Agenda item

Annual Governance Statement 2022-23


This report was introduced by the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change and its purpose was to present Members with the Annual Governance Statement 2022-23 (AGS) for approval and inclusion within the unaudited Statement of Accounts 2022-23.


The key points were as follows:


  • Good corporate governance requires the active participation of Members and officers across the Council. These arrangements are reviewed on an annual basis and the findings used to update the AGS.
  • This helps to ensure the continuous improvement of the Council’s corporate governance culture. The inclusion of the AGS within the Statement of Accounts provides an overall appraisal of the controls in place to manage the Council’s key risks and identifies where improvements need to be made.
  • The draft AGS for 2022-2023 was attached at Appendix A. This Statement describes the extent to which the Council has complied with its Code of Corporate Governance and the requirements of the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014 and the Accounts and Audit (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 for the year ended 31 March 2023.
  • It also sets out how the Council has responded to governance issues identified during 2022-23 and actions to be undertaken during 2023-24 following an annual review of the Governance Framework.
  • This statutory Committee provides independent assurance on the Council’s internal control environment.
  • Work done by external regulators such as Audit Wales and Care Inspectorate Wales are referred to as they undertake work on our control systems.
  • The Council faces a range of risks as would be expected from the broad range of services it delivers and activities it is engaged with.
  • Risks are viewed from both a Service and Council-wide perspective which ensures the key risks are distilled in the Corporate Risk Assessment.
  • The Risk Assessment sets out how the Council is addressing these risks and the mitigating actions it will put in place to reduce them. It is regularly reviewed and challenged by both senior management and the Governance and Audit Committee.
  • The Council has in place robust arrangements for effective financial control through the Council’s accounting procedures, key financial systems and the Financial Procedure Rules.
  • The Council had an unqualified audit opinion on the 2021-2022 financial statements and the Head of the Internal Audit services has given the Council as assessment of reasonable assurance for the 2022-2023 financial year.
  • Section 5 of the AGS provides an update with regard to the issues highlighted in the 2021-2022 AGS and the issues identified for the 2022-2023 year.
  • The AGS is currently in draft and will be reviewed by Audit Wales as part of the work undertaken on the Statement of Accounts for 2022- 2023. A final version of the AGS will be included when the final SOA is presented to this committee.


A member raised three issues about the report:


·        whether it would be possible to have more regular reviews of the Constitution to agree more incremental changes, such as rules about meeting duration and breaks during meetings.

·        the relationship between BCBC and Town and Community Councils was unclear where it came to enforcing the Code of Conduct and helping to manage good behaviour.

·        He welcomed the adoption of a socially responsible procurement strategy but that there needed to be a commitment to a green procurement strategy if the Council is going to hit its 2030 decarbonisation targets.


In response to the first two issues, the Chairperson suggested they were a matter for the Monitoring Officer and Democratic Services Committee. In respect of the second one, in particular, it was suggested that a note could be prepared by the Monitoring Officer to clarify the situation for members.


In respect of the third issue, the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change suggested she could take it away, look at it, and discuss with the procurement team. The member responded by suggesting it was also something for the Cabinet/ Corporate Management Board (CMB) for example, because it is necessary to change the way BCBC is thinking about green issues and embedding them in all areas of activity.


A Lay Member thanked the authors of the report for a very comprehensive and well put together document and added three suggestions, with the external reader in mind:


  • Rather than suggesting “Internal Audit has worked remotely, conducting audits and obtaining evidence digitally as well as face to face where appropriate” (p.139), it would be better to say that they had been working hybrid.
  • At the bottom of the same page, it talks about actions being at various stages of implementation. He thought it would be better to say there’s no significant overdue actions.
  • Where the audits that have been deferred are discussed, it would probably be stronger if we could say those audits that were deferred were approved in some sort of forum, and also that they were not considered significant in the overall context.


A member returned to the issue of the Constitution and, in particular, asked whether the review of the Constitution could be made a requirement of an AGM.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, suggested she could add this to the constitutional issues raised by the other member earlier in the meeting and discuss them with the Monitoring Officer. The Chairperson added that he thought this was a matter for the Democratic Services Committee and that reviewing the Constitution annually would be a huge task.


The member who raised the initial points about the constitution added that what he was looking for was a process of continuous improvement.




The Committee approved the draft Annual Governance Statement at Appendix A and agreed its inclusion within the unaudited Statement of Accounts 2022-23.

Supporting documents: