Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR
Contact: John Grieve, Governance Services, Tel 0113 37 88662
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Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents
To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 15.2 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).
(*In accordance with Procedure Rule 15.2, written notice of an appeal must be received by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting)
There were no appeals against the refusal of inspection of documents.
Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public
1 To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.
2 To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.
3 If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-
RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:-
There were no items identified which required the exclusion of the press or public.
To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration
(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes)
Although there were no formal late items, the Chair did accept the inclusion of Supplementary Information in respect of Agenda Item No. 13 - Approval of the 2020/21 Statement of Accounts and the External Auditors (Grant Thornton) Audit Report (Minute No. 71referred). An amendment to the Statement of Accounts and the inclusion of the ISA260 Audit Report, which were not available at the time of agenda publication, but it was considered to be in the best interests of the Council and other parties concerned that the matters be considered without delay.
Declaration of Interests
To disclose or draw attention to any interests in accordance with Leeds City Council’s ‘Councillor Code of Conduct’.
There were no declarations of interest made at the meeting.
Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence (If any)
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors: J Bentley and P Harrand.
To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 26th November 2021.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 26th November 2021 were submitted for comment/ approval.
RESOLVED - That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 26th September 2021 were accepted as a true and correct record.
Matters Arising from the Minutes
To consider any matters arising from the minutes.
The Committee received the following up-date on matters previously considered by the Committee:
Procurement of External Auditor (Minute No.51 referred) – It was reported that on the 12thJanuary 2022, Council resolved to accept Public Sector Audit Appointments’ invitation to opt into the sector led option for the appointment of external auditors from 2023/24
To comment on the minutes from the Consultative Meeting of Members of the Corporate Governance and Audit Committee held on 17th December 2021.
The notes from the Consultative Meeting of Members of the Corporate Governance and Audit Committee held on 17th December 2021 were submitted for comment/ approval.
RESOLVED - That the notes from the Consultative Meeting of Members of the Corporate Governance and Audit Committee held on 17th December 2021 were received as a true and correct record and the recommendations of the meeting accepted by the Corporate Governance and Audit Committee.
Matters Arising from the Notes of the Consultative Committee
To consider any matters arising from the notes of the Consultative Committee.
The Committee received the following up-date on matters previously considered by the Consultative Committee:
Public Sector Internal Audit Standards - External Quality Assessment (Minute No.4 referred) – With reference to the peer review undertaken by Glasgow City Council and the concerns raised by Members in respect of the responses to the questionnaire. It was report reported that Officers from Glasgow had now provided the requested details. The Head of Audit would undertake further work with a view to sharing the Committee’s concerns.
Annual Assurance Report on Corporate Risk Management Arrangements (Minute No. 5 referred) – It was reported that the Partnership checklist, as requested by Committee had been circulated on 21st January 2022.
Internal Audit Update Report August to November 2021(Minute No. 8 referred) – It was reported that an analysis of the Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire data had been circulated to Members on 3rd February 2022.
To consider a report by the Chief Digital & Information Officer which presents the Annual Assurance Report on Integrated Digital Services controls and seeks to provide assurance in relation to the management and control mechanisms supporting the successful ongoing delivery of Integrated Digital Services (IDS) service provision.
The Chief Digital & Information Officer submitted a report which presented the Annual Assurance Report on Integrated Digital Services controls.
The report sought to provide assurance in relation to the management and control mechanisms supporting the successful ongoing delivery of Integrated Digital Services (IDS) service provision.
Addressing the report, the Chief Digital & Information Officer spoke in detail about the report and highlighted the following areas of work:
· Proactive maintenance and support across a broad range of systems
· Service Centre fault and request resolution
· Provision and support of IT equipment to individuals e.g. laptops, screens, smartphones
· Provision and support of IT equipment in office workspaces e.g. conferencing room equipment, printers and shared desk facilities such as screens/mice/keyboards
· Provision and support of telephony solutions
· Provision and support of data network connections including remote connection to support home/mobile working
· Management of user accounts and access to IT systems
· Provision and proactive maintenance of IT systems
· Storage and backup of data
· Management and proactive maintenance of IT security systems
· Management of information and compliance with data and security standards
· Management of business intelligence systems and production of data
· Development of business change proposals, business cases and the
Project/Programme management of change
Members welcomed the report commenting that it was reassuring and comprehensive, as the performance of Information Digital Services (IDS) had been a concern over a number of years. Members were aware that a digital inclusion survey had been considered at the Infrastructure, Investment & Inclusive Growth (Scrutiny Board) some years ago, and that an update on collaboration work with the CCG would also be considered, but asked whether there were any implications arising from the transition to regional integrated care systems.
