Agenda and draft minutes

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Media

Items
No. Item

AS1

Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest

To receive any apologies for absence and declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received by Councillors Asker, Silcock, Gregory and Foley, as well as Georgina Butcher and Catherine Wellingbrook-Doswell (Independent Persons).

 

There were no declarations of interest.

AS2

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To consider the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as a correct record.

 

The Chair drew attention to a previous request from members in AS23 for an External Audit update report.

 

The Monitoring Officer provided a verbal update on the outstanding accounts. She confirmed that Officers would invite KPMG, the new auditors for the latest financial year, to attend the next Audit and Standards meeting. The Vice-Chair requested that the invitation also be extended to BDO, the auditors responsible for the outstanding accounts from previous years.

 

Members expressed disappointment at the lack of progress made towards signing off the accounts.

AS3

Constitutional Amendments to Probity in Planning, Public Attendance at Planning Committee, and Delegations pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider a number of proposed amendments to the Codes and Protocols (Part 5) section of the Council’s Constitution and one change to (Part 3) Responsibilities and Functions, relating to the Council’s Planning function.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Development Management and Enforcement presented a number of proposed amendments to the Codes and Protocols (Part 5) section of the Council’s Constitution and one change to (Part 3) Responsibilities and Functions, relating to the Council’s Planning function.

 

He explained that members had two key issues with the previous proposals: public speaking and training. The process was therefore restarted and taken back to the Planning Committee Working Group for discussion.

 

Under the new scheme, the number of public speakers on each application would be reduced to a maximum of five, with a speaking time of three minutes per person; although this could be extended at the Chair’s discretion where there were contentious cases. Applicants and/or Agents would now have the right to speak for up to five minutes, which would be of assistance to the Committee for clarifying an details.  There would be no changes to the arrangements in place for Ward Members or Parish Councils.

 

In response to two questions of clarification from members, Officers confirmed that either the agent or applicant were permitted to speak at the meeting. In addition, there were no changes to the existing arrangements for non-committee members, such as Ward Members.

 

RESOLVED: To recommend that Council agrees the following Constitutional amendments:

4.1. Codes and Protocols (Part 5) section of the Constitution as set out in tracked changes at Appendix A:

i. 3.1 – ‘Pre-application Discussions’

ii. 3.2 – ‘Reports to Committee’

iii. 3.3 – ‘Committee Procedures and Decisions’

iv. 3.5 – Addition of ‘Appeals against committee decisions’ and to renumber thereafter

v. 3.6. – ‘Public Attendance at Committee Meetings’

vi. 3.7 – ‘Site Visits’

vii. 4.1 – ‘Member Training’

viii. 4.2 – ‘Monitoring of Decisions’

ix. Appendix 2 – ‘Procedure for Parish/Town Council Representatives/ Members of the Public Attending Meetings of the Planning Committee’

x. Protocol for Calling in Planning Applications

 

4.2 Responsibilities and Functions (Part 3) section of the Constitution as set out in tracked changes at Appendix B to allow for the determination of s73 planning applications under delegated powers (members would still be able to call-in these applications if required).

 

AS4

Internal Audit Annual Report and Opinion 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 326 KB

To note the work that Internal Audit has undertaken during the 2023/24 financial year.

Minutes:

The Internal Audit Manager presented his report on the Internal Audit Annual Report and Opinion 2023/24, which outlined the work that Internal Audit has undertaken during the 2023/24 financial year.

 

He explained that there had been less audits conducted than anticipated during the 2023/24 financial year, due to staffing issues and inefficiencies in the (now former) follow-up process.

 

In response to questions from members, officers clarified the following:

·         The Public Sector Internal Audit Standards required an External Quality Assessment to be completed every five years and arrangements have been with Havering Council to complete this by peer review. Officers were in the final stages of completing the information sharing agreement, and the review would look to commence in late July.

·         The Internal Audit team consisted of 2.6 FTE staff which was an appropriate size for the organisation. There were a range of staffing issues during the year, such as illness and vacancies, which impacted the team’s capacity and ultimately the number of audits which could be completed.

·         The Council’s Risk Management Framework was currently under review and amendments were due to be presented at October’s meeting of Cabinet.

·         The Key Performance Indicators, which were previously considered at the former Governance, Audit and Performance Committee, were now presented to the Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet.

·         A limited assurance opinion was given to the Standards Complaints process and members had been provided previously with a copy of the report.

 

The Internal Audit Manager provided an update on the outstanding audits from the Internal Audit Plan 2023/24:

·         Cyber Security – Draft report at the final version

·         Corporate Property and Asset Management – Awaiting management response to the draft report

·         Temporary Accommodation – Audit in process

·         Housing Rents – Draft report finalised

·         Accounts Payable – Draft report expected the following week

·         Key Health and Safety Landlord Duties - Draft report expected the following week

 

The report was noted.

 

Meeting ended 19:28