The Committee is asked to note the report and approves the actions against suggested improvements, put forward in the independent review of risk carried out by TIAA.
Darren Skinner, Head of Planning, Performance & Insight explained the report aimed to update and provide assurance to the Audit & Governance Committee (AGC) on changes and improvements made to the Risk Management (RM) Framework during 2020-2021.
It was explained through the Council’s Constitution, the Audit and Governance Committee had responsibility for monitoring the effective development and operation of risk management in the Council and to monitor progress in addressing risk-related issues reported to the Committee. The annual activity report summarised the key changes and improvements to the risk management framework each year, including amendments to the Strategic Risk Register.
It was noted there was an independent review of risk management, which was presented to the committee in April 2022. A table of the ‘suggested items for consideration’ from that report had been collated, with the proposed actions for taking forward and were detailed at page 126 of the report. It was noted that a member development session took place on the 17th June 2022 and addressed some of the actions and recommendations.
Members attention was drawn to point ten and it was noted that in terms of risk management resource, staff skills sets were being spread across the wider team and a medium term financial strategy bid was being developed for a second RM trained post for the team.
Members were advised the Strategic Risk Register scorecard for Quarter 4 2021/22 was also attached. However, it was noted the changes listed in the report would not take effect until reporting for Quarter 1 2022/23.
In response to a question relating to the risks on Page 128 of the report, members wondered if the amended risks had been reviewed by the external auditor, in particular the wording on SRR 3.2. It was explained that this would be undertaken in a follow up to the review by internal audit in the Autumn.
The Committee were advised that the new risk register format and detail would be presented to COSC at the end of this quarter and would clearly show the progress and impact made to date.
Members were pleased to note the new risk regarding the Care Act and Care Cap Reform would be included in the risk register, as this was a significant risk. Members were concerned given the history of Central Government shifting liabilities on to local authorities but not shifting the resources required. Members felt there was potential for a severe impact and felt the risk and accountability should be clear. Officers accepted the challenge but reminded members that Audit & Governance's Committee role was different to that of a scrutiny committee in its function.
The Executive Director explained although Government had deferred Section 18.3 for existing social care clients it unfortunately hadn't been deferred for new clients, which meant the work still had to be undertaken and could impact social care providers. Senior officer groups were meeting and lobbying for clear guidance, as it was an area of concern as there were a number of self- funders of care in the system too.
The Executive Director explained that an officers group was working collaboratively on this issue and he was comfortable with GCC's journey but acknowledged there was a lot more work to do. Officers across the directorates were working closely on the modelling, to ensure the numbers were up to date. It was anticipated that the new format would display the risks and mitigations more clearly.
In terms of governance, it was noted that the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Commissioning and the Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health were acutely aware of the risks and they were monitoring the issues nationally and locally.
The Chair felt the risk register should clearly identify the Cabinet Member and Director who owned the risk and the scrutiny committee with the oversight function for that risk. The Monitoring Officer explained the Director with responsibility was defined in the Risk Register, and he felt the new format was fairly self-explanatory but he offered to look at the additional requests in due course. Members were advised the whole risk register was presented to COSC, so the chairs of the individual scrutiny committees had sight of the report. The Chair reiterated his request to clearly see who owns what risk, and how that risk was dealt with as he felt members needed assurance.
The Executive Director suggested it was up to the individual scrutiny committee if they wished to review the risk register and reiterated the COSC had sight of the document. Some members felt it was up to the individual scrutiny committees if they wished to review the risk register.
Officers felt that the implementation of social care change would be high on the Government's agenda but officers were actively feeding into discussions via the professional networks at local and national levels.
That the Committee noted the key developments in the framework this year and approved the actions against suggested improvements, put forward in the independent review of risk carried out by TIAA.
The Committee noted the amendments to the strategic risk register arising from its annual review at Corporate Leadership Team.