Basingstoke & Dean Borough Council Audit and Accounts Committee Meeting

Jan. 29, 2024, 6:30 p.m.

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This is a meeting of the Audit and Accounts Committee of Basingstoke & Dean Borough Council held on the 29th Jan 2024.

The last meeting of the Audit and Accounts Committee was on the 29th Jan 2024, and the next meeting will be 4th Mar 2024.

Meeting Status

Confirmed

Agenda Published

Yes

Decisions Published

No

Minutes Published

Yes

Meeting Location

Committee Rooms 1 & 2 - Deanes

Meeting Recordings

We know of no meeting recordings. If you know of one, let us know.

Agenda

Item Title Minutes
1 Apologies for absence and substitutions

Apologies were received from Councillor Gaskell.

2 Declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

3 Urgent matters

There were no urgent matters.

4 Minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2023 Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 27 November 2023

The minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2023 were confirmed by the Committee as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

5 External Investment Funds Monitoring as at 30 September 2023 External Investment Funds Monitoring as at 30 September 2023
Enc. 1 for External Investment Funds Monitoring as at 30 September 2023

The Chair introduced the report, which provided an update on the Council’s externally managed pooled fund investments.

 

Due to the confidential nature of the information to be discussed, the committee passed a resolution that, by virtue of paragraphs 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting.

 

Resolved: The Committee note the Pooled Funds Review.

6 Draft Treasury Management Strategy for 2024/25 Report

The Executive Director of Corporate Services and Assets introduced the report which presented the Committee with the draft Treasury Management Strategy 2023/24 that would be considered by the Council on 22 February 2024 and to inform the Committee of the proposed strategy.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments:

 

  • Several members felt that the third-party periodic independent assessment of the Council’s treasury management investment portfolio should occur more often than five years. There were several views about how frequent the independent assessment should be.
  • Commented that the timeline for the independent assessment should be as adaptable as possible based on the Council’s needs, to be reflected in the report to Council.
  • The Executive Director reminded the Committee that the wording in the report stated the review would take place ‘at least’ once every five years. She stated that she could recommend an independent assessment for the Committee to consider, and she determined the timing of the review.
  • It was recommended that the report to Council include that the Audit and Accounts Committee discuss an independent assessment of the Council’s treasury management portfolio on a yearly basis. If the Committee felt like an assessment was needed, it could be recommended to the Executive Director.
  • It was requested that a new independent assessment of the treasury management portfolio take place in the next financial year.
  • Clarified that the Committee did not have the authority to hire advisors.
  • The Chair highlighted that a truly independent appointment should require a proper segregation of duties. 
  • Highlighted the importance of strong financial regulations to ensure good financial governance for the Council.
  • Emphasised the need to monitor the Council’s approach to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment policies.
  • In relation to indirect ESG investments, there was concern about the words ‘seek to’, in the report in relation to the Council ensuring that fund managers had responsible investment policies.
  • The Executive Director explained that Arlingclose would provide a training event for the Committee before a future meeting.

·         It was requested that a relevant date be added to the Treasury Management Policy Objectives section of the report, and the wording of the objectives be amended to reflect the Section 151 Officer’s responsibility.

 

Resolved: The Committee note the contents of the report and provides its comments to Council.

 

7 Draft Capital Investment Strategy for 2024/25 Report

The Executive Director of Corporate Services and Assets introduced the report, which set out the draft Capital Investment Strategy for 2024/25 and the Investment Strategy (Non-Treasury) for 2024/25.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments:

 

  • Stated that the Investment Strategies chart, which set out how the Council’s investment strategies fit together, was useful.
  • Commented that the Council’s cash resources were forecast to fall from £124.43M to £31.52M by the end of 2027/28 and the effect it would have on the revenue position. The Executive Director stated that the Council had financed the capital programme through its existing resources as it was the cheapest way to fund the capital programme.
  • The Executive Director detailed that independent advice had been taken on how the Council would undergo its capital spend.
  • Stated that £11.92m spent on improvements to council-owned buildings needed to be more specific on how much had been spent on investment and operational property improvement.
  • Commented that the Capital Receipts and Income Estimates Table was not easy to understand.
  • Queried the Council’s use of the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB). The Executive Director detailed that the PWLB was an external borrowing mechanism, but the Council did not have access to the favourable PWLB rate unless the Property Investment Strategy changed.

 

Resolved: The Committee note the contents of the report.

8 Draft Annual Property Plan 2024/25 Appendix 1 Cabinet Report for Annual Property Plan 2024/25
Annex 1 for Cabinet Report for Annual Property Plan 2024/25
Annual Property Plan 2024/25

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Property introduced the report, which presented the Draft Annual Property Plan that would be reported to Cabinet on 6February 2024 and builds on the implementation of the Strategic Asset Management Plan 2022/2026.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments:

 

  • The Cabinet Member highlighted that the word ‘net’ in relation to income in the report, needed to be replaced with the word ‘gross’.
  • The rental forecast for 2024/25 number for ’£18.52M’ needed to be updated and replaced with the number ’£18.9M’.
  • It was clarified that the Council would support community organisations to find alternative accommodation, where possible, if it was looking to dispose of property.
  • Praised the officers for their hard work on the report.
  • Questioned if the number of anticipated lease renewals and rent reviews in 2024/25 was high. The Investment Portfolio Lead confirmed that it was not a particularly high or low number.
  • It was requested that a comment be made in the Cabinet report about enforcement of litter clearance on tenants on Council-owned land and to strengthen lease agreements to ensure enforcement. The Executive Director stated that this would be reviewed by Property Services with the Council’s enforcement officers where appropriate.
  • The Executive Director clarified that progress on property activity was reported and monitored at the Capital Programme Board.

