Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Susan Lightwing
Welcome and Evacuation Procedure
The Chair welcomed all present and read
out the Building Evacuation Procedure.
Declarations of Interest
any declarations of interest.
no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.
a) 31 March 2022
b) 6 April 2022
The minutes of the Corporate Affairs meetings held on 31 March and 6 April 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that in relation to Minute No 21/54, points 3 and 4 of the resolution had not yet been actioned.
A report of the Head of Internal
Audit, Veritau, was presented to seek Members’ approval for the planned
programme of internal audit and counter fraud work to be undertaken in
Appendix 1 to the submitted
report set out proposed internal audit work for 2022/23. The planned work was based on an initial
assessment of risk undertaken. The
identification of risks included in the assessment had been informed in a
number of ways. This included review of
the organisational risk management processes, sector-wide risk information,
understanding the Council’s strategies and objectives, other known risk areas
(for example areas of concern highlighted by management), the results of recent
audit work and other changes in Council services and systems.
The proposed areas of coverage
had been subject to consultation with the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee
and Directorate Management Teams.
In order to meet
professional aims and objectives, good practice for internal audit required the
adoption of flexible planning processes.
This helped to ensure that internal audit work undertaken during the
year was adapted on an ongoing basis to reflect changing and emerging risks
within the Council.
Therefore, as in
previous years, the programme was a high-level document with an allocation of
days for key areas of assurance. The
detailed audits to be included within these areas would be agreed with officers
in the coming months. The programme was also
flexible and would be updated as the Council’s priorities or risks changed during the year. The Director of Finance reminded Committee
Members that it was in their gift to suggest other areas that required audit
throughout the year. It was confirmed
that as yet, no priority order had been determined for the proposed audits.
regularly discuss the scope and timings of work with officers and management to
help ensure that assurance was provided in the right areas and at the right
time. Further meetings would be held
throughout the year to plan and confirm the scope and timings of audit work.
Regular updates would be presented to the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee
on the coverage, scope and findings of Veritau’s work.
The total days
allocated to internal audit assurance in 2022/23 were 555.
Proposed areas of counter fraud work in 2022/23 were set
out in Appendix 2 to the submitted report. No estimate of time was made for
each area as this would depend on the levels of suspected fraud reported to the
team. The priorities for the work
programme were set annually in the Council’s Counter Fraud Strategy Action Plan
and annual Fraud Risk Assessment. The total days allocated to counter fraud
work in 2022/23 were 150.
1. The report was
received and noted.
2. The planned programme of internal audit and counter fraud work to be undertaken in 2022/2023 was approved.
A report of the Returning Officer and Electoral
Registration Officer was presented to inform
the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee of proposed changes to the electoral
system that may be introduced as part of the Elections Bill that was currently
being considered by Parliament. The report also identified possible
implications for the voting public, candidates and electoral administrators.
On Monday 5 July
2021, the UK Government introduced the Elections Bill to the House of
Commons. The bill introduced new
legislation that proposed changes to the UK electoral system. The legislation, entitled the Elections Bill,
contained measures that affected:
Changes in the
Bill would apply to UK Parliamentary Elections, Police and Crime Commissioner Elections
in England and Wales, and all Local Elections in England including Mayoral
elections and the Tees Valley Mayor Elections.
The Bill sought
to improve the security, accessibility and transparency of elections and
campaigning. The changes will need to be
well planned, with implementation phased, and properly funded, to ensure that
electoral administrators, and others involved in running elections, can
implement the measures as intended. The
Bill was currently at committee stage in the House of Commons and was expected
to receive Royal Assent in May 2022.
The changes proposed to the following areas were detailed
in the submitted report:
One of the key implications for Local Authorities with
small resources was the Voter Identification proposals. If a voter did not have identification they
could apply for a voter card from Government in advance of an Election, or a
temporary card from the Local Authority up until 5.00 pm on the evening prior
to an election. This could potentially
cause pressure on the current Electoral Team of four staff. It was highlighted that Middlesbrough had a large
student population and some might use this as a way to get free identification,
not solely as a means to vote, and this could apply to other residents as
Political parties and campaigners would be banned from
handling postal votes. Constituents would
have to return postal votes themselves rather than relying on the above groups
to do that on their behalf. This measure
was to improve security and prevent allegations of fraud and misuse of postal
Another major change impacting on Middlesbrough would be a different voting system for the Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner. Previously Supplementary Voting had been used for both types of election, however this would be changed to the First Past The Post system. Whilst this would make election planning and counting simpler for Officers, there would be implications for candidates and the likelihood of getting elected.
