Agenda and minutes

Governance & Audit & Standards Committee - Wednesday, 23rd November, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall, Portsmouth. View directions

Contact: James Harris on 023 9260 6065  Email: james.harris@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

45.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Benedict Swann and Councillor Daniel Wemyss

 

Councillor Scott Payter-Harris was in attendance as a Standing Deputy for Councillor Swann and Councillor Robert New was present as a Standing Deputy for Councillor Wemyss.

 

The Chair highlighted that Councillor Robert New was not a formally appointed Standing Deputy for the committee.  As the meeting was not making any formal decisions, the City Solicitor confirmed that on balance he was happy for Councillor New to participate in the meeting.

46.

Declarations of Members' Interests

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

47.

Minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2022 and the special meeting held on 27 October 2022 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

RECOMMENDED that the minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2022 and the special meeting held on 27 October 2022 be approved and signed by the Chair as correct records.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2022 and the special meeting held on 27 October 2022 were confirmed and signed as correct records.

48.

Health & Wellbeing Board Constitution pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Purpose

 

The purpose of the report is to seek approval for proposed changes to the constitution for the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB). The HWB have requested the changes to its constitution, for support by Governance, Audit and Standards Committee and approval by Full Council, to improve the effectiveness of the HWB as it fulfils its leadership role across the health and wellbeing system locally.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Governance, Audit and Standards Committee support the changes to the constitution for the Health and Wellbeing Board set out within the report and recommend these changes to Council.

Minutes:

(TAKE IN REPORT)

 

Kelly Nash, Corporate Performance Manager, introduced the report which sought approval for proposed changes to the constitution for the Health and Wellbeing Board

 

The Health & Wellbeing Board had requested the changes to its constitution, for support by Governance, Audit and Standards Committee and approval by Full Council, to improve its effectiveness as it fulfilled its leadership role across the health and wellbeing system locally.

 

The Corporate Performance Manager explained that a report seeking further amendments to the Health & Wellbeing Board Constitution would be considered in the near future now that the wider governance arrangements were known.

 

In response to comments made by the committee the Corporate Governance Manager confirmed that the use of the terms 'Chair' and Chairman' would be amended and regularised to 'Chair' in paragraph 3.1 of the Terms of Reference. 

 

A member of the committee referred to the 'Aims' section and suggested it be amended to detail overarching strategic aims such as 'To improve the health and wellbeing of people in Portsmouth' rather than solely comprising a list of tasks.

 

The Corporate Governance Manager agreed to refer the comments made about the 'Aims' section under paragraph 1 of the document back to the Health and Wellbeing Board for consideration at the next review.

 

RESOLVED that the Governance & Audit & Standards Committee supported the changes to the constitution for the Health and Wellbeing Board set out within the report and recommend these changes to Council.

49.

Treasury Management Mid-Year Review 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Purpose

 

The purpose of the report is to inform members and the wider community of the Council’s Treasury Management position, i.e. its borrowing and cash investments at 30 September 2022 and of the risks attached to that position.

 

Whilst the Council has a portfolio of investment properties and some equity shares which were acquired through the capital programme; these do not in themselves form part of the treasury management function.

 

Recommendations

 

It is recommended that the following be noted:

 

(i)             That the Council's Treasury Management activities have remained within the Treasury Management Policy 2022/23 in the period up to 30 September 2022; and

 

(ii)           That the actual Treasury Management indicators as at 30 September 2022 set out in Appendix A be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(TAKE IN REPORT)

 

Julian Pike, Deputy Director of Finance & S151 Officer, introduced the report which informed members of the Council’s Treasury Management position, namely its borrowing and cash investments at 30 September 2022 and of the risks attached to that position.

 

He confirmed that the council's treasury management activities had remained in line with the Treasury Management Policy and that at Quarter 2, higher than forecast cash balance and increases in interest rates had realised a £2.5m improvement from the original budget forecast position.

 

He also provided an overview of the urgent report considered by Cabinet on 22 November 2022 titled 'Treasury Management Investments - Environmental, Social & Governance Considerations'.  The checks performed on financial institutions prior to investing included four which related to 'human capital' and were applied to the financial institution itself, rather than the state in which the institution was domicile.

 

An additional process would be included in the 2023/24 Treasury Management Policy to identify institutions which had significant influence or control by the state in which it was domicile.  Investments would not be made if that state had a poor human rights record. 

 

The committee thanked the Deputy Director of Finance & S151 Officer for the update and commended the approach going forward in respect of the additional check to ensure that investments made by the council were ethical.

 

RESOLVED that the Governance& Audit & Standards Committee NOTED

 

(i)         That the Council's Treasury Management activities had remained within the Treasury Management Policy 2022/23 in the period up to 30 September 2022; and

 

(ii)       The actual Treasury Management indicators as at 30 September 2022 set out in Appendix A.

50.

Internal Audit Performance Status Report to 8 November 2022 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Purpose

 

The purpose of this report is to update the Governance and Audit and Standards Committee on the Internal Audit Performance for 2022/23 to 8 November 2022 against the Annual Audit Plan, highlight areas of concern and areas where assurance can be given on the internal control framework.

