Agenda and minutes

Audit - Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Paul Cuttle and Ajya Jha (External Audit) sent their apologies. 



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest


A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered -


(i)            must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent


and, if the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest, or a personal interest which is also prejudicial


(ii)        may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter (and must withdraw to the public seating area) unless they have been granted a dispensation.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Members’ Register of Interests, or is not the subject of a pending notification, must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and prejudicial interests are defined in Part 2 of the Code of Conduct For Members


[If a member is in any doubt as to whether they have an interest which should be declared they should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer before the start of the meeting]



There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes and Actions pdf icon PDF 393 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting and consider the actions.


The minutes of the meeting held on 29 March 2022 were agreed by the members present and signed by the Chairman.



Public Participation

An opportunity for members of the public to make statements and ask questions in accordance with the rules as to Public Participation.





External Audit Update


There was no update from External Audit.



Housing Service Performance Update


Full details can be found in the Part 2 Minutes.


Internal Audit pdf icon PDF 702 KB

A.     21/22 Internal Audit Annual Report

B.     Performance Report – Summary Internal Controls Assurance (SICA)

C.      Internal Audit Service Reports:

a.      Business Continuity

b.      Safeguarding and Prevention

c.      Governance and Risk

d.      Recruitment


Additional documents:


P Lazenby noted that the overall internal audit gave a 'reasonable' opinion of the service. This meant he was content that there was sufficient assurance in place in respect of the identified controls that were reviewed and that the plan has been substantively completed with minimal restriction of scope or access.


A breakdown of the assurance levels were provided; the majority lied within reasonable, a minority of substantial and 2 were limited. Those that were 'limited' were already known areas of concern to the council and related to planning enforcement and waste management. P Lazenby drew attention to the summary of recommendations. There are governance issues where policies and procedures need to be kept up to date. A summary of progress was at page 17-18 of the report. 5 of the 6 substantial areas are in the financial operations side of activities at the Council. P Lazenby noted delivery was all against a backdrop of Covid and represents a good level of response from the organisation. He welcomed questions from the committee.


N Howcutt said the committee may have noted there were a few reports that were either cancelled or delayed. He advised that 3 out of the 4 reports had already been or were in the process of being undertaken in this financial year and will be coming to this committee very soon. The other point for members to note was the 3 urgent priority one recommendations that came up in the internal audit reports this year have already been implemented from management relate primarily to the waste service and the SLT (Senior Leadership Team) have gone through the recommendations with the service to make sure they’ve all been fully accepted, implemented and compliance has been created. From that perspective SLT have taken a very firm stance with any of those priority one recommendations.


Councillor Symington noted there had been a shift in assurances and questioned if this was due to the pandemic or if there were other factors involved. P Lazenby suggested the movement in assurances was partly down to the pandemic however it was against another year when the pandemic was already in place. He said it was worth noting that areas that are audited frequently are the ones that will tend to perform well in the audits, whereas the areas that are audited once every few years tend to not perform as well. He added he was keen to alter and develop the audit process for the finance areas to make improvements. 


Councillor Symington queried why P Lazenby's working days were 20 short of what had been budgeted for. P Lazenby explained the shortfall in days had been rolled forward to the forthcoming year.


Councillor Silwal asked if reasonable assurances from previous years were left or continued to be worked on. P Lazenby advised all of the assurances have recommendations and those are profiled on the root cause indicator section which is included in the committee reports. There are regular follow up’s that get reported  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Strategic Risk Register Update Q4 21/22 pdf icon PDF 362 KB

Additional documents:


N Howcutt highlighted this report covered 2 quarters due to reporting issues at the last audit committee.


In terms of quarter 3, the social media and cyber-attack risk increased from a score of 6 to a score of 9. The strategic risk register scores have been presented to Cabinet and the cyber-attack and social media risks have been picked up by Jody Nason. Jody has reviewed these and felt the risks were inherently higher than previously noted which resulted in a higher score.


Looking at quarter 4, 2 risks have moved to 12 which starts to become very concerning. The first risk is linked to the moratorium that was implemented on Dacorum in 2021/22. A lot of our infrastructure investment comes from bigger developments and housing developments where either developers build more road networks or we receive CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) or Section 106 payments. The moratorium has reduced the infrastructure funding we get.


The second risk relates to affordable homes. If you’re unable to get the planning permission for homes you can’t build affordable homes so the risk is increasing.


In response to Councillor Symington’s question, N Howcutt advised that the next quarter will look at a review of strategic risks and will include the cost of living crisis, inflation, energy price increases and the war in Ukraine.




The report was noted.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 196 KB


N Howcutt advised that audit committee training will take place at the next meeting in July.


The audit committee in September will include the financial statements and accounts.


N Howcutt and P Lazenby were thanked for their work.


The Chairman thanked everyone and closed the meeting.