In responding the Chief Digital & Information Officer said it would be business as usual, and that conversation were already taking place with stakeholders. It was confirmed that IDS is a combined service and has oversight of the digital city strategy. Whilst there are no plans to change services, the Chief Digital & Information Officer will seek to develop the right structure. It was noted that there may be some contractual change for IDS colleagues as those employed by the Clinical Commissioning Group change employer.
Referring to the reduction in SLA performance on call waiting times, Members asked when an update would be received.
Members were informed that call centre SLA measurement to recover was actively monitored by Director of Resources. It was reported that performance had improved significantly, with call waiting times reduced from 2 hours to 10 minutes or less.
Members asked about the development of digital mapping, particularly opportunities for development and training available for Officers and Elected Members.
Members were informed that there were plans to further develop digital mapping as the demand increased. In terms of Officer and Elected Member training, further consideration was required before reporting back to Members
Members requested if suitably large screens could be made available, not necessarily on a full-time basis, and that training be provided to ensure that resources can be exploited.
Members were ... view the full minutes text for item 68.
To consider a report by the Director of Resources and Housing and the Director of Adults and Health which presents the Annual Information Governance Report (including the Annual Report of the Caldicott Guardian). The report seeks to assure the Committee on the effectiveness of the council’s information management and governance arrangements: that they are up to date; fit for purpose; effectively communicated and routinely complied with. The Caldicott Guardian element seeks to assure the Committee of the arrangements in place with regards to the confidentiality of patient and service-user data.
The Director of Resources and Housing and the Director of Adults and Health submitted a report which presented the Annual Information Governance Report (including the Annual Report of the Caldicott Guardian).
The report sought to assure the Committee on the effectiveness of the council’s information management and governance arrangements: that they are up to date; fit for purpose; effectively communicated and routinely complied with. The Caldicott Guardian element sought to assure the Committee of the arrangements in place with regards to the confidentiality of patient and service-user data.
Addressing the report, the Head of Information Governance & Cyber and Data Protection Officer spoke on the key issues which included:
· Improvements had been made in responding to Freedom of Information (FOI) / Environmental Information Regulation (EIR) and Individuals Rights (IR) requests within the statutory time limits.
· The service had changed its structure and working practices and had been renamed the Information Governance and Cyber service (IG&C).
· The mandatory Level 1 Information Governance eLearning development and roll out cycle was currently underway, with a provisional launch date to staff mid-September 2022.
· Information Governance & Cyber were leading on a project to review and update the current Data protection impact assessment template and process
· PSN certification was awarded in October 2021.
· In August 2021, the National Data Guardian issued guidance on the appointment of Caldicott Guardians, their role and responsibilities in respect of data processing activities undertaken within their organisations.
Referring to statutory information requests, Members noted this was an area of weakness and that the Council would continue to be exposed to successful complaints. Members asked if there was any benchmarking comparison with other authorities, whether there was a downward trend, what was being done to improve the situation.
The Data Protection Officer confirmed that benchmarking had been undertaken last year, noting that significant work had been undertaken in the current year to benefit from this. An analysis of the data received from core cities and other local authorities, indicated that two local authorities were performing better than Leeds, but others were significantly worse.
The Head of Information Governance & Cyber and Data Protection Officer confirmed the benchmarking data would be shared with Committee.
Members were informed that the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) had been in contact with LCC to undertake a survey to look at specific problem areas, indicating that this was a national problem. By way of example, the Data Protection Officer mentioned subject access requests (SARs), in particular cases involving Leeds Children’s Social Care where each case involved the redaction of up to tens of thousands of pages, a very time-consuming process. Members were informed that this information had been fed back to the ICO, and that a response / outcome was still awaited.
The Data protection Officer confirmed that changes had been implemented including the disbanding of the central requests team and the role out of basic level training on how to deal with SARs & FOIs in order share knowledge, experience, and the load of work across the team. It ... view the full minutes text for item 69.
To consider a report by the Chief Officer Human Resources which presents the annual report on Council’s employment policies and employee conduct and seeks to provides assurance that, employee conduct is properly managed, policies are regularly reviewed and employee conduct forms part of normal manager/ employee relations.
The Chief Officer Human Resources submitted a report which presented the annual report on Council’s employment policies and employee conduct.
