Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room One, County Offices, Newland, Lincoln LN1 1YL

Contact: Rachel Wilson  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor P E Coupland.


Declaration of Members' Interests


There were no declarations of interest at this point in the meeting.


Minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2017 pdf icon PDF 134 KB


It was noted, during consideration of the minutes that the Chairman had met with the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive since the last meeting to raise the Committee's concerns regarding payroll.




            That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2017 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.



Combined Assurance Status Reports pdf icon PDF 277 KB

(To receive a report which provides the Committee with insight on the assurances across all of the Councils critical services, key risk, partnerships and projects.  The Corporate Management Team will be in attendance to update on their combined assurance reports for each directorate)

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to a report which provided the Audit Committee with an insight on the assurances across all the Council's critical services, key risks and projects.


The Chief Executive and the Executive Directors were in attendance to present their Combined Assurance report and answer any questions from members of the Committee.


Update by the Chief Executive


The Chief Executive thanked the Committee for the opportunity to come and talk about where the authority was and its future direction.  Services continued to perform substantially above the national average.  However, there were no established measures to determine whether the council as a whole was good or bad, other than those from inspectorates or benchmarking information.  The three main areas which had been identified as continuing to operate at a better standard than other authorities were Children's Services, Adult Social Care and Highways and Transport.  It was noted that the authority was delivering above average services for below average costs.


In terms of finances, the Council remained in a sound position for the current day and age.  It was reported there were some local authorities on the point of insolvency.  Lincolnshire was not one of them.  County councils such as Lincolnshire were at a significant disadvantage in the way that they were financed when compared to some other authorities.


The Council was further behind in its IT infrastructure than was expected by this point.  When the authority entered into the support services contract it was the intention to be ahead of the game in IT services.  The current position was a very disappointing place to be.  However, there was a glimmer of hope in that as the authority was so far behind, and as IT developments moved so fast, there may be the possibility of 'leapfrogging' some of the difficulties with current technology and begin again from a more advanced position in terms of business operations, equipment and software systems.


There were general difficulties faced by local government as a whole, and it was commented that it was not thought that there was a vision in government of what role local government played, and it would remain a troubled sector.


In terms of planning for tomorrow, there were specific difficulties, such as the NHS in this County which was in a desperate state as standards and quality of care had deteriorated in large parts of the county as financial difficulties escalated.  It was highlighted that the authority was very good at providing assistance to health colleagues, for example with delayed transfers of care (DToC), but there was a troubled interface with the NHS, which could affect things for a while.  From a management point of view, there had been regular engagement with the NHS.


How the Council worked with the private sector was changing, and work with the private sector would continue but it would not be on the same scale in the future.  The capability of large private sector companies to carry out public service contracts was reducing.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


External Audit Progress Report

(To receive a progress report from KPMG, the Council's external auditors)

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to a report from KPMG, the County Council's external Auditors, which gave an update on the 2017/18 deliverables.


Members were guided through the main sections of the report and were advised that there were no changes to the Code of Audit Practice, and the main difference to previous years, was the bringing forward of the deadline for the draft accounts to 31 May 2018, and the final signed accounts by 31 July 2018.


The Committee noted the revised deadline for the accounts, and also requested whether written assurances could be sought for Clare Pickering who was taking over the role of Audit Assistant and 'In Charge' role, she would be able to carry out this work.




            That the progress report and comments made be noted.




Internal Audit Progress Report pdf icon PDF 31 KB

(To receive a report from Lucy Pledge, Audit and Risk Manager, which provides the Committee with details of the audit work during the period 1 September to 31 December 2017 and advises on progress with the 2017/18 plan)

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to a report which provided details of the audit work undertaken during the period 1 September and 31 December 2017, as well as advising on the progress with the 2017/18 audit plan.


Members were advised that 20 final audit reports had been issued, with 16 being given high or substantial assurance.  Three audits were issued with limited assurance and the full executive summaries were available in Appendix 2 of the report.  It was reported that representatives from the service areas would be in attendance to give members updates on what actions had been taken to address the concerns highlighted in the audits.


It was also noted that one consultancy assignment had been completed, and a further 9 audits had been completed to draft stage. 


Officers reported that performance against targets was showing significant improvements.  It was also noted that there had been some changes to the Plan since its approval at the start of the year, with some audits being added, and others being moved back.


Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions to the officers present in relation to the information contained within the report and some of the points raised during discussion included the following:

·         In Appendix 3 to the report, outstanding actions as of 30th November 2017, were listed, and it was noted that some dated back to March 2015 and it was queried why they had not been completed.  Members were advised that these recommendations related to the integration of IT systems, however, they were still being followed up with the Information Governance team.

·         In relation to the Agresso upgrade, it was noted that this would not be going live until March 2018, and it was queried why this had been delayed an extra month.  Members were advised that the final testing phase had revealed one or two problems, but nothing major, but they required intervention from the supplier.  It was noted that user acceptance testing needed to be completed, as well as penetration testing, where external people would try and get into the system.  It was envisaged that the upgrade would be live four weeks from the date of this meeting.

·         It was noted that the audit on Cyber Security had not started and it was queried what the reason for this was.  Officers advised that this audit had been postponed due to staffing changes with the Chief Digital Officer role.  Whilst there was someone acting up in this role audit would continue to work with them until they were in a position for an audit to be carried out.  It was confirmed that the main issue in delaying this audit was the change of personnel.

·         The significance of these areas was recognised, but it was also recognised that the interim Chief Digital Officer needed time to get to know the systems.  The IMT assurance map was due to come to the Committee in March 2018.  It was also acknowledged that cyber security was still recognised as a strategic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.


Work Plan pdf icon PDF 80 KB

(To receive a report from Lucy Pledge, Audit and Risk Manager, which provides the Committee with information on the core assurance activities currently scheduled for the 2018/19 work plan)

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to a report which provided the Committee with information on the core assurance activities currently scheduled for the 2018/19 work plan.


It was noted that it would be included in the work plan that managers should be requested to attend a meeting of the Committee if recommendations set out in a final audit report had not been implemented within six months.


It was suggested that a workshop be held in the afternoon of March 26th, following the meeting in the morning, to discuss the work plan and inform the Committee's annual report which would be submitted to Council in May 2018.


It was also noted that the Executive Director Adult Care and Community Wellbeing would be coming back to the Committee in March or June 2018 with a report on the progress with financial assessments.


The Chairman announced that Mr P D Finch, Independent Added Member would be retiring from the Committee at the end of the year and thanked him for his service to the Committee over the years.




            That the work plan, and the points highlighted above be noted.



Original Text: