Agenda and draft minutes

HFRA Standards and Governance Committee - Wednesday, 24th February, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Teams Meeting - Microsoft Teams

Contact: Email: members.services@hants.gov.uk 

Media

Items
No. Item

132.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence received.

Minutes:

All Members were present, and no apologies were noted.

133.

Declarations of Interest

To enable Members to disclose to the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest they may have in any matter on the agenda for the meeting, where that interest is not already entered in the Authority’s register of interests, and any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests in any such matter that Members may wish to disclose.

 

Minutes:

Members were mindful of their duty to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest they had in any matter on the agenda for the meeting, where that interest was not already in the Authority’s register of interests, and their ability to disclose any other personal interests in any such matter that they might have wished to disclose.

 

No interests were declared.

134.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on the 17 November 2020 were reviewed and agreed.

135.

Deputations

Pursuant to Standing Order 19, to receive any deputations to this meeting

 

Minutes:

There were no deputations for the meeting.

136.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.

Minutes:

The Chairman had no announcements to make, but welcomed Councillor Chris Carter, Chairman of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority, to the meeting.

137.

Internal Audit Progress Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To receive a report of the Chief Internal Auditor updating the Committee on the progress of internal audit work.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a regular report of the Chief Internal Auditor on the Internal Audit Progress Report 2020/21 (Item 6 in the Minute Book).

 

The report was introduced, and it was heard that good progress had been made, and with the exception of the final piece of follow-up work, all work had been scoped and started.  It was expected that all work would be completed in time for the annual audit opinion.  Members heard that the number of outstanding and overdue actions continued to reduce, and further detail on these would be presented in a report later on in the agenda. 

 

Members thanked the team for all their hard work, and in response to a Member question it was confirmed that completion of work was subject to officers remaining fit and well, but signs remained positive, and it was fully expected that work would be completed in time for the annual audit opinion.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the progress in delivering the internal audit plan for 2020/21 and the outcomes to date is noted by the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Standards and Governance Committee.

138.

Internal Audit Management Actions Progress Report pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To receive a report of the Chief Fire Officer providing an overview of the work to oversee the implementation of internal audit recommendations.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Chief Fire Officer on the progress of Internal Audit Management Actions (Item 7 in the Minute Book).  The report was introduced, and Members heard that since publication of the report, the outstanding management action in relation to procurement processes and the Sharepoint site had been completed and closed.  Attention was drawn to paragraph 7 of the report which highlighted the reduction in outstanding management actions from 15 to 8.  It was explained that those outstanding actions in relation to the new Combined Fire Authority (CFA) were on track for completion, and revised dates in relation to these actions were contingent on preparatory work for the new CFA.

 

In response to a Member question, the significant work in relation to the formation of the new CFA was highlighted and it was heard that in her new role, the newly appointed Deputy Chief Fire Officer would have oversight of outstanding CFA management actions over the next few months.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Standards and Governance Committee notes that, despite the impact of COVID-19, significant progress continues to be made towards the implementation of the internal audit management actions.

139.

Organisational Risk Register Update pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To receive a report of the Chief Fire Officer providing a regular update on the Organisational Risk Register.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Chief Fire Officer providing an update on the Organisational Risk Register (Item 8 in the Minute Book).

 

The report was introduced, and it was explained that this would be a regular report for the Committee to keep Members sighted on organisational risks.  It was heard that with the implementation of the risk management framework within the Service, there were two additional risk areas that had been added to the Risk Register.  Members attention was drawn to paragraphs 5 and 6 of the cover report which detailed the two additional risk areas: data quality issues and the McCloud pension remedy.  In relation to data quality issues, Members heard that there were a number of different activities taking place across the service to ensure the improvement of data quality, and there had been an increased focus on this across the Service.  It was explained that in the future, this risk area could be taken off the Risk Register as the Service works more holistically to address this issue.

 

In relation to the McCloud pension remedy, Members heard that the Government have chosen the deferred choice as a result of their recent consultation, and further details of the implications of this were explained to Members.  It was heard that the low score for this risk area on the Risk Register was due to a team already being in place to deal with the impacts of the remedy.

 

Officers explained the background to the high risk scores and red arrows on the Risk Register (page 41 of the agenda pack).  It was noted that once there was more certainty around high risks such as future financial planning uncertainty, then planning assumptions can be put into action.  Members heard that with the absence of a multi-year spending review from Government, the risk score for future financial planning uncertainty had been increased on the Risk Register. 

 

In response to a Member question on the risk area of Covid-19 related wellbeing and safety (page 41 of the agenda pack), it was explained that there should be three horizontal arrows on the chart for this issue and this would be updated.  In terms of this as an ongoing risk for the Service, it was heard that there was no significant change, but with the roll-out of the vaccination programme and testing, there had been a reduction in employee sickness and work was continuing with Occupational Health colleagues to ensure all employees who have had Covid were supported.

 

 

RESOLVED:

That Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Standards and Governance Committee notes the Organisational Risk Register status under the delegated management of the Chief Fire Officer.

140.

Independent Person to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Authority pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To consider a report of the Clerk regarding the appointment of an Independent Person or Persons to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Authority.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of The Clerk on the Independent Person to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Authority (Item 9 in the Minute Book).  The report was introduced, and Members of the Committee heard that a recruitment process had been undertaken since the last meeting of the Standards and Governance Committee. Two applications for the position of Independent Person were received, and in light of both candidates considerable experience and for greater resilience, members of the recruitment working group agreed that both candidates should be recommended to the Authority for appointment. 

 

Members also noted the information in the exempt appendix under Item 11 on the agenda when making their decision, and agreed that it was not necessary to go into exempt session to discuss the exempt information.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Standards and Governance Committee RECOMMEND to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Authority at its AGM in June 2021, the appointment of two Independent Persons, recommended by the working group and as detailed in the Exempt Appendix, for a four-year term with an allowance of £100 per annum each.

141.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To resolve that the public be excluded from the meeting during the following item of business, as it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during this item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information within Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, and further that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons set out in the report.

Minutes:

It was agreed that it was not necessary to go into exempt session.  Please see Minute No 140 above.

142.

Independent Person to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Authority (Exempt Appendix)

To consider an exempt appendix relating to agenda item 9.

Minutes:

It was agreed that it was not necessary to go into exempt session.  Please see Minute No 140 above.