Agenda and draft minutes

Accounts and Governance Committee
Thursday, 21st February, 2019 6.45 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Penrith

Contact: Members Services 

Items
No. Item

AGc/46/02/19

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Lynch, Councillor Raine attended as a substitute.

AGc/47/02/19

Minutes of Previous Meeting

To sign the public minutes AGc/36/11/18 to AGc/45/11/18 of the meeting of this Committee held on 29 November 2018 as a correct record of those proceedings (copies previously circulated).

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the public minutes AGc/36/11/18 to AGc/45/11/18 of the meeting of this Committee held on 29 November 2018 be signed by the Chairman and confirmed as a correct record of those proceedings.

AGc/48/02/19

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of the existence and nature of any private interests, both disclosable pecuniary and any other registrable interests, in any matter to be considered or being considered.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at this meeting.

AGc/49/02/19

External Audit Reports pdf icon PDF 701 KB

To consider report F11/19 of the Director of Finance which sets out two reports from the Council’s External Auditor, Grant Thornton.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the reports are noted.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Jamie Wright from Grant Thornton, Eden District Council’s External Auditors.

 

Members considered report 11/19  from the Director of Finance which set out two reports from the Council’s External Auditor, Grant Thornton.

 

Proposed by Councillor Taylor

Seconded by Councillor Orchard

 

and RESOLVED that the reports of the External Auditor be noted.

 

Mr Wright left the Chamber at 6.55pm

AGc/50/02/19

Internal Audit: Completed Reports and Progress against Annual Plan pdf icon PDF 1024 KB

To consider report F14/19 of the Director of Finance which seeks to advise Members of:

 

1.            The findings and recommendations of reports that have recently been completed by the Council’s Internal Audit Service.

 

2.            Progress against the agreed Annual Plan for 2018-2019.

 

RECOMMENDATION to note the content of the report.

Minutes:

Members considered report F14/19 from the Director of Finance which sought to advise Members of:

 

1.         the findings and recommendations of reports that have recently been completed by the Council’s Internal Audit Service; and

2.         progress against the agreed Annual Plan for 2018-2019.

Proposed by Councillor Jackson

Seconded by Councillor Godwin

 

and RESOLVED that:

1.            the Head of Revenue and Benefits be invited to provide the Committee with an update on any affects the introduction of Universal Credit is having on Eden District Council at its next formal meeting; and

 

2.            the report be noted.

AGc/51/02/19

Internal Audit: Implementation of Recommendations pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To consider report F13/19 of the Director of Finance which sets out progress on implementing the agreed recommendations from internal audit reports.

 

RECOMMENDATION that progress against the agreed recommendations is noted.

Minutes:

Members considered report F13/19 from the Director of Finance which sought to set out progress on implementing the agreed recommendations from internal audit reports.

 

Proposed by Councillor Orchard

Seconded by Councillor Jackson

 

and RESOLVED that:

 

1.            the Chief Executive be invited to present details of the governance arrangements for each element of the One Eden Project to this Committee at its next formal meeting; and

 

2.            progress against the agreed recommendations be noted.

AGc/52/02/19

External Review of the Council's Internal Audit Service pdf icon PDF 349 KB

To consider report F12/19 of the Assistant Director of Finance which seeks to present the findings of an external review of the Council’s Internal Audit Service.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the report from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) on the Internal Audit Service report is noted.

Minutes:

Members considered report F12/19 from the Assistant Director Finance which sought to present the findings of an external review of the Council’s Internal Audit Service.

 

Proposed by Councillor Raine

Seconded by Councillor  Orchard

 

and RESOLVED that the report from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) on the Internal Audit Service report be noted.

AGc/53/02/19

Review of the Effectiveness of the Accounts & Governance Committee pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider report F18/19 of the Assistant Director Finance which seeks to present the findings of an external review of the Accounts and Governance Committee.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS that:

 

1.            the report from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, titled Review of the Effectiveness of the Accounts and Governance Committee, as enclosed as Appendix A to the report be noted; and

 

2.            the recommendations as set out in the report be given further consideration by the panel that is currently reviewing the constitution.

