RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 May 2021 be approved as a correct record and be signed by the chairperson.


Progress report on internal audit activity pdf icon PDF 216 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:


The committee considered the progress report on internal audit activity.


Representatives of South West Audit Partnership (SWAP) presented the report and highlighted the following key points:


i.           Since the last update, eighteen audits had been completed, two audits were at report stage, eleven audits were in progress, and two follow ups had been completed.


ii.         For the audits completed: two were limited assurance; six were reasonable assurance; three were substantial assurance; four were grant certifications and were reasonable; two were advisory audits; and one was a Covid-19 advisory audit.


iii.        In the period covered by the report, six priority 2 recommendations had been made: Section 106 agreements had two; Education Health Care Plans had one; commercial investments had two; and accounts receivable had one.  No final reports identified high corporate risks.


iv.        The pandemic and associated additional work had impacted on some of the timescales for the completion of audits, with priority being given to the completion of the 2020/21 audits ready for the annual opinion.


v.         Attention was drawn to: the approved changes to 2021/22 quarter 1 internal audit plan, as a result of requests for additional pieces of work, including grant certifications; the proposed 2021/22 quarter 2 plan; and the counter fraud update.


Questions and comments were invited from committee members on the priority 2 findings, and responses were provided by the attending officers, the principal points included:


Section 106 agreements


1.         It had not been found that resourcing in legal services had impacted upon the delivery of Section 106 agreements.


2.         Reference to ‘external organisations’ related to bodies such as the Environment Agency and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group in the sentence ‘With regards to reporting on the Section 106 monies paid to external organisations, the Planning Obligations Manager will write to those organisations on a biannual basis outlining what money they have received and asking them to advise the council on what the monies have been spent’ (agenda page 32).  It was confirmed that the finding arose from gaps in information and the need for improved recording. 


3.         The committee was advised that the action dates reflected the need to develop and implement an appropriate software system.


4.         The action ‘information in relation to Section 106 monies held by council should be reported on a biannual basis to senior management’ (agenda page 31) would be delivered through the council’s management board, rather than cabinet.


5.         It was reported that the council held £9.1m in Section 106 monies, split across twelve service areas; the largest funding pot being for transport / highways of £4.2m.  It was noted that some agreements had expiry dates but others did not.  It was requested that details of the proportion that had passed the repayment date be circulated to committee members. 


6.         The committee was advised that the infrastructure funding statement identified the financial contributions secured and the monies spent on an annual basis.  The committee discussed the need to monitor each service area to ensure that the monies were spent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Counter Fraud and Corruption Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 215 KB

For the committee to review and approve the updated Counter Fraud and Corruption Strategy 2021-2024 attached at appendix A and consider recommendations for improvements. The strategy has been updated following the committee's initial review at its meeting on 26 January 2021.

Additional documents:


The committee considered the updated counter fraud and corruption strategy 2021-2024.


It was noted that the committee had considered a draft document at its meeting on 26 January 2021 (minute 45 of 2020/21 refers) and the revisions that had been made in response to the recommended actions identified by the committee were explained in detail.


Attention was drawn to the fraud response flowchart (agenda page 75) and it was commented that ‘consider lessons learned’ was just as important for a successful outcome as for an unsuccessful outcome.  It was agreed that the flowchart would be adjusted accordingly.


RESOLVED:  That, subject to the identified adjustment to the fraud response flowchart, the updated Counter Fraud and Corruption Strategy 2021-2024, as attached at appendix A to the report, be agreed.


Work programme update pdf icon PDF 205 KB

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

Additional documents:


It was requested that the work programme document be printed for members at an appropriate scale for ease of review at future committee meetings.  It was also requested that the use of shading and colour on the document be reviewed.


RESOLVED:  That the work programme be agreed.