Agenda and minutes

Governance and Audit Committee - Tuesday, 15th March, 2022 14:00, NEW

Venue: remotely - via Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2014.




Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of the Committee of 28/01/2022


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the 28/01/2022 be approved as a true and accurate record subject to the following change:


“The lay member questioned whether the list of projects in the Digital Transformation programme was a bit light in terms of a cultural change and embracing and improving the culture.” Be changed to the following:


“The lay member asked whether cultural change is included in the digital transformation programme as per the Audit Wales recommendations as ”the Digital Transformation programme report received was light in detail.”


Governance And Audit Committee Action Record pdf icon PDF 208 KB

Additional documents:


The Democratic Services Manager presented a report which provided members with an update on the Audit Committee Action Record, which was appended to the report.


The Chairperson commented on the action from 9th September 2021 regarding complaints. The committee requested an update on the 10 cases that were listed as outstanding but it was not mentioned on the forthcoming report.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that this particular document had a typo in Appendix 3 and said that the table with the correct figures would be sent out to all Members following the meeting.


The Chair Person asked for an update on the lay member position.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change stated that following the Local Government and Elections Act 2021, a third of the membership of the committee must be Lay Members. The advertisements had gone out for these positions and the recruitment process had recently been concluded, with four lay members being appointed. These Lay Members have a range of experiences including Local Government, other public sector, audit experience and banking  which this was pleasing to see.


RESOLVED:  The Committee noted the Action Record and provided comments upon this, as appropriate.



Update Of Review Of The Concerns And Complaints Process pdf icon PDF 225 KB


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report which updated the Committee on the work being undertaken to review the Authority’s Concerns and Complaints process.

She advised that following the Committee receiving a report on the above, feedback from the Committee suggested they would like the Authority to take a more holistic view of complaints and explore whether there were digital options for complaints management.


The Committee established a working group, which consisted of Cllr Lyn Walters, Cllr Cheryl Green and Cllr Amanda Williams. The working group undertook research and spoke to other local authorities.


She advised that on 26 January 2022, the elected member working group met the Chief Officer - Legal, and Regulatory Services, HR and Corporate Policy to feed back their findings and views. These findings were then presented shortly after to the Corporate Management Board and it was agreed there to refer the matter to the Digital Transformation Board for further consideration.


She added that prior to presentation to the Digital Transformation Board, initial work has been undertaken to explore the opportunities of incorporating the current formal stage of concerns and complaints within the existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which is used in Customer Services for recording all informal concerns and complaints. Work was now underway to look at developing the system so that all concerns and complaints are held and processed within the CRM system, rather than recorded in a standalone Excel spreadsheet with the aim of improving currenting reporting across the whole organisation. A copy of the complaints performance report that is provided each quarter to the Complaints Standards Authority Wales is also being reviewed to ensure the right data can be captured within the CRM system to simplify and improve the current reporting process.


A Member mentioned as part of the working group they wanted to look at compliments as well as these played a key part in the customer experience. Some areas that may have higher numbers of complaints than others may also have higher numbers of compliments to the service and so logging these would give a fuller picture. The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change agreed that it was an important aspect of the process and would be included in this piece of work.


A Member asked if the system included complaints that went to schools. It was highlighted that this was not the case as complaints to schools were monitored separately from those received by the Local Authority.


The Lay Member asked if we were compliant with the legislation on this and also what other Councils were doing with regards to recording complaints to schools. The Chairperson stated that she had spoken with the Corporate Director Education and Family Support this morning and he had confirmed that the guidance from Welsh Government was that Schools were to deal with the complaints themselves.


Members discussed the complaints procedure for schools and asked that an update be provided at the next committee meeting on how school  ...  view the full minutes text for item 306.


Arbed Scheme Caerau pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Regional Internal Audit presented a report which updated the Committee on the work undertaken by Internal Audit relating to the Arbed scheme, as requested by this Committee on 28 January 2022.