 

Resolved: The Committee notes the report and provides its comments to Cabinet.

 

9 Viewing of Social Networking Sites Report

The Chair introduced the report, which provided members of the Committee with a summary of individuals’ social networking sites in an investigatory capacity for the period 14th July 2023 to 17th January 2024.

 

Resolved: The Committee note the contents of the report.

 

10 Audit and Accounts work programme Action Tracking Log
Audit and Accounts Work Programme

·         The Chair introduced the work programme and gave a brief overview of the items that would be included on the agenda for the upcoming meetings.

  • The Chair also introduced the list of actions from previous Committee meetings.
  • The Executive Director highlighted that there were many local authorities that had outstanding audits to be completed. She detailed that the Council’s external auditors, EY, would only be undertaking a limited external audit of the Council’s 22/23 position. It was also explained that the Council had new auditors on behalf of EY.
  • It was detailed that the External Audit- Audit Results Report would most likely not be presented at the March meeting.

·         Stated that there were a high number of scheduled items for the next meeting on March 4.

11 Exclusion of press and public
12 Confidential/exempt items for information

Meeting Attendees

Councillor Jo Slimin photo
Reserve
Vice-Chair of Standards and Community Environment and Partnerships Committee
Councillor Jo Slimin

Liberal Democrat

Not required

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Councillor Ronald Hussey photo
Committee Member
Councillor Ronald Hussey

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

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Councillor Andrew McCormick photo
Reserve
Chair of the Development Control Committee
Councillor Andrew McCormick

Labour and Co-Operative Party

Not required

Profile
Councillor Jacky Tustain photo
Committee Member
Leader of the Labour Group
Councillor Jacky Tustain

Labour

Present, as expected

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Councillor Sajish Tom photo
Committee Member
Councillor Sajish Tom

Labour

Present, as expected

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Councillor Stephanie Grant photo
Reserve
Councillor Stephanie Grant

Labour

Not required

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Councillor Sven Godesen photo
Reserve
Councillor Sven Godesen

Independent Member

Not required

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Councillor Graham Falconer photo
Vice-Chair
Vice-Chair of the Audit and Accounts Committee
Councillor Graham Falconer

Conservative

Present, as expected

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Councillor John Izett photo
Committee Member
Councillor John Izett

Conservative

Present, as expected

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Councillor Ken Rhatigan photo
Committee Member
Councillor Ken Rhatigan

Conservative

Present, as expected

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Councillor Laura Edwards photo
Reserve
Councillor Laura Edwards

Conservative

Not required

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Councillor Nicholas Robinson photo
Reserve
Vice-Chair of Development Control Committee
Councillor Nicholas Robinson

Conservative

Not required

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Councillor Paul Gaskell photo
Committee Member
Vice-Chair of the Audit and Accounts Committee
Councillor Paul Gaskell

Conservative

Apologies

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Councillor Richard Court photo
Reserve
Councillor Richard Court

Conservative

Not required

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Councillor Samir Kotecha photo
Reserve
Councillor Samir Kotecha

Conservative

Not required

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Councillor Chloe Ashfield photo
Reserve
Vice-Chair of the Economic Planning Housing Committee
Councillor Chloe Ashfield

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Not required

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Councillor Colin Phillimore photo
Committee Member
Councillor Colin Phillimore

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Paul Basham photo
Chair
Chair of the Audit and Accounts Committee
Councillor Paul Basham

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile
Committee Member
Richard Harbord (Co Opted Member of the Audit and Accounts Committee)

None

Present, as expected

Council Staff
Executive Director of Corporate Services and Assets
Sue Cuerden

None

Expected

Previous Committee Meetings

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29th Jan 2024 Audit and Accounts Committee

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27th Nov 2023 Audit and Accounts Committee

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25th Sep 2023 Audit and Accounts Committee

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31st Jul 2023 Audit and Accounts Committee

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19th Apr 2023 Audit and Accounts Committee (Cancelled)

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6th Mar 2023 Audit and Accounts Committee

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30th Jan 2023 Audit and Accounts Committee

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5th Dec 2022 Audit and Accounts Committee (Cancelled)

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28th Nov 2022 Audit and Accounts Committee

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26th Sep 2022 Audit and Accounts Committee

Future Committee Meetings

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4th Mar 2024 Audit and Accounts Committee

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24th Jun 2024 Audit and Accounts Committee

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30th Sep 2024 Audit and Accounts Committee

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25th Nov 2024 Audit and Accounts Committee

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27th Jan 2025 Audit and Accounts Committee

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24th Mar 2025 Audit and Accounts Committee

Source

This meeting detail is from Basingstoke & Dean Borough Council website