The Audit Manager – Audit Wales presented a report which detailed reports from Audit Wales, including an update on the financial and performance audit work undertaken, and due to be undertaken, by Audit Wales.
She explained that Audit Wales had produced a number of reports for the Governance and Audit Committee to consider, a summary of which were provided at section 4 of the report. These were:
In respect of Appendix B, the AW Representative explained that the field work took place in December 2021/January 2022. The aim of the review was to see how the Council were strategically planning for the use of its workforce, how it monitored this, as well as reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of these arrangements. She added that the main point to highlight was that the Council was acting and responding to the workforce issues which was particularly evident during the start of the pandemic and the need for redeployment of staff and shift in work to work through the challenges.
The AW Representative highlighted the recommendations following the review, which were outlined in Appendix B of the report.
A Member stated that it was clear there were many plans in flight at the moment, however it would be useful for the Committee to have a catalogue of the more strategic plans to ensure that the Committee were able to able to see the position we are in as an authority.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change suggested that the relevant Overview & Scrutiny Committee in conjunction with the Governance & Audit Committee on a 6 monthly basis may be the most suitable way to monitor the plans and ensure that the deadlines were adhered to.
The AW Representative highlighted the recommendations following the review, which were outlined in Appendix C of the report. She highlighted a typo in recommendation 1 of the appendix which should read ‘strategic asset management planning’ instead.
A Member asked in relation to the 2030 decarbonisation strategy, how as a Council do we focus on making changes and ensuring that we are on target, given the cost of living crisis and the fact that many changes take a number of years to implement.
The Corporate Director Communities agreed that the years ahead would be challenging, but it was a corporate target and needed more exposure to raise awareness. Discussions had been ongoing to see what more can be done and one of the points that had been brought up was to decide whether a wellbeing objective should include the 2030 strategy. There had also been lots of work done on the heat network and that was still ongoing. The Cabinet Member Communities now sits on the 2030 Programme Board to ensure that the conversations were fed directly back to Cabinet for a more streamlined approach from that angle. In terms of Local Authorities, Bridgend CBC was also seen as being at the forefront of decarbonisation however there was still more work to be done.
A Member suggested that this board was looked at by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee as a way of monitoring the performance on a regular basis.
The Chair commented on schools being a large part of the carbon footprint and asked if they were consulted on issues. The Corporate Director Communities stated that schools as well as young learners were the future generation and were ideal advocates for promoting as well as making changes that can contribute to decarbonisation. She added that Refit was a scheme that was undertaken in many schools which allowed for energy cost savings and decarbonisation over a period of time.
Members expressed their opinions on what level of concern they placed on the recommendations. A vote was carried out to determine whether the committee noted the report with concern, or severe concern. The vote was not carried and therefore the Committee:
RESOLVED: That with some concern, the Committee noted the Audit Wales Governance and Audit Committee Reports at Appendices A, B, C and D