To review the results of the review of the Council’s Local Code of Governance and to update on the progress in implementing the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) action plan.
The review of the Local Code of Governance was presented by the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer).
Under the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015, the Council was required to review the effectiveness of the system of internal control annually and report this through an Annual Governance Statement. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA’s) governance framework for local authorities constituted proper practice and was to be applied for financial years from 1 April 2016 onwards.
The Local Code was approved in December 2018 and Annual Governance Statement were prepared under the new framework and included recommendations from the Council’s internal auditor’s review of the Local Code in 2017/18. The Code was reviewed in December 2019 and no substantive amendments were made. Internal Audit had begun carrying out a review of the Local Code from which the results of the testing had been used to inform this review.
The Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 officer) informed Members of a number of new documents, including the CIPFA Financial Management Code and Lessons from recent Public Interest Reports 2021, which had been published by Grant Thornton, which set out new areas of good practice and highlighted the need to review any changes to arrangements as a result of Covid-19.
As a result of these documents, it was proposed that the Local Code is updated to include emphasis on the inclusion of ethics in consideration of the organisation’s values and add a new requirement at C14 in Appendix 1 to the report to ensure that the Council fully complies with the requirements of the CIPFA Financial Management Code.
An action plan to address areas for improvements in the Council’s governance arrangements was presented as part of the preparation of the 2019/20 Annual Governance Statement which had been presented to Audit Committee in September 2020. The Finance Lead Specialist informed Members that Appendix 5 gave an update on the progress against the various actions.
No Member having raised any concern when asked by the Chairman, it was
RESOLVED – That:-
(1) the amended Local Code of Governance, as at Appendix 1, be recommended to full Council for approval; and
(2) the progress in implementing the Annual Governance Statement Action Plan, as at Appendix 5 be noted.