 

Minutes:

Members considered report F18/19 from the Assistant Director Finance which sought to present the findings of an external review of the Accounts and Governance Committee.

 

Proposed by Councillor Kendall

Seconded by Councillor Orchard

 

and RESOLVED that:

 

1.            the report from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, titled Review of the Effectiveness of the Accounts and Governance Committee be noted;

 

2.            Members of the Committee provide written feedback to the panel that is currently reviewing the constitution; and

 

3.            the recommendations as set out in the report, together with feedback from Members be given further consideration by the panel that is currently reviewing the constitution.

AGc/54/02/19

Statement of Accounting Policies 2018-2019 pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To consider report F8/19 of the Director of Finance which asks Members to approve the Statement of Accounting Policies, which will be included in the Statement of Accounts for the 2018-2019 financial year.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the Statement of Accounting Policies, as set out in Appendix A, are approved as the basis for preparation of this year’s Statement of Accounts.

Minutes:

Members considered report F8/19 from the Assistant Director Finance which sought to ask Members to approve the Statement of Accounting Policies, which will be included in the Statement of Accounts for the 2018-2019 financial year.

 

Proposed by Councillor Greenwood

Seconded by Councillor Hogg

 

and RESOLVED that the Statement of Accounting Policies be approved as the basis for preparation of this year’s Statement of Accounts.

AGc/55/02/19

Internal Audit Annual Plan 2019-2020 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To consider report F15/19 of the Director of Finance which seeks approval for the Council’s Internal Audit Annual Plan for 2019-2020. Under the Council’s Constitution, approval of the Audit Plan rests with this Committee.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the Audit Plan for 2019-2020, attached at Appendix A, is agreed.

Minutes:

Members considered report F15/19 from the Director of Finance which sought approval for the Council’s Internal Audit Annual Plan for 2019-2020. Under the Council’s Constitution, approval of the Audit Plan rests with this Committee.

 

Proposed by Councillor Taylor

Seconded by Councillor Raine

 

and RESOLVED that the Audit Plan for 2019-2020 be agreed.

AGc/56/02/19

Setting of the Council Tax 2019-2020 pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To consider report F9/19 of the Director of Finance which is to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered report F9/19 from the Director of Finance which concerned the setting of Council Tax for the year 2019/2020. The Council had previously resolved to delegate this function to the Accounts and Governance Committee (report F32/11).

 

Proposed by Councillor Raine

Seconded by Councillor Hogg

 

and RESOLVED that the Council Tax be set as per the resolution attached at Appendix 1 to these minutes.

AGc/57/02/19

Review of the Constitution pdf icon PDF 341 KB

To consider report G25/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which seeks the views of the Accounts and Governance Committee on the proposed amendments to be made in the Constitution relating to the delegated officer planning decisions and the questioning of members of the public speaking at Planning Committee.

 

RECOMMENDATION that:

1.            Consideration be given to the recommended amendments to:

(1)       the scheme of delegation to the Deputy Director Technical Services as set out in Appendix 1 to the report; and

(2)       paragraph 13 of the Council’s Code of Planning Conduct and Practice.

2.            It be noted that the views of the Planning Committee and Accounts and Governance Committee will be presented to a future meeting of Council for a final decision on the proposed changes.

Minutes:

Members considered report G25/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which sought the views of the Accounts and Governance Committee on the proposed amendments to be made in the Constitution relating to the delegated officer planning decisions and the questioning of members of the public speaking at Planning Committee.

 

Representations and questions were received from Members of the Committee and from Councillor Eyles, Councillor, Holden, Councillor Sawrey-Cookson and Councillor Thompson under Rule 7 of the Committee Procedure Rules.

