Agenda and minutes

Audit and Standards Committee - Monday, 9th March, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Blaydon Room - Civic Centre

Contact: Helen Conway- Tel: 0191 433 3993 - Email: 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 303 KB

The Committee is asked to approve, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on



The minutes of the last meeting held on 27 January 2020 were approved as a correct record.



Declarations of Interest

Members of the Committee are invited to declare interests in any agenda items.


There were no declarations of interest.


Audit and Standards Committee Work Programme 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 123 KB

The Committee is invited to review and note the current work programme.



That the Committee’s work programme for 2019/20 be noted



External Auditor: Audit Strategy Memorandum Year Ending 31 March 2020 pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Resources and Digital

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report outlining the external auditors’ Audit Strategy Memorandum for the year ended 31 March 2020.


The report set out details on:-

·         A summary of the engagement and responsibilities

·         The audit engagement team

·         Audit scope, approach and timelines

·         Significant risks and key judgements areas

·         Value for Money

·         Fees for audit and other services

·         Commitment to independence; and

·         Materiality and misstatements


Key areas of risk were identified as:

Management override of control

·         Revenue recognition (miscellaneous income only) for Council only

·         Defined benefit liability valuation

·         Property, plant and equipment valuation for Council only


The external auditor’s report was also appended to the main report for information



That the contents of the external auditor’s Audit Strategy Memorandum was noted.




Annual Governance Statement 2019/20 - Assurance Framework pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Report of the Strategci Director, Resources and Digital


The Committee received a report which provided an overview of the work to be undertaken to produce the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) for 2019/20 which demonstrates the level of assurance that can be given by the Council’s control systems and governance arrangements.


The assurance framework supports the AGS and provides councillors with information on the Council’s control environment and governance arrangements. It maps the Council’s strategic objectives to risks and controls and seeks assurance from a number of sources of Council activity.


The process of preparing the AGS should itself add value to the effectiveness of the Governance Assurance Framework. The assurance process will demonstrate four aspects:


·         Identify – what do we want assurance on?

·         Assess – what are the sources of assurance?

·         Review – how is assurance validated?

·         Act – what are the opportunities to improve?


The Committee were advised that in preparing the governance statement it will be necessary to review evidence from the following sources which together form the assurance framework:


·         Governance arrangements

·         Councillors

·         Senior Managers

·         The system of internal audit

·         Risk management arrangements

·         Counter Fraud arrangements

·         Performance management and data quality

·         Views of the external auditor and other external inspectorates

·         The legal and regulatory framework

·         Financial controls

·         Partnership arrangements and governance

·         Other sources of assurance


The Committee were advised that the Council has a Local Code of Governance, which was originally presented to the Audit and Standards Committee in April 2007.


This was last update and agreed by the Audit and Standards Committee on 27 January 2020. This Code defines how the Council complies the principals of good governance as set out in the Local Code of Governance developed by CIPFA, Delivering Good Governance in Local Government: Framework. The principles of good governance in the framework are:


·         Behaving with integrity

·         Ensuring openness and comprehensive engagement

·         Defining sustainable outcomes

·         Determining interventions

·         Developing capacity

·         Managing risks and performance

·         Implementing good practice in transparency


A corporate group, chaired by the Strategic Director, Resources and Digital will use the findings of the above sources of assurance to form a view on the adequacy of the Council’s overall internal control and governance arrangements.


Using evidence from this assessment the Group will prepare the AGS for 2019/20 for approval by the Audit and Standards Committee in June 2020. This will then accompany the Statement of Accounts for 2019/20.



That the Assurance Framework as set out in the report was agreed




Treasury Policy Statement and Treasury Strategy 2020/21 to 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 759 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Resources and Digital


The Committee received a report which reviewed the proposed Treasury Policy Statement and Treasury Strategy for 2020/21 to 2024/25 prior to consideration by Cabinet.


The Committee were advised that in order for the Strategic Director, Resources and Digital to exercise his delegated powers, the Council agrees a five-year Treasury Management Policy and Treasury Strategy which is reviewed at the start of each financial year.


The Treasury Policy and Treasury Strategy have been prepared considering the Local Government Act 2003, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Guidance on Local Government Investments, CIPFA’s Prudential Code for Capital and CIPFA’s Code of Practice on Treasury Management (2017).


The Committee reviewed the Treasury Policy and Treasury Strategy as appended to the main report, this ensuring that the Council fully complies with the requirements of good financial practice in Treasury Management.




That the information be noted



That the Treasury Policy and the Treasury Strategy be agreed and submitted to Cabinet for consideration.



Date and time of next meeting

Monday 27 April 2020 at 10.00 am in the Blaydon Room, Civic Centre


The next meeting will be held on Monday 27 April 2020 at 10.00 am in the Blaydon Room.