Agenda and minutes

Governance and Audit Committee - Thursday, 27th January, 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Ernest Saville Room - City Hall, Bradford. View directions

Items
No. Item

38.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)

 

To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

Notes:

 

(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

 

(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.

 

(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.

 

Minutes:

No disclosures of interest in matters under consideration were received.

 

39.

MINUTES

Recommended –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2021 be signed as a correct record (previously circulated).

 

(Fatima Butt – 01274 432227)

Minutes:

Resolved-

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2021 be signed as a correct record.

40.

INSPECTION OF REPORTS AND BACKGROUND PAPERS

(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)

 

Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 

 

Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 

 

If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 

 

Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 

 

(Fatima Butt - 01274 432227)

 

Minutes:

There were no appeals submitted by the public to review decisions to restrict documents.

41.

REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT 2000 (RIPA 2000) - LEVEL OF USE (QUARTERLY UPDATE) pdf icon PDF 134 KB

The City Solicitor will submit Document “W” which provides information relating to:

·         The number of authorised and approved covert surveillance operations (Nil return) undertaken by the Councils criminal investigation teams for the first two quarters of 2021.

·         The arrangements for training to be presented to officers of the Council in 2022.

·         Investigatory Powers Commissioners Office guidance June 2021 which required a review of the Councils RIPA policy.

·         The use of the Councils CCTV equipment by the Police or Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for covert surveillance.

·         A summary of the responses from Departments to the RIPA questionnaire issued by the Councils RIPA Coordinator and Monitoring Officer in December 2021.

 

Recommended-

 

(1)     That the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)   That the Councils continued compliance with RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) as coordinated and monitored by the Councils RIPA Coordinator and Monitoring Officer and the Senior Responsible Officer be noted.

 

(3)    That the RIPA training arranged be noted.

 

(4)    That the Investigatory Powers Commissioners Office advice

         regarding the Human Rights Act 1998 process as implemented by

         the RIPA Coordinator and Monitoring Officer be noted.

 

                                                            (Richard Winter – 01274 434292)

 

Minutes:

The City Solicitor submitted Document “W” which provided information relating to:

·         The number of authorised and approved covert surveillance operations (nil return) undertaken by the Councils criminal investigation teams for the last two quarters of 2021.

·         The arrangements for training to be presented to officers of the Council in 2022.

·         Investigatory Powers Commissioners Office guidance June 2021 which required a review of the Councils RIPA policy.

·         The use of the Councils CCTV equipment by the Police or Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for covert surveillance.

·         A summary of the responses from Departments to the RIPA questionnaire issued by the Councils RIPA Coordinator and Monitoring Officer in December 2021.

 

It was reported that the returns for Quarter 1 (1st January to 31st March 2021), Quarter 2 (1st April to 30th June 2021), Quarter 3 (1st July to 30th September 2021) and Quarter 4 (1st October to 31st December 2021) was a nil return  which indicated that the enforcement team’s criminal investigators were able to obtain evidence without the need for covert surveillance. Where not applicable appears (N/A) the criminal offences investigated by the service did not fall within the definition of a serious criminal offence defined under RIPA 2000 namely carrying a penalty of more than six months’ imprisonment. Covert surveillance of such none serious crimes could not be authorised under RIPA.

 

Members were informed that the responses to the December 2021 questionnaire to officers indicated that they were sufficiently aware of the regulatory regime to avoid unauthorised covert surveillance.

 

Clarification was sought on covert surveillance which could be undertaken under the Human Rights Act 1998.

 

In response to a Members question it was reported that future reports would include information on any applications made under the Human Rights Act 1998.

 

The Chair and Members of the Committee thanked the RIPA Coordinator and Monitoring Officer who would be retiring in the near future and wished him all the best for the future.

 

Resolved-

 

(1)          That the contents of the report be noted.

(2)    That the Councils continued compliance with RIPA (Regulation of         Investigatory Powers Act) as coordinated and monitored by the Councils RIPA Coordinator and Monitoring Officer and the Senior Responsible Officer be noted.