 

It was noted that:

a.            the recommendations arise from the Peer Review of the Planning Committee;

 

b.            there was support for the proposed changes to the Scheme of Delegation, with some reservations;

 

c.            there are concerns regarding restricting Member requests for an application to proceed to Planning Committee to the relevant Ward Member as neighbouring Wards may also be affected by the application;

 

d.            there are concerns that members of the public may not be aware of what constitutes a ‘valid planning reason’;

 

e.            Parish Councils have excellent local knowledge of their Ward;

 

f.             there are concerns that reducing the opportunity for Parish Councils to bring applications to the Planning Committee may make the process more remote from the publics perspective;

 

g.            Parish Council involvement may be the only way an applicant can have their application heard by the Planning Committee; Parish Councils could still bring applications before the Planning Committee if the presented a valid planning reason;

 

h.            Parish Councils often bring applications to the Planning Committee without attending the Planning Committee meeting this means that nothing has been added to the debate as their written objections are already considered by Officer and are included in the decision making process.  Parish Councils can’t be forced to attend Planning Committee meetings;

 

i.              Parish Councils can still request to speak at Planning Committee meetings;

 

j.              questioning speakers allows Members to clarify areas of concern, the five minutes given for representations may not be long enough for speakers to cover all their points;

 

k.            findings from the Peer Review noted that the questioning of speakers was not restricted to material planning considerations;

 

l.              the speakers can find the process daunting, being asked questions can be distressing;

 

m.           other District Councils in Cumbria and the surrounding Counties do not question speakers; and

 

n.            Members would be able to put questions to Officers.

 

Proposed by Councillor Orchard

Seconded by Councillor Godwin

 

and RESOLVED that the Constitution Review Working Group collate the views of the Accounts and Governance Committee and report back via email, prior to a formal response being submitted to Council on 11 April 2019.

 

Councillor Jackson left the Chamber at 8.39pm.

AGc/58/02/19

Protocol between the Monitoring Officers of Cumbria and the Cumbria Constabulary pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To consider report G10/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which requests noting of the protocol agreed between the Monitoring Officers of Cumbria and the Cumbria Constabulary for the reporting of potential criminal offences arising from the failure to register or declare disclosable pecuniary interests.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the report be received and the Protocol as attached at Appendix 1 be noted.

Minutes:

Members considered report G10/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which requested noting of the protocol agreed between the Monitoring Officers of Cumbria and the Cumbria Constabulary for the reporting of potential criminal offences arising from the failure to register or declare disclosable pecuniary interests.

 

Proposed by Councillor Taylor

Seconded by Councillor Hogg

 

and RESOLVED that the report be received and the Protocol be noted.

AGc/59/02/19

Protocol on the Monitoring Officer pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To consider report G19/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which seeks consideration of a Protocol on the Monitoring Officer. If the Protocol is approved by Committee it will, subject to Council approval, become part of the Constitution.

 

RECOMMENDATION that Council be recommended to approve the Protocol for on the Monitoring Officer attached as Appendix 1 to the report.

Minutes:

Members considered report G19/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which sought consideration of a Protocol on the Monitoring Officer. If the Protocol was approved by Committee it would, subject to Council approval, become part of the Constitution.

 

Proposed by Councillor Raine

Seconded by Councillor Greenwood

 

and RESOLVED that Council be recommended to approve the Protocol for on the Monitoring Officer.

AGc/60/02/19

Protocol on Member Officer Relations pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To consider report G20/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which enables consideration to be given to the proposed Eden District Council Protocol on Member Officer Relations.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the Protocol on Member Officer Relations attached to the report as Appendix 2 be approved for the purpose of a consultation with staff.

Minutes:

Members considered report G20/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which enabled consideration to be given to the proposed Eden District Council Protocol on Member Officer Relations.

 

Proposed by Councillor Raine

Seconded by Councillor Hogg

 

and RESOLVED that the Protocol on Member Officer Relations be approved for the purpose of a consultation with staff.

AGc/61/02/19

Employee Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider report G21/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which enables consideration to be given to the proposed Eden District Council Employee Code of Conduct.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS that:

 

1.            the Employee Code of Conduct attached to this report as Appendix 2 be approved for the purpose of a consultation with staff; and

 

2.            subject to such consultation the document be recommended to full Council for approval.

Minutes:

Members considered report G21/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which enabled consideration to be given to the proposed Eden District Council Employee Code of Conduct.