 

Recommendations

 

It is recommended:

 

(i)             That Members note the Audit Performance for 2022-23 to 8 November 2022; and

 

(ii)           That Members note the highlighted areas of concern in relation to audits completed from the 2022/23 Audit Plan, including follow up work performed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(TAKE IN REPORT)

 

Elizabeth Goodwin, Chief Internal Auditor, introduced the report which updated the committee on the Internal Audit Performance for 2022/23 to 8 November 2022 against the Annual Audit Plan, highlighted areas of concern and areas where assurance could be given on the internal control framework

 

In response to questions it was confirmed that:

 

·       Further detail would be requested from the service in respect of the extension of the current gas service contract which had been listed as an amendment to the Audit Plan;

 

·       In respect of the amount of retained CIL funds, it was acknowledged that this was partly due to the pandemic.  Whilst a risk, it was something which was being monitored; and

 

·       The medium risk exception detailed in respect of Disabled Facilities Grants related to a local land charge not being applied against a property.  This anomaly had been picked up as part of the process review.

 

RESOLVED that the Governance & Audit & Standards Committee noted:

 

(i)             the Audit Performance for 2022-23 to 8 November 2022; and

 

(ii)           the highlighted areas of concern in relation to audits completed from the 2022/23 Audit Plan, including follow up work performed.

51.

Compliance with Gifts & Hospitality Protocol pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Purpose

 

The purpose of the report is to update Members on any issues regarding compliance with Gifts & Hospitality protocol and to advise on remedies.

 

RECOMMENDED that

 

(i)  The Committee considers whether or not to make any recommendations for change; and

 

(ii)  In the absence of any changes, the report is noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(TAKE IN REPORT)

 

Peter Baulf, City Solicitor, introduced the report which updated the committee on any issues regarding compliance with the Gifts & Hospitality protocol and to advise on remedies.

 

The City Solicitor confirmed that a high level of compliance had been demonstrated and no concerns had been raised.

 

During the discussion the committee raised two concerns, that of the value of the Fortnum and Mason hamper received by the Leader not being known and whether the invite to the Director of Portsmouth International Port to attend a cricket match at The Oval had been made to him in his capacity of Director of Portsmouth International Port or as Managing Director of Portico.  The committee felt that the latter needed to be known for it to scrutinise such gifts effectively.

 

The committee believed that donating gifts to the Lord Mayor's Charity where their refusal would cause embarrassment was appropriate and suggested that gift value limits be increased in line with inflation.

 

In respect of the Fortnum and Mason hamper that had been gifted to the Leader, the Chairman confirmed that he would write to the Leader on behalf of the committee to convey its disappointment that the estimated value had not been disclosed.

 

RESOLVED that the report be NOTED.

52.

Exclusion of Press and Public

In view of the contents of the appendices to the following item on the agenda the Committee is RECOMMENDED to adopt the following motion:

 

“That, under the provisions of Section 100A of the Local Government Act, 1972 as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) Act, 1985, the press and public be excluded for the consideration of the following item on the grounds that the appendices to the report contains information defined as exempt in Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act, 1972" The public interest in maintaining the exemption must outweigh the public interest in disclosing the information. Under the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) England Regulations 2012, regulation 5, the reasons for exemption of the listed appendices are shown below. (NB The exempt/confidential committee papers on the agenda will contain information which is commercially, legally or personally sensitive and should not be divulged to third parties.

 

Members are reminded of standing order restrictions on the disclosure of exempt information and are asked to dispose of exempt documentation as confidential waste at the conclusion of the meeting.

 

Item Exemption                                                                                Para No.*

                                                                                                                

9. Procurement Management Information                                           3

(Exempt Appendices 1, 2, 3 & 4)

 

*3. Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information.

Minutes:

The Chair advised that proceedings would be kept open until such time that the committee wished to discuss the exempt appendices to the following report:

 

(i)             Procurement Management Information

 

At the conclusion of the consideration of the non-exempt report, the resolution to move into exempt session to consider the exempt appendices was passed and the committee entered exempt session.  The committee had one question in respect of the exempt appendices which is detailed in the exempt minute.

 

53.

Procurement Management Information pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Purpose

 

The purpose of the report is to provide evidence to allow the committee to evaluate the extent that Portsmouth City Council is producing contracts for goods, works and services in a legally compliant value for money basis.

 

The report also updates the committee on progress developing procurement performance reporting.

 

The report is for noting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(TAKE IN REPORT)

 

Richard Lock, Procurement Manager, introduced the report which provided evidence to allow the committee to evaluate the extent that Portsmouth City Council was producing contracts for goods, works and services in a legally compliant value for money basis.

 

He advised the committee that compliance was above the 95% target across services and of the non-compliant transactions there were no concerns.  In respect of contract awards via waiver there had been no high-risk waivers and there had been a significant reductions in medium and low risk waivers. In addition he advised that the KPI process was being overhauled as the current model needed to be made simpler.

 

The committee thanked the Procurement Manager for the much improved report layout, but raised a concern that 40% of contracts recorded on the InTend system did not have KPI reporting requirements applied to them.

 

RESOLVED that the committee NOTED the update report.