He explained that at the request of the former Chief Executive in 2018, the Council’s Internal Audit team conducted an audit review to ascertain the extent to which the Council’s policies and procedures had or had not been applied in respect of the Arbed funded scheme in Caerau for the period September 2012 to April 2013. Concerns were raised by the then Chief Executive specifically relating to an apparent absence of an audit trail and whether there would be any circumstances that would explain this.


He added that to provide assurance that there was no evidence that these issues were widespread, Internal Audit undertook a further review of the procurement and governance aspects of 10 externally funded schemes from 2018 onwards. This report was presented to the Governance and Audit Committee in January 2021. An audit opinion of reasonable assurance was given and  only four minor recommendations were made. No significant issues were identified. It was found that, from the sample selected and reviewed, the concerns arising from a previous externally funded Arbed scheme had not been replicated. Further background was at section 3 of the report.


The Head of Regional Internal Audit stated that the document published on the Council’s website on 26 January 2022 was attached at Appendix A and outlined the findings and conclusions from the work undertaken by Internal Audit in relation to the Arbed scheme. The report identified several significant concerns relating to the governance, decision making, procurement, monitoring and control aspects of the Arbed Scheme and the conduct and role of a Councillor as a Director of Green Renewable Wales Ltd. The report therefore made recommendations, all of which have been implemented by the Council. He added that the report was shared with the police in August 2019 but it was determined that no action was needed to be taken by themselves. Recently a senior investigating officer within the Economic Crime Unit has reviewed the internal audit report and documents again and has confirmed that they support the assessment made in 2019. There has been no change in circumstances and no fresh evidence which would impact on that decision.



The Head of Regional Internal Audit outlined the wider issues in respect of governance, decision making, and procurement and these were subject to further audit as part of the 2020/21 audit plan. This report identified the 10 schemes reviewed and the findings and recommendations made as a result of the work. It was found that, from the sample selected and reviewed, the concerns arising from a previous externally funded Arbed scheme had not been replicated.


Documentation was available to support compliance with the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules and the involvement of Corporate Procurement when engaging contractors. There was also evidence of supplier monitoring, reporting and governance across all the projects. An  ...  view the full minutes text for item 307.


Forward Work Programme 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Additional documents:


The Deputy Head of Finance presented a report which sought approval for the proposed Forward Work Programme for 2022-23.


She advised that in order to assist the Committee in ensuring that due consideration is given to all aspects of their core functions the proposed Forward Work Programme for 2022-23 is attached at Appendix A.


Committee Members were asked to endorse this schedule, confirm the list of people they would like to invite for each item (if appropriate), and indicate whether any additional information or research is required.


She highlighted the items that were currently scheduled at the next planned meeting which was due to take place on the 9 June 2022. The items were listed at 4.2 of the report.


The Deputy Head of Finance explained that there may be additional agenda items presented to the Committee as the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 comes into effect, particularly in respect of the Committee’s new responsibilities in relation to performance and self-assessment, and these will be added to the Forward Work Programme as necessary.


She advised that the FWP was not a rigid programme and that the schedule was subject to change should there be any other items that the committee wish to consider. The current meeting dates were also subject to approval of Council at the annual meeting which was due to be held on 18 May 2022.


The Lay Member mentioned that there were 4 agenda items due to be scheduled for the meeting this month that had not been considered. 2 of the items, the Internal Audit quarterly report and the Fraud Risk Assessment were especially important and were now scheduled for later months. She believed this to be late and should be seen earlier if possible.


The Deputy Head of Finance explained that due to the new responsibilities of the Governance and Audit Committee as a result of the new Act, the Corporate Management Board would now review the Fraud Risk Assessment on a quarterly basis and any significant issues arising would be fed through the Corporate Risk Assessment for the Committee to consider.


The Head of Regional Internal Audit commented on the Internal Audit Quarterly Report and stated that it was due to be considered by the committee at the end of the month, when the original meeting was due to take place. However, as this meeting was brought forward to today, there was not enough time to prepare the report in time to be considered by the Committee. The expected progress report would be included in the Annual report coming to the June meeting.


RESOLVED: That the Committee considered and approved the proposed Forward Work Programme for 2022-23.



Urgent Items

To consider any other items(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Rule 4 of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.