Venue: Cyfarfod Rhithiol / Virtual Meeting. View directions
Contact: Lowri Haf Evans 01286 679878
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillor Jina
DECLARATION OF PERSONAL INTEREST
To receive any declaration of personal interest.
Councillor Rob Triggs asked
whether he should declare a personal interest in item 5 - Statement
of Accounts 2021-22, because
he received a Fire Service pension, and that
there was a reference in the report to pension funds. In response, the Head of Finance noted that this
was not an interest that affected the budget in terms
of the member's ability to participate in the discussion.
To note any items which are urgent business in the opinion of the Chairman so they may be considered.
reference to the Prime Minister's intention to make an announcement later that
day regarding her plans to address the huge increases in fuel costs, a member
asked whether there would be an opportunity for this committee to discuss the
matter at a future meeting. It was
suggested that this was a matter to raise under item 7 - the Committee’s
The Chairman shall propose
that the minutes of the meeting of this committee, held on 30th June
2022, be signed as a true record.
The Chair accepted the minutes of the
previous meeting of this committee, held on 30 June 2022, as a true record.
To consider and receive the Statutory Statement of Accounts (pre-audit draft) for information
To accept and note the 2021/22
Statement of the Council’s Accounts (subject to audit).
Submitted - the report of the Head of Finance,
submitting the statutory Statement of Accounts (pre-audit draft) for the
2021/22 financial year. It was noted
The draft accounts were currently being audited,
and that the final version would be submitted following the audit, for approval
at this committee's meeting on 17 November 2022.
That there was no statutory requirement for elected
members to approve the draft version of the Statement of Accounts. Nevertheless, it was considered that
submitting the draft statement to this committee for information was good
practice, and was an opportunity for members to ask the financial officers
about the content and equip themselves with relevant information in order to
consider the relevant risks and other matters that will be subject to audit,
The Cabinet Member for Finance gave members an
update on their responsibilities, as well as an outline of where we had reached
along the journey. The Senior Finance
Manager then expanded upon the content of the report.
The Chair thanked the Department for the detailed
work, and invited questions and observations from members. During the discussion, the following matters
The Cabinet Member and Senior Finance Manager were
thanked for providing very clear presentations, which drew attention to a
number of very important matters in a comprehensible way.
Referring to the need to valuate more property as a
result of the fact that inflation was so high, it was asked whether there were
any changes in terms of valuating highway assets, and whether this was likely
to create any delay in terms of auditing the accounts. In response, it was noted that highways
appeared under 'infrastructure' in Note 15 of the Accounts (Property, Tools and
Equipment). It was explained that
highways were not being re-valuated, and that they were in on their historical
cost. If the Council did a piece of work
on any road, it went in on at cost, and was valuated in accordance with the
policy in Note 1 of the Accounts over 40 years.
It was noted further that work was afoot in England to change the system
as this 'possibly' did not reflect the value of the road, and one of the proposals
under consideration was that the net figure was only included, instead of the
detailed analysis as in Note 15. Also,
there may be other options, but this was not an easy matter since the
information held by councils about the expenditure incurred on roads was based
on historical cost alone, since a valuation had never been carried out on
them. Furthermore, it was asked whether
this would affect this year's audit of this Council's Accounts. In response, it was noted that it could have
an impact, but that the discussions were continuing.
· It was asked whether the more detailed valuating was going to be a pattern for the future. In response, it was explained that the high levels of inflation had affected this, and whilst inflation levels remained high, it was likely that ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To consider the Audit Wales work programme for Quarter 1 and reports published recently
Submitted – the joint
report of the Council's Business Support Service Manager and the Lead Auditor,
Audit Wales, attaching Audit Wales' Quarter 1 update on the work of the review
bodies (Appendix 1) and a national report on 'Direct Payments for Adult Social
Services' (Appendix 2).
Alan Hughes (Audit Wales) was welcomed to the meeting,
and he elaborated on the content of the Quarter 1 report.
Members invited questions and observations. During the discussion, the following matters
In response to a question, it was confirmed that
the final report on the Assurance and Risk Assessment work would be ready in
2023 (page 114 of the agenda). It was
explained that there were 2 elements to the work, namely considering the
elements for assurance and the places where the risk existed. Normally, the work was focused around
December / January, before a discussion was held with councils on where the
greatest benefit was in order to shape the local plan for the year to come, and
it was this shaping that had helped influence the audit plan for this
year. With that, by looking at matters
such as Un-arranged Care, Digital and Review of the Effectiveness of Scrutiny
that emerged from last year's work, the auditors would go through the procedure
of assessing assurance and risk again, and seek to come to a conclusion about
where the assurance elements were. There
was also some risk, and the risk could be national, regional or local. Work would take place throughout the year,
looking at the financial situation towards the end of the year when the
accounts would be drafted, so that the figures could be taken from them. This was one of the pieces of work that were
currently underway, which was to look at the financial pattern within the
In reference to work that was happening over a more
long-term period, it was asked whether there were any interim messages that could
assist the committee with its work, instead of waiting until the end of the
process. In response, it was noted that
there was a recommendation in the Direct Payments report for Adult Social Care
regarding data, and that there was a reference in the last 4 reports prepared
by Audit Wales in Gwynedd, to a better use of data. A report considered the performance report
procedure and it included a reference to using data to promote decision-making,
etc. as a part of looking at how recommendations derived from external audit,
etc., were completed. Also, there were
regular reports which updated the committee on the response to the
recommendations. It was unlikely that
the data would move off the radar very soon and it was believed that there was
a need to make the best use of it in order to make decisions.
· In response to a question, it was explained that the Review of the Effectiveness of Scrutiny was a local piece of work, and although it was a subject that also arose in other councils, ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
the committee's work programme for 2022/23
To accept the report, noting the observations made during the meeting.
Submitted - the report
of the Head of Finance, attaching
a draft of the committee's work programme for the year to come, up to February
Head of Finance noted:-
That although the
Controls Improvement Working
Group's report was a standing item on
the committee's agenda, it would
not appear unless a meeting of the working group had been held during the cycle in question.
In accordance with the new role
of this committee in keeping an
overview of the Council's arrangements and how complaints were dealt with,
that the officers aimed to submit a scrutiny report to the committee on 17 November.
Chair asked whether it would be possible for members
of the committee to receive
training on any unfamiliar fields before they
scrutinised reports on those subjects. In response, it was confirmed that this was possible,
and members were asked to inform
officers if they wished to receive training on any specific
Members invited questions and observations. During the discussion, the following matters were raised:-
A request was made for assurance
that the pack on the Budget for
the meeting on 9 February included a report on the current
situation in relation to the reserves in every field,
along with a report on the general
balances. In response, it was confirmed that this committee would receive the same pack as would
be submitted to the Cabinet Members
to make a recommendation to
the full Council. It was explained that the role of this committee would be to challenge and take an
overview and ensure that the pack submitted to the Cabinet included the comprehensive information needed for those members
to make their recommendation. Also, if an
element of reserves would need to be used to bridge the financial deficit next year, the pack would outline
the risks associated with that.
request was made to include a standing item on the agenda of every meeting of the committee, providing updates on matters
raised at previous meetings, as it was not possible
to raise matters from the minutes. In response, it was noted that it was possible to include an item
on the agenda of every meeting to provide an update to members
on the implementation of decisions, and it was agreed to look into this for
the next meeting.
RESOLVED to accept the report, with the observations presented during the discussion.