To provide the Quarter 4 update on the Strategic Risk
Register for 2017/18.
N Howcutt (NH), Assistant Director, Finance & Resources introduced the item saying there were a few alterations to the Register and reference to these can be found in the body of the accompanying report. He drew particular attention to Risk F6, which has reduced due to government confirmation of new rental arrangements.
Cllr Douris sought and was given clarification that CPI is higher than RPI.
Cllr Tindall asked if there are any plans to ‘redesign’ the register to make it more accessible. NH said there are no plans to do so and advised members that the ‘sign off/ complete’ box should be the place look for changes. F Jump (FJ), Group Manager: Financial Services added that changes will be highlighted in the body of the report.
Regarding Risk C5, Cllr Douris asked if this meant that technically we are not fully compliant on GDPR. NH assured the committee that, as of 25/0518, DBC has done all possible to be GDPR compliant in all areas. To ensure that this is the case a proposed audit of compliance will be undertaken in the very near future.
Cllr Douris then raised Risk C7 and the issue of checking that new staff have read and acknowledged the council’s compliance procedures. NH assured him that all new employees are required to sign-off on a list of policies and procedures and that they are prompted to complete the training as part of the probation period.
Cllr Birnie returned to Risk C6. The committee considered the difficulties in retaining staff in some areas (e.g. building Control) and competing with the private sector and other local authorities. This led on to a discussion on ‘Partnership’ working; risks posed in the process of housing provision; and models such as DEVCO. NH advised that the council will consider models that include including different types of tenure. The various options will form part of the report to July Cabinet and will show the work done on the different models.
Cllr Birnie moved on to the risks surrounding ‘infrastructure funding’ and a possible lack of control over the allocation of CIL funds. Chris Taylor (CT), Group Manager: Strategic Planning and Regeneration explained the process for allocating CIL funds and that control of this process lies with DBC. The CIL Strategy has been agreed by Council, including the intention to ring fence CIL funding for use on major projects. The DBC CIL Board would decide the funding allocations according to the agreed policy - 70% goes to developments in the unparished area.
Cllr Taylor then used the issue of GDPR training for members to highlight the need for mandatory training on some issues. Cllr Tindal suggested that members be made aware that individual councillors could be held liable if a decision they are involved with costs the Council (e.g in a fine) and they have not attended the required training.
M Towler, Mazars explained that from an audit perspective, there is an absolute requirement for the authority to show it is doing all it can to meet compliance. The debate centres around how much effort is being made by the authority to ensure compliance.
Cllr Taylor returned to the issue of staff retention and efforts being made to counteract the attraction of the private sector and other boroughs being available. NH added that the issue is being discussed as part of the county partnership arrangements. NH also drew attention to the recent introduction of staff retention features such as the ability to buy additional leave, the review staff terms and conditions; etc, which encourage non-financial encouragements such as a good work/life balance. Cllr Tindall warned that continued running with a number of vacancies causes extra pressure and the workload becomes oppressive – hopefully the new measures will reduce staff vacancies and their negative effect.