F Jump presented the overview, noting that a strategic risk register is maintained for the authority and captures what the strategic leadership team considers to be the key risks facing the Council. The status of the risks is updated on a quarterly basis and the report is brought to the Committee for comment before being taken to Cabinet for approval.
F Jump advised that the Council has been through a process to update its strategic risks over the last 12 months with advice taken from TIAA and in consultation with senior officers. The result of this has been a series of revised risks as set out in the report, each of which are owned by a member of the senior leadership team. The individual officers update the status of the risk on a quarterly basis and the update is then brought to the Committee. F Jump noted that an explanation of the scoring system was appended to the report.
Cllr Birnie referred to page 14 of the report and the comment on the risk of not being able to deliver safe and good quality homes, which is marked as red. Cllr Birnie also commented on financial resilience, noting that it states that recommendations will come in July 2023 and asked where these recommendation are.
F Jump advised that the risk on providing safe and good quality homes is currently red as this is in reference to associated consequences of this risk, so if safe and good quality homes are not delivered then there is a potential risk to life and the health and safety of tenants.
Cllr Birnie referred to page 22 of the report, noting the comment that the HRA is being closely monitored as part of the mitigation strategy and suggested that this is not an effective strategy in maintaining safe and quality homes. Cllr Birnie suggested that, given the feedback he receives from residents, the main concern is Osborne and he was unsure why sacking Osborne is not listed as a possible mitigation.
F Jump commented on the monitoring of the HRA, explaining that this is in relation to the risk around weakening financial resilience and that the referral to close monitoring is around the financial position of the housing revenue.
Cllr Birnie asked F Jump to explain to the Committee the issue regarding the financial state of the HRA. F Jump advised that towards the end of the last financial year, there was an increase in expected repairs and maintenance costs in the HRA, which had a detrimental effect on the overall financial position of the HRA. F Jump noted that it was a large increase and reflected the increase in costs that are being seen as well as the increased programme of work as the Council looked to address issues across the housing revenue.
On the risk of failure to deliver safe and good quality homes, F Jump agreed that monitoring alone does not mitigate this and she noted the various actions taken by the Council as listed in the risk register, including the work on the housing transformation improvement programme.
On the recommendation referred to on page 14 of the report regarding financial resilience, B Hosier suggested that this is a status update on the total operating model. F Jump advised that she is yet to see this and that she would seek a revised update on when this is expected. Cllr Birnie asked that this be circulated to the Committee when they are received given that the next meeting wouldn't be until September.
ACTION: To circulate update on recommendations regarding the Total Operating Model for the HRA as referred to on page 14 of the report (F Jump).
Cllr Birnie referred to page 26 of the report regarding Hemel Place, noting the risk on the engagement of the voluntary and community sector to support place making. Cllr Birnie suggested that this should be a higher risk given comments made at SPAE regarding the dissatisfaction with the Place Strategy as it does not include adequate consultation with residents, noting that only 480 residents were consulted. Cllr Birnie suggested that it is a top-down strategy and that he is concerned about what is being developed within the residential community.
F Jump commented on the engagement, noting that the ordering of the control within the strategic risk register doesn't indicate the relative level of priority. F Jump advised that the member's comments had been made at other committees and that she assumed feedback was provided as well as taken forward by James Doe so the member should receive updates on what is being done to address this.
Cllr Birnie remarked that the report doesn't appear to include any mitigations regarding the Place Strategy and appears to be complacent in terms of risk.
Cllr Birnie commented that the Place Strategy appears to have no cultural component to it, as mentioned by residents, and that this is not listed as a risk. Cllr Birnie noted the amount of money being spent on the Place Strategy and queried what it will deliver if there are no cultural features.
F Jump stated that the comments will be noted as part of the response and suggested that the response be updated before the register is sent to Cabinet.
Cllr Douris commented that the positioning of items in the risk register is subjective and suggested that it was unfair to ask F Jump to respond on them all given that they do not fall under her remit. Cllr Douris advised that the paper is on behalf of the portfolio holder and suggested that they should be present at the Committee to respond to questions.
The Chair confirmed that all questions and responses would be collated, noting that he has prepared his own questions for which he has received draft responses. The Chair advised that, as part of this process, F Jump and the team have reached out to officers and will reach out to respective portfolio holders before responses are brought back as part of the minutes.
Cllr Douris commented that the responsibility for the creation of the strategy remains with the portfolio holder. The Chair confirmed that they will be asked the question from the member.
Cllr Douris referred to page 14 and other pages of the report, noting the comment regarding 16 being the inherent score and asked what relevance this has.
F Jump stated that the intent of the wording was to make the methodology clear to those unfamiliar with it. On the inherent risk score, F Jump advised that this is to reflect the impact if no actions were taken to mitigate the risk. As a 4x4 risk-scoring matrix is used, it is expected there would be a high inherent risk associated with all strategic risks.
Cllr Douris queried the starred mitigating action on page 21 of the report.
F Jump explained that there is a threshold within the risk reporting system that assigns a star to show that they are doing well in terms of mitigations. F Jump confirmed that further explanation on this could be provided in future updates.
Cllr Douris referred to page 27 of the report and the reference to interims. Cllr Douris asked how many interims there are at present and how many are in senior positions.
F Jump advised that she could not provide the total number of interims and suggested that they currently have a full complement of permanent staff in the corporate leadership team, bar one, and that she would check to confirm this.
ACTION: To check number of interim staff (F Jump).
The Chair thanked F Jump for the responses provided to his pre-submitted questions. Cllr Birnie queried when these responses would be available to read. The Chair confirmed that the responses would be put together in the pack as part of the minute of the meeting.