Agenda and minutes

West Devon Audit Committee
Tuesday, 12th March, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Chamber - Kilworthy Park. View directions

Contact: Email: 

No. Item


Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 26 KB

Meeting held on 22 January 2019


* AC 34          

The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 22 January 2019 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.



Audit Progress Report and Sector Update pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Grant Thornton Report


* AC 35          

The External Auditor took Members through the report. Officers had been on site for 2 weeks looking at financial systems and the control environment and found delivery was on track. Concern was raised by Members that a decrease in audit fee could affect quality. The external audit partner confirmed that there would be no reduction or compromise on quality and the earlier deadlines would be achieved through working smarter and ongoing dialogue through the year. More work would also be carried out at the Interim Audit.


It was then RESOLVED that:


The report be noted 



Grant Thornton's External Audit Commitment pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Grant Thornton Report


* AC 36          

The External Auditor took Members through the External Audit Commitment. There were no questions or issues raised from Members.


It was then RESOLVED that:


The report was noted



Draft Budget Book 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Report of the Head of Finance Practice and Specialist - Accountant

Additional documents:


* AC 37          

Cllr Edmonds introduced the Draft Budget Book 2019/20. There was a 2% pay award on all salaries. Answering a Member question the S151 officer confirmed the £50,000 saving on public toilets was on the rural toilets and that an update report was going to be presented to Council on 26 March 2019 on both Okehampton and Tavistock toilets and some of the rural toilet provision.


A question was asked around the projected reduction of housing benefit payments (from £11.8m to £8.2m) and the S151 Officer confirmed that this was due to the projected reduction in housing benefit caseload from Universal Credit.


There was also a question asked about the cost of running Kilworthy Park and why the figure in the budget book of £289,000 was higher than the figure provided at the Informal Council meeting. The S151 Officer explained that the figure contained with the Budget Book included £42,000 for Capital Charges (which is akin to a notional depreciation charge for the building) and therefore the Budget Book figure was higher as the figure mentioned at Informal Council only included direct costs and not indirect (notional costs such as depreciation.


It was then RESOLVED that:


The content of the draft Budget Book was noted



Review of the Council's Constitution: Rules of Procedure, Members' Planning Code of Practice and Petition Scheme pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Report of the Specialist – Democratic Services

Additional documents:


  AC 38           

Cllr Edmonds introduced the review of the Council’s Constitution. It was confirmed that the report had previously been presented to the Audit Committee on 22 January 2019, but prior to presentation to Council it was confirmed that further revisions were required.

Those revisions had now been made and a revised set of Procedure Rules were attached as appendices. Members were generally supportive of the Procedure Rules, however there were queries raised regarding the Hub Committee Procedure Rules. Members discussed the working of the Hub Committee and the role of Hub Committee Members in more detail. It was then PROPOSED, SECONDED and on being put to the vote declared CARRIED, that an additional recommendation be included to request the Political Structures Working Group be convened to review the workings of the Hub Committee.



It was then RESOLVED that:


The Audit Committee RECOMMEND to council that:


1.      The amendments to Part 4 (Rules of Procedure) of the West Devon Borough Council’s Constitution (as summarised in paragraph 2.5 of the report and fully outlined at Appendix A) be approved and formally adopted;


2.      The draft Members’ Code of Good Practice – Planning (as attached at appendix B) be adopted;



3.      The amendment Rules for the Petition Scheme (as attached at appendix C); and;


4.      The Political Structures Working Group be convened with the following Terms of Reference:

a)     To review the roles of Hub Committee Members (paying particular attention to the circulation of information, and communication with wider membership)

b)     To assess the circumstances in which Informal Hub meetings take place in private

c)     To look at the involvement of non Hub Members in the deliberations of Hub Committee, (to include how to best make use of non members expertise)

d)     To review the extent of delegation to the Hub Committee




Devon Audit Partnership - Non-Voting Partner pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Report of the Strategic Finance Lead


  AC 39           

Cllr Edmonds introduced members to the report. It was confirmed that a recommendation would be made to Council to join the Devon Audit Partnership as a non-voting partner.


A discussion arose as to whether there would be a conflict of interest when the internal audit service was procured. It was agreed that the S151 officer would seek advice from the procurement officer and Monitoring officer.



It was then RESOLVED that:


Council be RECOMMENDED to:


1.      join the Devon Audit Partnership as a Non-voting partner from 1st April 2019 (or as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter); and


2.      delegate the details of the Service Legal Agreement (including terms of reference) to the Monitoring Officer and S151 Officer, in consultation with a Hub Committee Member for Support Services and the Chairman of the Audit Committee.



2019/20 Internal Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Report of the Audit Manager


*AC 40                        

The internal auditor presented the Internal Audit Plan to members. It was noted that Plymouth City Council paid for the audit of the Joint Local Plan. Use of Social Media by officers and members was being reviewed and whether the policies in place were being followed.


It was then RESOLVED that:


1.      the report was approved, and


2.      The proposed Internal Audit Plan for 2019/20 at Appendix A was approved




Update on Progress on the 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Report of the Audit Manager


* AC 41          

The internal auditor introduced the update on progress on the 2018/19 Internal Audit plan. No questions were raised.


It was then RESOLVED that:


The progress made against the 2018/19 internal audit plan, and any issues arising was approved.




Shared Services Methodology 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Report of the Head of Finance Practice

Additional documents:



Cllr Edmonds introduced the Shared Services Methodology 2018/19.


It was then RESOLVED that:


The Audit Committee noted the methodology of the shared services apportionment of costs between West Devon Borough Council and South Hams District Council, as attached in Appendix A



Strategic Risk & Opportunity Monitoring - Regular Update pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Report of the Strategic Finance Lean and Business Development Manager

Additional documents:



The S151 Officer took members through the report. Members thanked the finance team for their hard work


It was then RESOLVED that:


The Audit Committee reviewed the strategic risk & opportunity register (see Appendix 1a &b) and made recommendations to Council on any Further action the Committee concluded should be considered.