 

 

 

(3)    That the RIPA training arranged be noted.

 

(4)    That the Investigatory Powers Commissioners Office advice

         regarding the Human Rights Act 1998 process as

         implemented by the RIPA Coordinator and Monitoring

         Officer be noted.

 

Action:  City Solicitor

 

                                                           

42.

ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT 2020-21 REVIEW pdf icon PDF 127 KB

The Director of Finance and IT will submit Document “X” which provides an update on the progress and improvements being made in addressing those significant governance concerns reported in the Council’s Annual Governance Statement 2020-2021.

 

The Annual Governance Statement was formally reviewed and approved by the Governance and Audit Committee at its meeting on the 23rd September 2021.

 

Recommended-

 

(1)          That the information contained in Document “X” and the progress made in addressing the significant governance challenges be reviewed.

 

(2)          That the further actions planned detailed in Document “X” be endorsed.

 

(3)          That officers and Members be alerted to any emerging governance concerns requiring review during the 2021-22 process.

 

 

(Chris Chapman – 01274 433656)

 

 

Minutes:

The Director of Finance and IT submitted Document “X” which provided an update on the progress and improvements being made in addressing those significant governance concerns reported in the Council’s Annual Governance Statement 2020-2021.

 

The Annual Governance Statement was formally reviewed and approved by the Governance and Audit Committee at its meeting on the 23rd September 2021.

 

Members sought further clarification on various aspects of the Annual Governance Statement.

 

It was acknowledged that other developments in relation to Children’s Services had taken place since the report was written. Members had a discussion on the impact of the recent findings from the Bradford Council’s Children’s Services Commissioner.

 

Resolved-

 

(1)          That the information contained in Document “X” and the

           progress made in addressing the significant governance and in

           some cases increasing governance challenges be reviewed.

 

(2)          That the further actions planned and detailed in Document “X”

           be endorsed.

 

(3)          That officers and Members be alerted to any emerging

           governance concerns requiring review during the 2021-22

           process.

 

Action:  Director of Finance and IT

 

 

43.

APPOINTMENT OF EXTERNAL AUDITORS FOR STATUTORY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Members are reminded that the Council previously took a decision to opt into

the national Local Government Association led approach (via the Public

Sector Audit Appointments Ltd) for the procurement of local authority external

auditors for the 5-year period April 2018 through to March 2023. 

 

The council now needs to consider the options available for the appointment

of the external auditor for the 2023/24 statement of accounts, with a need to

appoint an auditor by the end of December 2022. 

 

In September 2021, the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA) wrote

to local authorities to issue a formal invitation to opt into the national sector-

led approach for the 5-year period from April 2023.   The Director of Finance

and IT will submit Document “Y” which therefore sets out the options

available to the council for the appointment external auditor.

 

Recommended-

 

That the Committee recommends option 3 (opt into the national auditor

appointment scheme) to Council as the preferred option and that the

recommendation be included within the reports to Budget Council in

February 2022.

 

                                                (Rachel Gledhill-Moseley - 07966 307065)

 

 

Minutes:

Members are reminded that the Council previously took a decision to

opt into the national Local Government Association led approach (via

the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd) for the procurement of local

authority external auditors for the 5-year period April 2018 through to

March 2023.

 

The council now needs to consider the options available for the

appointment of the external auditor for the 2023/24 statement of

accounts, with a need to appoint an auditor by the end of December

2022. 

 

In September 2021, the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA)

wrote to local authorities to issue a formal invitation to opt into the

national sector-led approach for the 5-year period from April 2023. 

 

The Director of Finance and IT submitted Document “Y” which

therefore set out the options available to the council for the

appointment of an external auditor.

 

Resolved-

 

That the Committee recommends option 3 (opt into the national

auditor appointment scheme) to Council as the preferred option

and that the recommendation be included within the reports to

Budget Council in February 2022.

 

Action:  Chris Chapman