Your Councillors

Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

30 July 2019

 

Annual Governance Statement 2018-19

 

Final Decision-Maker

Audit Governance and Standards Committee

Lead Head of Service

Angela Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Lead Officer and Report Author

Angela Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Classification

Public

Wards affected

 

 

 

Executive Summary

 

Attached at Appendix A is the Annual Governance Statement for 2018-19. The

purpose of the Annual Governance Statement is to provide assurance on the

Councilís governance arrangements.

 

Purpose of Report

 

Decision

 

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

 

To approve the Annual Governance Statement for 2018-19.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Corporate Leadership Team

21 May 2019

Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

30 July 2019



Annual Governance Statement 2018-19

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

 

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

 

 

Impact on Corporate Priorities

Effective corporate governance arrangements

ensure the councilís priorities are understood and delivered

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

 

 

Cross Cutting Objectives

Effective corporate governance arrangements

ensure the councilís priorities are understood and delivered

 

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

 

 

Risk Management

Already covered in the risk section

 

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

 

 

Financial

The action plan may have resource implications.† These will be identified as projects come forward.

Section 151 Officer & Finance Team

 

 

Staffing

The action plan may have resource implications these will be identified as projects come forward

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

 

 

 

Legal

Section 6(1) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 requires all local authorities to:

a) conduct a review of the effectiveness of the system of internal control required by regulation 3; and

(b) prepare an annual governance statement;

Under the Councilís Constitution one of the functions of the Committee is to oversee the production of the Councilís Annual Governance Statement. The Annual Statement demonstrates measures are in place to ensure good governance arrangements which enable the Council to meet its statutory requirements.

Principal Solicitor, Corporate Governance

 

 

Privacy and Data Protection

Data protection is covered in the statement and action will continue into 2019-20

Policy and Information Team

 

 

Equalities

Effective corporate governance arrangements include behaving with integrity, demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values, and respecting rule of law as set out in the code of corporate governance.

Policy & Information Manager

 

 

Public Health

 

 

We recognise that the recommendations will not negatively impact on population health or that of individuals.

 

Public Health Officer

 

 

Crime and Disorder

No implications.

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

 

 

Procurement

No implications.

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

 

 

 

 

2.       INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1†† Each year the Council reviews its governance arrangements to ensure ††††††††† compliance with the Local Code of Corporate Governance. The purpose of

the review is to provide assurance that governance arrangements are

adequate and operating effectively and to identify action which is planned

to ensure effective governance in the future. The outcome of the review

takes the form of an Annual Governance Statement (AGS) prepared on

behalf of the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive.

 

2.2†† Overall, we can confirm that the council has the appropriate systems and processes in place and we do not consider there are any significant governance issues arising from the review. Whilst we are satisfied the arrangements work well our review has identified actions to ensure good standards of governance are maintained. Updates on the actions will be provided to the Audit Governance and Standards Committee on a six monthly basis and kept under review by the internal Corporate Governance Group.

 

2.3     Areas for Improvement 2019-20

 

Key improvement area

Lead Officer

To be delivered by

Ensuring sufficient resource to deliver the ambition for embracing growth and enabling infrastructure priority (link to Corporate Risk Register)

 

Director of Regeneration and Place

1 March 2020

Ensuring there is protection against bribery and corruption.

 

Monitoring Officer

As identified in Audit report

Capacity to deliver the investment and regeneration programme Ė (link to Corporate Risk Register)

 

Director of Regeneration and Place

 

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

1 March 2020

Property Maintenance, Health and Safety Compliance

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

1 March 2020

Governance for Maidstone Property Holdings

 

 

Chief Executive

1 March 2020

Contract Management

 

Director of Finance and Business and Improvement

 

1 November 2019

Partner Relationships

 

Chief Executive

 

1 November 2019

2.4     A number of improvements actions were identified as part of the 2017-18 Annual Governance Statement

 

The table below shows progress with these actions:

 

Governance Issue

Update

Develop a clear and consistent strategic narrative with agreed vision and priorities

Strategic Plan Vision, Outcomes and Objectives were agreed in December 2018.

 

New strategic Plan adopted

Audit Reviews with weak assurance:

      Accounts receivable (focussed on debt recovery)

      Procurement (focussed on small to medium contracts)

      Land charges (focussed on controls between partner authorities)

These audit reviews have now been rated as sound following implementation of agreed remedial action.

Stress Survey

Actions:

         Presentation of results to Unit Managers and Staff Forum.

         Team Talks delivered on the stress survey results and actions and appropriate behaviour.

         Training for managers on managing resilience in teams

         Well-being week and activities held

Risks:

 

Housing Pressures Continue to Increase

 

Project Failure Ė failure of significant capital projects of a housing and regeneration nature

 

Financial Restrictions

 

Data Protection Compliance

 

Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance

 

 

 

CLT receive a monthly update on the service.

 

 

Projects approved and managed

 

 

 

 

MTFS Adopted

 

Action plan has been progressed

 

Project has been completed and council is PCI compliant.

 

 

 

3         AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1     The Annual Governance Statement is a requirement of statutory regulations and provides assurance about the Councilís governance arrangements.

 

3.2     The Committee can approve the Annual Governance Statement as it has been presented or make amendments as appropriate.

 

 

 

4         PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1†† The Committee is asked to review the Annual Governance Statement and

†action plan and approve the areas suggested for improvement for 2019-20.

 

 

5         RISK

 

5.1 † The Annual Governance Statement considers and gives assurance to the

†††††† Councilís approach to risk management.

 

 

 

 

6         CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

6.1     Members of Corporate Leadership Team and the Corporate Governance working Group have all been consulted on the councilís governance arrangements for 2018-19, the views gathered have been included in the statement.

 

 

7         NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1     Following the Audit, Governance and Standards Committeeís approval the statement will be included in the final statement of accounts and published on the Councilís website.

 

 

8         REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

                    Appendix A: Annual Governance Statement 2018-19

 

 

9         BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None.