Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee - Monday 12 March 2012 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite, Shire Hall, Gloucester

Contact: Andrea Griffiths 

Items
No. Item

13.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Burgess, Councillor Robinson substituted at the meeting. 

14.

Declaration of Interests

Please refer to note 1 at the end of the agenda. 

Minutes:

Both the Chairman and Cllr Mike Sztymiak declared a personal non-prejudicial interest in respect of them being a member of the Pensions Committee.  It was duly noted that Cllr Sztymiak was employed by Capita.   

 

Councillor Allen declared that he was a member of Tewkesbury Borough Council

 

The Chairman also declared he knew Peter Clarke and Roger Brown who were named in the report, as they were ex-district councillors.    

 

15.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 78 KB

a)  To consider any issues arising from the meeting held on the 19th January 2012

b ) To confirm and sign the minutes as a correct record

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

All matters arising had been dealt with and communicated to members of the Committee. 

 

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 19th January 2012 be signed as a correct record by the Chairman. 

16.

Independent Review of the Cotswold Water Park pdf icon PDF 357 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee received a detailed presentation of the report by Independent Chairman Graham Garbutt.  It was explained that the review was sponsored by Peter Jones, Deputy Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council, as he had no previous involvement with the Cotswold Water Park and that the report was to be scrutinised by the council through the Audit Committee.

 

Mr Garbutt paid tribute to the co-operation of members and staff of the local authorities, the district audit service, the prison service and the police.  In particular he expressed thanks to Janet Bruce, Principal Auditor and Rodney Semple, Business Efficiency Manager, who had been seconded to the review team. 

 

He explained that the review had identified a number of real concerns and shortcomings.  It was noted that the report addressed such concerns and made recommendations for improvements to council procedures and for the future governance of the Cotswold Water Park. 

 

It was apparent that the events at Cotswold Water Park illustrated the risks involved in transferring service delivery and assets from local authorities to outside bodies. Members felt the report highlighted the importance of ensuring that the necessary policies and procedures were in place to manage future transfers. 

 

In response to a question members were informed that overall Gloucestershire County Council had good governance processes, but naturally this depended on whether staff followed them correctly. 

 

Members noted that retired members of staff had been interviewed during the process and some of the information depended on their recollection of events that in some cases dated back to 2007.  During the discussion it was noted that there was a missing file relating to the Cotswold Water Park. Mr Garbutt explained that the review team had exhaustively searched paper and electronic files for evidence relating to the missing file, but sadly to no avail.   In response to a question members were informed that if the file had been located then it might have shed light on some of the issues, particularly regarding the rationale behind the decision to grant consent to the sub-lease.  Members raised concerns relating to the missing file and the possible facts it may have contained.  Mr Garbutt agreed that it would have been useful to have access to the file although there was no guarantee that it would have included additional information to that which had been made available during the review.  

 

It was evident that the County Council’s complaints procedure needed addressing as there had been a failure in the process. Members felt this was a management challenge that needed to be overcome with some urgency.  It was explained that any complaints relating to members were dealt with through the Standards Committee.  Members felt that the Audit Committee needed to look at the complaints procedure in more detail.  

 

The report also referred to the District Auditor’s review which was reported to the committee in September 2009. It was noted that unfortunately the review was curtailed before its completion, as the financial year ended and the issues which warranted further investigation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Date of the next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 13th April 2012

 

Minutes:

The committee noted that its next meeting would take place on 13th April 2012.