Venue: Committee Room A - County Hall, Llandrindod Wells, Powys
Contact: Lisa Richards 01597 826371
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
There were no declarations of interest.
DISCLOSURE OF PARTY WHIPS
To receive disclosures of prohibited party whips which a Member has been given in relation to the meeting in accordance with Section 78(3) of the Local Government Measure 2011.
(NB: Members are reminded that under Section 78 Members having been given a prohibited party whip cannot vote on a matter before the Committee.)
There were no disclosures of party whips.
To consider the report of the Leader, County Councillor R Harris.
· Report of the Leader, County Councillor R Harris
· WAO Annual Audit Letter – Powys County Council 2016-17
· Action Plan
· The WAO Annual Audit Letter includes a statutory recommendation to County Council which, under the Public Audit Wales Act, must be considered by council within one month
· This extra meeting of Audit Committee gives Members the opportunity to consider the Letter to enable comments to be made at County Council on Thursday 22 February 2018
· The Acting Chief Executive reported that the Council was already taking action to address the issues raised
· A balanced budget can be achieved for 2018/19 but there were significant challenges to balance the 2019/20 budget – Cabinet and Management Team were working to address this
· The Letter covers the period to the end of March 2017 before the new Council was elected.
· The Letter confirms that the 2016/17 Statement of Accounts were approved and that no significant issues had arisen through work to certify grants and claims
· However, the WAO state that The Council did not have sufficient appropriate arrangements in place to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources, and the current and future financial position represents a significant challenge
· The Authority was under considerable scrutiny at present including the CIW inspection of both Adult and Childrens Services
· Members were aware of the significant challenges facing the Council from 2019/20 and beyond and the necessity for fundamental change
· A balanced budget has been set for 2018/19
· The level of detail provided has continued to improve
· The MTFS will be updated by the end of May 2018
· Cabinet and Management Team are to have a series of meetings regarding the 2025 Vision and balancing the budget
· The Corporate Leadership and Governance Plan highlights the WAO comments and how those recommendations are to be achieved
· The Chair commented that the Leader’s report should be amended to reflect that the WAO Letter did cover some issues relating to the current year
· It was noted that Impact Assessments (IAs) had been introduced but that the Committee’s experience of some IAs was a cause for concern. Furthermore, the majority of them had been late in being available for consideration. It was questioned whether the residual risk was accurate and this should have been the subject of debate to give the Committee assurance that IAs were adequate (an example was given of savings within the Resources Directorate which the Committee believed led to a high residual risk. The Head of Financial Services was able to explain the rationale behind this but this had not been apparent at the time Members considered the IA.)
· IAs must be developed early in the process to inform the budget setting process
· Changes that will be required for 2019/20 must have an early IA to enable effective scrutiny
· The Chair also commented that a more holistic approach needed to be taken – including the relationship between scrutiny and Cabinet
· There remained concerns regarding the monthly budget monitoring report. It was hoped ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Adult Social Care Scrutiny Group
The Chairs and Vice Chairs Steering Group had agreed that the Audit Committee be represented at a meeting of the Adult Social Care Scrutiny Group when they considered Section 33 Pooled Budgets for Residential Care and Residential Care, Ownership and Administration. The first of these topics was to be considered on 12 March 2018 and the Committee was asked to nominate up to three representatives to participate in the joint meeting.