Agenda and draft minutes

Audit Committee - Thursday, 26th May, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Chute Room, EII South, The Castle, Winchester

Contact: Members Services 

Items
No. Item

54.

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Keith House, Mark Kemp-Gee, Rob Mocatta and Andy Tree. Councillor Juliet Henderson was in attendance as the Conservative substitute.

55.

Declarations of Interest

All Members who believe they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting must declare that interest and, having regard to Part 3 Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members’ Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code.  Furthermore all Members with a Personal Interest in a matter being considered at the meeting should consider, having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 4 of the Code, whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 5 of the Code, consider whether it is appropriate to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.

 

Minutes:

Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter considered at the meeting they must declare that interest at the time of the relevant debate and, having regard to the circumstances described in Part 3, Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members' Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Non-Pecuniary interest in a matter being considered at the meeting they considered whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 2 of the Code, considered whether it was appropriate to leave the meeting whilst the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.

 

 

56.

Minutes of previous meeting held on 3 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 3 March 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

57.

Deputations

To receive any deputations notified under Standing Order 12.

Minutes:

No deputations were received by the Committee on this occasion.

58.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.

Minutes:

There were no announcements.

59.

Information Compliance - Use of Regulated Investigatory Powers pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To receive the quarterly update on the County Council’s use of regulated investigatory powers.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Executive regarding the County Council’s use of regulated investigatory powers.

 

Members heard that surveillance powers had not been used during the previous quarter.

 

Members questioned why powers had not been used during the previous three quarters. It was heard that powers were only used where their use would be proportionate and necessary to prevent and detect criminal activity. In order to satisfy themselves that powers were being used appropriately the Committee requested that details of the number of instances where the use of surveillance powers had been considered, and the decision taken not to use them, be included in the annual report to be presented at the next meeting of the Audit Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Audit Committee receives and notes the data regarding the County Council’s use of surveillance powers.

60.

External Audit Planning Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To receive the external audit planning reports for both Hampshire County Council and the Hampshire Pension Fund for the year ending 31 March 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the annual audit planning report for 2021/22 from the external auditors. Members heard that:

 

·         There had been no significant change in the level of risk or focus identified from the previous year. A slight change was proposed to be taken in relation to auditing value for money, following the identification of an enhanced risk relating to the impact of Covid-19 on medium term financial planning.

·         A new risk had been introduced in relation to infrastructure assets, which had been identified nationally as a developing risk area when roads were deregistered by local authorities. In response to Members questions it was heard that this was not a concern identified within Hampshire, and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) had instructed a task force to provide some clarity on appropriate audit approaches. Members challenged why public money was being spent on auditing this area when, as the road network was not an asset which could be sold, it made no tangible difference to the financial standing of the County Council, through which Members heard it was necessary to ensure that assets were correctly presented on the balance sheet.

·         In response to Members questions it was heard the effect of climate-related matters on financial statements was considered to be low risk and the auditors would look at any pledges by the County Council and Hampshire Pension Fund to reduce environmental impact and consider how progress against such pledges was being monitored and the potential impact on the Council’s finances.

·         A question was raised regarding audit risks outlined around inappropriate capitalisation of revenue expenditure and misstatements due to fraud or error. It was heard that this was a mandated audit requirement, and was considered to be a more significant risk in the private sector.

·         Materiality had been set 1.8% of gross expenditure, consistent with the approach taken in previous years.

·         The Audit timetable had been agreed with the Director of Corporate Operations, with the expectation that the Statement of Accounts would be signed off by the end of September, ahead of November deadline.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Audit Committee receives and notes the Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Pension Fund Audit Planning Reports for 2021/22.

61.

Minutes of the Hampshire Pension Fund Panel and Board Meeting - 10 December 2021 (Public) pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To receive the public minutes of the Hampshire Pension Fund Panel and Board meeting held on 10 December 2021.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received and noted the public minutes of the Hampshire Pension Fund and Board meeting held on 10 December 2021.

 

62.

Exclusion of the 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 Paragraphs 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, and further that in all the circumstances of the cases, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons set out in the exempt minutes.

Minutes:

The press and public were excluded from the meeting during the following items of business, as it was 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 these items there would have been disclosure to them of exempt information within Paragraphs 3 and 5 of Part I 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 outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons set out in the minutes.

 

63.

Minutes of the Hampshire Pension Fund Panel and Board Meeting - 10 December 2021 (Exempt)

To receive the exempt minutes of the Hampshire Pension Fund Panel and Board meeting held on 10 December 2021.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received and noted the exempt minutes of the Hampshire Pension Fund and Board meeting held on 10 December 2021.