The report sought to provide assurance that, employee conduct was properly managed, policies were regularly reviewed, and employee conduct formed part of normal manager/ employee relations.
Addressing the report, the HR Services Manager explained that employment policies were developed and reviewed by the HR team in consultation with the trade unions and staff networks with additional advice where applicable being provided by legal services. The views of and feedback from managers was also collected via focus groups.
Members were informed that development of new/ reviews of existing policies form part of the weekly meetings with the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Resources.
Referring to the disciplinary procedures, Members noted that in 2020/21 68 disciplinary cases were concluded, lower than previous years due the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the organisations ability to conduct all meetings.
Members queried if there were any disciplinary’s still outstanding due to covid and whether any cases had fallen away because they could not be dealt with during the specified time period.
Members were informed that there were no outstanding disciplinary case as a consequence of covid and HR were also not aware of any cases which had fallen away due to time requirements.
RESOLVED – To accept the assurances of the Chief Officer Human Resources on the robustness of the Council’s employment policies and employee conduct.
To consider a report by the Chief Officer Financial Services which seeks approval of the 2020/21 Statement of Accounts and Grant Thornton Audit Report.
(Report attached, Appendix No.2 (ISA260 Audit report) to follow)
The Statement of Accounts will be circulated as a separate document
The Chief Officer Financial Services submitted a report which sought approval of the Council’s final Statement of Accounts and to consider any material amendments identified by the Council or recommended by the auditors.
Members were informed that Grant Thornton’s audit of the final accounts was nearing completion, and an interim report of their findings had been circulated separately. The main points included in the report were:
· Subject to completion of their remaining audit work, Grant Thornton anticipate being able to issue an unqualified opinion on the 2020/21 Statement of Accounts,
· There are expected to be no material unadjusted audit differences affecting the financial statements;
· An updated copy of the statement of accounts was published with this report. The accounts would be certified by the Chief Finance Officer as a true and fair view of the Council’s financial position as at 31st March 2021 prior to the Chair of the Committee being asked to certify them.
The Head of Finance reported that a number of amendments had been made to the Statement of Account following publication of the report to Committee and were detailed as follows:
· Pension Assets – The Council had received confirmation from the West Yorkshire Pension Fund that the increase to its share of the WYPF assets has increased by £42.8 m rather than the estimated adjustment of £32.5m. There would therefore be a further decrease of £10.3m in net pensions liabilities, with a corresponding change to the Pensions reserve
· Business Rates – The Council has re-assessed its appeals provision for business rates following clarification by the government limiting the ability for claims for a material change in circumstances due to covid. The bad debt position for business rates has also been reviewed in light of the better than expected collection rates during 2021/22. A revised NNDR3 form for 2020/21 was submitted to the government on 31st January. The impacts on the Statement of Accounts would be:
(i) A reduction of £3.7m in the Council’s share of the appeals provision
(ii) A reduction of £5.9m in the Council’s share of the bad debt provision
(iii) A reduction of £9m in the Council’s share of the deficit carried forward on the Collection Fund
(iv) An increase of £9m in the business rates income recognised in the Income and Expenditure account
(v) A reduction of £5.5m in the accrued Taxation Income Guarantee grant, with a corresponding reduction in earmarked reserves
(vi) An increase of £750k in the levy payable to the regional business rates pool, with a corresponding reduction in revenue reserves
Members were informed that a report would be brought back to Committee if any material considerations requiring amendments to the accounts were to arise during Grant Thornton’s remaining audit work, and therefore Committee were asked to confirm a course of action which would enable the Chair to sign off the accounts when complete if no such issues arose. Further, the Chief Officer Financial Services was not currently aware of anything to prevent the management representation letter from ... view the full minutes text for item 71.
To consider and approve the Committee’s Work Programme for the 2022 period.
The Chief Officer Financial Services submitted a report which set out the
proposed Work Programme for the remainder of 2022.
Referring to the new Work Programme for the 2022/23 Municipal year, the Chief Officer Financial Services invited Members to suggest any matters which could be included within the work programme. A similar invitation was made in respect of the Internal Audit Plan, Members to suggest any particular areas which should be included within the plan.
RESOLVED – The Work Programme and meeting dates be approved
Date and Time of Next Meeting
To note that the next meeting will take place on Friday, 25th March 2022 at 2.00pm in the Civic Hall, Leeds.
RESOLVED - To note that the next meeting will take place on Friday, 25th March 2022 at 2.00pm in the Civic Hall, Leeds.