 

Proposed by Councillor Orchard

Seconded Councillor Taylor

 

and RESOLVED that:

 

1.            the Employee Code of Conduct be approved for the purpose of a consultation with staff; and

 

2.            subject to such consultation the document be recommended to full Council for approval.

AGc/62/02/19

Protocol for the Independent Persons pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To consider report G22/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which enables the Committee to consider endorsing a proposed Protocol for statutory Independent Persons.

 

RECOMMENDATION that Council be recommended to approve the Protocol for Independent Persons as attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

Minutes:

Members considered report G22/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which enabled the Committee to consider endorsing a proposed Protocol for statutory Independent Persons.

 

Proposed by Councillor Hogg

Seconded by Councillor Taylor

 

and RESOLVED that Council be recommended to approve the Protocol for Independent Persons.

AGc/63/02/19

Protocol for the Chairman of the Council pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider report G23/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which seeks to consider a Protocol for the Chairman of the Council. If the Protocol is approved by Committee it will, subject to Council approval, become part of the Constitution.

 

RECOMMENDATION that Council be recommended to approve the Protocol for the Chairman of the Council attached as Appendix 1 to the report.

Minutes:

Members considered report G23/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which sought to consider a Protocol for the Chairman of the Council. If the Protocol was approved by Committee it would, subject to Council approval, become part of the Constitution.

 

Proposed by Councillor Raine

Seconded by Councillor Godwin

 

and RESOLVED that Council be recommended to approve the Protocol for the Chairman of the Council

AGc/64/02/19

Request for Dispensation for Attendance pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To consider report G14/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which seeks to advise Members of a request for a dispensation to a Member who is currently unable to attend any Council meetings due to illness and ask them to endorse the request.

RECOMMENDATION that a dispensation be granted for Councillor Trevor Ladhams from attending meetings of the Council by reason of illness for his remaining term of office.

Minutes:

Members considered report G14/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which sought to advise Members of a request for a dispensation to a Member who is currently unable to attend any Council meetings due to illness and ask them to endorse the request.

 

Proposed by Councillor Orchard

Seconded by Councillor Kendall

 

and RESOLVED that a dispensation be granted for Councillor Trevor Ladhams from attending meetings of the Council by reason of illness for his remaining term of office.

AGc/65/02/19

Members' Attendance at Meetings and Training Events 2018-2019 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To consider report G26/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which seeks to advise the Committee of Members’ attendance at timetabled meetings of Council, Executive, Scrutiny Committees, Accounts and Governance Committee, Planning and Licensing Committees for the 2017-2018 municipal year to 1 February 2019 and for attendance at training events during 2018-2019.

RECOMMENDATIONS that:

1.         the report be noted;

2.         an annual percentage of attendance be set below which Members would be asked to provide a written explanation to the Committee; and

3.         Members consider what action to take, if any, regarding attendance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered report G26/19 of the Deputy Chief Executive which sought to advise the Committee of Members’ attendance at timetabled meetings of Council, Executive, Scrutiny Committees, Accounts and Governance Committee, Planning and Licensing Committees for the 2017-2018 municipal year to 1 February 2019 and for attendance at training events during 2018-2019.

 

Proposed by Councillor Raine

Seconded by Councillor Kendall

 

and RESOLVED that:

 

1.            the report be noted; and

 

2.            no further action be taken.

AGc/66/02/19

Any Other Items Which the Chairman Decides are Urgent

Minutes:

Members received a verbal update from the Assistant Director Governance regarding a timetable of Member training for the year 2019-2020.

 

Proposed by Councillor Connell

Seconded by Councillor Greenwood

 

and RESOLVED that a working group comprising: Councillor Kendall; Councillor Orchard and Councillor Raine be established to provide input into training proposals with a view to presenting a report to the Accounts and Governance Committee in April 2019.

AGc/67/02/19

Date of Next Scheduled Meeting

The next scheduled meeting of this Committee is 18 April 2019.

Minutes:

It was confirmed that the date of the next meeting of the Accounts and Governance Committee would be 18 April 2019.