It had not yet been identified how Local Authorities would be funded to implement the ... view the full minutes text for item 21/62
A joint report of the Executive
Member for Environment, Finance and Governance and Director of Legal and
Governance Services was presented to provide Members with an update in relation
to the Council’s decision making process.
The Corporate Affairs and Audit
Committee previously requested information in relation to:
Detailed information was provided in the submitted report in
respect of each item.
Appendices A to D to the
submitted report contained details of Officer and Executive Delegated
Decisions, a list of training and briefing sessions and a list of decisions
taken by the Gold Command Group during the period 1 January 2021 to 31 December
Members noted that there had been
no Call-Ins of Executive Decisions during that period.
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that a number of joint
training sessions, facilitated by the Local Government Association, had been
held between the current Executive Members and the Leadership and Management
AGREED that the information provided was received and noted.
A joint report of the Executive
Member for Environment, Finance and Governance and Director of Finance was
presented to provide Members with an update on the implementation of the Council’s
Estates Strategy, report on asset disposals during the financial year 2021/2022
and update standing Asset Disposal Policy.
In accordance with the standing
Asset Disposal Policy operated by the Council during the financial year
2021/2022, any proposed disposals or transactions with a value over £150,000
were considered and decided by Executive Committee. According to value, any
proposed transactions below that threshold were decided by either the Director
of Finance, or by the Valuation and Estates Manager. During the same period, the Director of
Finance and the Valuation and Estates Manager had met on a monthly basis, in
order to monitor the progress with and implementation of the Council’s Estates
The power to
dispose of assets at an undervalue has not been
utilised during the financial year 2021/2022.
Should the Council take any decisions to dispose of its assets under
these powers, it would be reported in subsequent disposal updates.
Asset disposals approved in the financial year 2021/2022
were provided at paragraph 11 of the submitted report and further detail in
respect of the individual asset disposal transactions recorded as having
legally completed and reached financial close was set out in Appendix 1.
The variance in value between a number of the Capital
Receipts and Valuations set out within Paragraph 11 and Appendix 1 had been
caused by a number of factors including: the strict financial approach adopted
by the Council in respect to abnormal cost deductions being different to that
adopted by Buyers, fluctuation in market values, the occurrence of unplanned
windfall disposal opportunities and the accounting basis under
which the Council classified
surplus highway land within its Estate Portfolio.
In order to mitigate the financial and business planning
implications of such variance, the Council adopted a structured cyclical
approach to the revaluation of its assets in order to better understand,
monitor and adjust the value of its Estate Portfolio.
In response to comments made by the Council’s External
Auditors in previous years, further work to satisfactorily embed the Asset
Disposal Policy was carried out during the financial year 2021/22 in order to
On 13 April 2021, Executive approved the release of 3% of
the value of any asset disposed of above market value as a financial
contribution to be made available for the benefit of the Ward in which the
subject asset was based.
Policy was amended to reflect this change, and as a result
a process was introduced which determined that once the 3% community benefit
contribution was triggered, the respective Ward Councillors in which the
subject asset was based, would be invited to submit their proposals to the
Director of Finance and the Executive Member for Finance and Governance would
then consider, and agree, the Ward expenditure.
Since inception, two disposals had triggered this process, namely the disposal of Middlesbrough Warehousing in North Ormesby and ... view the full minutes text for item 21/64
Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered
The Chair noted that this was the last scheduled meeting of the Committee in the current Committee Year. The Statement of Accounts for 2020/2021 were not yet available for approval and it was anticipated that it would be June or July before they would be brought to Committee. The Chair thanked all present for their contributions to the Committee during the past year.