Venue: Meeting Room Z, Fire and Police HQ, Eastleigh
Contact: Email: email@example.com
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr Corkery.
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.
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.
To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting held on 29 July 2022.
The minutes of the meeting of 29 July 2022 were reviewed and agreed.
In response to a Member’s question, the Chief Financial Officer explained the new risks which had been added to the Organisational Risk Register in relation to the cost of living (minute 48) were those relating to the impact on staff and the risks of changing behaviour of the public and its impact in terms of the incidents of fire.
The officer also confirmed that the work to write off the underpaid pension contributions relating to the specific historical pension contribution rate issue (minute 49) was underway.
Pursuant to Standing Order 19, to receive any deputations to this meeting.
There were no deputations for the meeting.
To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.
There were no formal announcements.
For the Committee to receive the External Auditor’s Audit Results Report for 2021/22
The Chief Financial Officer introduced her report (item number 6 in the minute book) on the External Auditor’s Audit Results report and explained that, although it had been hoped that the work to complete the audit of the Authority’s financial statements, there were some outstanding matters related to property valuations and that she wished to defer the item until after the audit work was complete at the Committee’s meeting in November.
The External Auditor assured the Committee that there would be no problem with completing the work required to sign off the accounts and meet the statutory deadline of 30 November 2022. He confirmed that the property valuation issue was resolvable and related to two buildings on one site.
The External Auditor gave an update on the audit work:
· Testing had been carried out on the brought forward balances from the Isle of Wight into the new Combined Authority with nothing to report. (page 24 of the report pack)
· Testing had been completed on misstatements due to fraud or error with nothing to report. (page 25 of the report pack)
· The Auditors were awaiting a response from the Pension Fund Auditors This was likely to be resolved soon and that there was nothing to report. (page 26 of the report pack).
The Committee thanked the Chief Financial Officer for her contribution and noted the smooth merger with the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.
The HIWFRA Standards and Governance Committee noted that the External Audit Results 2021/22 report would be presented at its meeting on 28 November 2022.
For the Committee to receive a report regarding the Annual Accounts for 2021/22
The Chief Financial Officer explained that as discussed during the previous item (item number 59 of these minutes), she was not asking the Committee to approve the accounts (item number 7 in the minute book) and that they would be presented at its November meeting. She explained that she did not want to risk having to make an adjustment to the accounts, if required by the Audit, which could potentially be for a value above her delegated authority.
Cllr Harrison proposed an amendment to the recommendation to defer the approval of the Statement of Accounts 2021/22 until the meeting of the HIWFRA Standards and Governance Committee on 28 November 2022.
Cllr Huggins seconded this amendment.
The Committee agreed that the approval of the Statement of Accounts 2021/22 would be deferred until the meeting of the Standards and Governance Committee on 28 November 2022.
For the Committee to receive a report on Fire Standards Progress
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Fire Officer (item number 8 in the minute book). The Head of Performance introduced the report which was to provide awareness of the National Fire Standards and the latest update on the Service’s alignment against the published Standards.
The following points were clarified to the Committee:
· A gap analysis was carried out for each Fire Standard when it was published, which identified actions required, including larger resource intensive pieces of work.
· To identify and adopt best practice, the team were involved in focus groups, used various IT tools and examined inspection reports.
The Deputy Chief Fire Officer reported that other Fire and Rescue Services had contacted HIWFRS as a leader in terms of how it was managing its approach.
The HIWFRA Standards and Committee noted the progress made towards compliance of HIWFRS with the Fire Standards.
The HIWFRA Standards and Governance Committee noted that future funding would be required to ensure compliance with National Operational Guidance; that there are ongoing resource requirements to provide assurance on progress for embedding the fire standards; and that there may also be future resource requirements for additional roles providing assurance in other critical areas.
For the Committee to receive a report on Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals
The Committee considered a report from the Chief Fire Officer (item 9 in the minute book) on the Service’s position on the eligibility for her Majesty the Late Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals. It had followed a deputation at the HIWFRA meeting in July on the exclusion of Control Room staff from the medal’s eligibility.
The Committee agreed that having read the report and the correspondence in the appendices, although it is regrettable and that Members empathise with the staff, the matter should be closed.
Members discussed and agreed that the rules had to be accepted, but that they wanted to record that they value the Fire Control staff as much as those who attend incidents.
The Deputy Chief Fire Officer agreed that the Fire Control function is critical, and the staff are absolutely valued.
The Committee suggested that a letter could be written by the Chairman of the Authority to the Fire Control Room staff explaining that they are valued, but that nothing further could be done on this occasion.
The HIWFRA Standards and Governance Committee noted the position regarding the eligibility of the Her Majesty the Late Queen Elizabeth the Second Platinum Jubilee Medals.
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 Paragraphs 3 and 5 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 reports.
Exempt Minute from the Previous Meeting
To approve the exempt minute from the meeting held on 29 July 2022.
The minutes were agreed without having the need to go into an exempt session.