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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room B, Town Hall, Blackpool

Contact: Chris Williams  Democratic Governance Adviser

No. Item



Members are asked to declare any interests in the items under consideration and in doing so state:


(1) the type of interest concerned either a


(a)   personal interest

(b)   prejudicial interest

(c)    disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI)




(2) the nature of the interest concerned


If any member requires advice on declarations of interests, they are advised to contact the Head of Democratic Governance in advance of the meeting.


There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.



To agree the minutes of the last meeting of the Audit Committee held on 3 May 2018 as a true and correct record.


The Committee agreed that the minutes of the meeting held on 3 May 2018 be signed by the Chairman as a true and correct record.



To consider the controls being implemented to manage the strategic risk relating to change management.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the controls being implemented to manage the strategic risk related to change management.


Unfunded new burdens


Consideration was given first to the associated risk of unfunded new burdens. Ms Karen Smith, Director of Adult Services reported that in terms of mitigation, in addition to more general measures such as analysis of previous patterns and trends, the Transforming Care agenda was the primary tool designed to address adult complex needs and provide better outcomes at reduced cost to the Authority and partners. Through local steering groups and regional meetings, it was hoped that positive changes would continue to be made to the care system and result in needs being met in the community rather than relying on distant and expensive placements. The Committee noted that work was ongoing with partners to collectively meet unfunded needs, though it was acknowledged that any form of care provision involved an element of uncertainty.


With regards to implementing change, members of the Committee suggested that possibly a programme of championing change managers could be beneficial as a means of driving changes.  Following a question about how pilot programmes were evaluated in terms of their effectiveness and future suitability, Ms Smith advised that formal evaluation exercises were undertaken which would involve in-house evaluation along with those carried out by some academic institutions. From these evaluations, impact statements were often produced as a summary of how successful any given pilot programme had been.


Mrs Diane Booth, Director of Children’s Services reported that in order to address unfunded burdens within her department,  a piece of work entitled ‘journey of the child’ had begun with the primary aim of reducing the numbers of young people entering care and providing better support to those leaving care.  The plan centred round reducing demand for services, increasing the quality of existing provision, changing cultures and assessing sufficiency. A review of the current care cohort was underway and a complete review of sufficiency was expected to be completed this year.


Demand management was cited as a key element of the work and Mrs Booth suggested that partners also had a key role to play in supporting this. One of the challenges was the need for a gradual cultural shift to allow for greater flexibility and staff resilience which it was hoped would ultimately improve service delivery and affordability.


In response to further more general questions from the Committee regarding additional mitigation measures, Mrs Booth advised that less use of agency staff, better levels of management oversight and more in depth auditing of case work would all help to improve service effectiveness. In addition, it was reported that better working relationships with partners, use of external consultants and receipt of help and advice from regional neighbours would further help to ensure key risks continued to be mitigated. With reference to the results of the Dartington research designed to inform future service provision, it was noted that a tool had been developed to aid in forecasting the impact of strategic changes based  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.



To consider the Risk Services Quarter Four Report detailing the period of 1January to 31 March 2018.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the findings from the Risk Services Quarterly report.


In terms of service developments, Mrs Tracy Greenhalgh, Head of Audit and Risk reported that numerous internal audits were underway in quarter 4 2017/ 2018 which included, and were not limited to Public Protection, Council Tax collection, the Pupil Welfare Unit and Housing Benefit risk based verification. Details of the scope and final outcome of those reviews would be contained in the Risk Services quarterly report once the draft report had been agreed.


The Committee was informed that the corporate fraud team had been involved in a number of reactive fraud investigations during the quarter which had impacted on their capacity to focus on proactive work. The Fraud Prevention Charter had been formally signed off by the Corporate Leadership Team and it was intended that the document would allow the allocation of proactive work across agreed timescales. Following a question about Council Tax single person discount and how fraudulent claims were identified and dealt with, Mr Thompson reported that a national fraud initiative was in place to help with such matters in addition to the Council writing out to residents to request they notify the authority of any changes to their domestic situation.  It was acknowledged that there was still an element of reliance on residents reporting instances of suspected Council Tax fraud. Following questions about how far back investigations of fraud by individuals covered, it was confirmed that usually the three previous years would be looked at and penalties would be issued to those individuals who failed to inform the authority of changes in circumstances.


With reference to risk services performance indicators, the Committee questioned the percentage of risk registers revised and up to date at the end of the quarter which had slipped from 100% in Quarter 3 to an 89% completion rate in Quarter 4. Mrs Greenhalgh advised that changes to the organisational structure had largely led to the drop. Those outstanding risk registers included Adult services commissioning team, building cleansing, parking services, CCTV and security.


In response to a question about the completion of Ipool modules being included in Annual Individual Performance Appraisals (IPA’s) for staff, Mrs Greenhalgh indicated that Line Managers were held to account for this. In addition, Chief Officers were held to account for the rates of Ipool module completion within their directorates. Mr Towers added that the registering of interests among Council officers had greatly improved.


The Committee discussed emergency response volunteer workers and what incentives existed to increase retention of those individuals. Members were informed of the potential to operate a reward scheme and to involve Council owned companies more in recruitment and retention of volunteers.


Following consideration of the various internal audits outlined in the report, it was agreed that in addition to the inclusion of three tier level priority recommendations and management response information, in future it would be desirable to invite various Heads of Service to future meetings to discuss specific priority areas requiring improvement and what  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



To note the date and time of the next meeting of the Committee as 30 July 2018, commencing at 6pm.


The date and time of the next meeting of the Committee was noted as 30 July 2018 at 6pm in Committee Room A, Town Hall, Blackpool.