Audit and Governance Committee - Tuesday 14 March 2023, 6:30pm - Start video at 1:23:50 - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Webcasting

Audit and Governance Committee
Tuesday, 14th March 2023 at 6:30pm 

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Seat 3 - 0:00:00
Good evening, welcome to this meeting of the audit and governance committee on Tuesday, the 14th of March 2023,
I am Councillor Pope and I am the Chair of this committee before we get on to the agenda items, please give your full attention to the following announcements from our o'clock, Mrs. Moran,
thank you, Chair and good evening everybody. in the event of the fire alarm ringing continuously, you must immediately evacuate the building at walking pace officers will escort you via the most direct available route, and no one is to use the lift.
We will make our way to the fire assembly point which is by the entrance to the Town Hall Yard, car park and months away, and once outside the check will be made to ensure everyone has safely left and no one is to re-enter the building until advised that it is safe to do so.
This is a public meeting and proceedings are being webcast live online. A recording will also be available for playback on the council's website shortly afterwards,
can I remind everyone to use their microphones when speaking the red light indicates the microphone is on the any comments that are not recorded for the webcast will not be included in the minutes of the meeting,
you should be aware that any third party is able to record or film council meetings unless exempt or confidential information is being considered, the Council will not accept liability for any third party recordings.
it is very important that the outcomes of the meeting are clear at the end of each substantive item, the Chairman will ask whether are matters agreed in the absence of a clear majority, or, if the chair decides a full vote is desirable, a vote will be taken by a show of hands, members should raise their hand to indicate their vote and keep their hands up until the count has been announced. Members requesting a recorded vote must do so before the vote is taken. Thank you Chair,
thank you
for the benefit of the recording we are going to take a roll call.
thank you, Chair, expected members here this evening, Councillor Alan
present
Councillor Barrass, present Councillor Dorling's present Councillor Lidstone prison, Councillor McMillan, friend Councillor Morton, present Councillor Lewis, Vice Chair,
prisons
and Councillor Pope chair Britain, Independent Members here this evening, Mr. Geoff, Turner.
present to Edward Eliot, Britain, parish, council representative Councillor Edwards, present, thank you expected officers this evening is Gouffran Ahmed's
brother, Gerry Barton.
prison gate, Tony Bullock.
Lee Collier.
present Dan hutchins present Catherine Woodward's
present Claudette from an
present, thank you Chair.
thank you.
firstly, with we would like to welcome Katherine Woodward, who has joined Cat the Council is the permanent head of Mid Kent audit, we would also like to welcome to the committee this evening Mr. Gouffran Ahmed external Audit Manager, who has taken over from Mr. Await and Jerry Barton local government value for money officer.
members of the committee should be familiar with the process, but for the benefit of any members of the public who may be watching, I would like to explain a couple of things
committee members have had their main agendas for over a week and have had the opportunity to study these and to ask any factual questions of the officers ahead of the meeting.
when we come to the substantive items on the agenda this evening, the relevant officer will first set out their report, we then move into member discussion and debate.

2 Apologies for Absence

club do we have any apologies for absence?
we've had apologies from Councillor McConnachie, the saving chair.
thank you,

3 Declarations of Interest

item 3 is declarations of interests members of the committee should state at this point if they have any declarations of interest related to any item on this evening's agenda, does any member have a declaration to make?
I see none.

4 Notification of Visiting Members wishing to speak (in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18):

item forward notification of persons registered to speak
at this time, we note whether any members of the public or visiting members of the Council have registered to speak this evening, do we have any such persons?
we have no vegetables speakers. The same picture
thank you, item 5 is minutes of the meeting of the audit and governance committee dated Tuesday, the 22 of November 2022
members are asked to confirm that the minutes of the previous meeting are a true record of the proceedings.
please, may I remind members that the only matter for discussion is the accuracy do Members have any comments?
I see no comments, thank you, the motion is to agree the minutes or we agreed.
the motion is carried.

6 Future Work Programme as at Tuesday 14 March 2023

moving on to item number 6,
the future work programme, as are the 14th of March 2023 as committed to future work programme, is set out on pages 11 and 12 for reference.
members are asked to take note of the dates for the upcoming training sessions that are set out on page 12.
the motion is to note the work
programme or we agreed.
the motion is carried.

7 Update on Member Complaints

at this point, the the order of business this evening
we're going to change and they're going to start with agenda item 12 strategic risk review,
March 2023, and then we'll run through the agenda from item 7.
through to the end, so item 12 strategic risk review, March 2023,

12 Strategic Risk Review March 2023

this report starts on page 116 of the agenda,
Mr. Collier will introduce the item before passing over to the risk register owner Mr. Tony Bullock, chief technical officer.
thank you Chairman, so at the last Audit governance meeting, the Committee considered the new static risk register, so we can now start the cycle of risk owners coming before this committee to talk through their individual risk, the mitigation approach and the seasoning we have 10 book who is the chief information officer at Mid Kent IT services, so with your permission Chairman I'll pass over to Mr. Murdoch,
thank you Chair, so the context here is described in risks scenario 9, which is referred to as ICT security and loss of systems access, now the ever present threat against it, of attack against our IT networks and the potential loss of data or IT services as a whole does remain high as you can imagine attacks against government IT networks in the last 12 months following the Russian invasion of Ukraine has really increased.
I'm going to take each of the bullet points in the list of the current controls in the order that they appear in the table and I'll try and keep it to five to 10 minutes if that's OK, and perhaps we can take questions at the end
of the first bullet point starts with a designation of a senior information Risk owner SIRO and indeed this is Mr. Collier next to me here.
so it's not actually an IT function as such, it's relevant for the organisation.
next bullet point is around public service network accreditation renewal, due for Q3 now for background PS N public service network is a network that allows the council to securely connects to other public sector organisations and bodies such as DW p or NHS, and it facilitates things like the Tell Us Once service that helps residents.
inform us through a single channel, perhaps like the registrars, that an event has happened in their lives
and we have to go through an accreditation process
every year, and that process is due to start in my the Q3 here refers to when we'll have that process completed and that process usually involves going through. an independent penetration testing service that and then we address any vulnerabilities that that external service will third-party service identifies and during that process we also have support from the National cybersecurity Centre, we're part of GCHQ over there in Cheltenham.
the next item on the bullet pointless there is a continuation of cyber awareness campaigns, now we've been running cyber awareness campaigns for quite a few years now and they typically comprise of a fishing exercise that pH fishing. where we deliberately send fake e-mails through a third party to test how well people can spot something that doesn't seem right, and sometimes these are less easy to spot, but the objective is ultimately to raise awareness throughout the organisation that clicking on a link could introduce ransomware to the organisation that could leave the Council completely unable to do business in its entirety or it could leak your logging details so that an attacker could impersonate you at a later date and gain data access to data though it shouldn't do now the recent most recent campaign campaign number 7 actually enticed about 18% of e-mail recipients across the Mid Kent Partnership, not just Tunbridge Wells,
into clicking the link, and 10% of recipients actually bi-fold into entering their username and password.
next item on the bulletpoint list is upgrading our current backup technology again in Q3, but we've actually bought this forward and we will be addressing this in Q2, what we're talking about here is a new piece of technology that we refer to as an immutable backup, so this takes a copy of our most recent backup and essentially makes it indestructible.
the point here is that ransomware attacks don't just encrypt and hold your life documents to ransom, but they also look for your backups somewhere on the network and make those inaccessible as well
now this technology prevents that from happening, so at worst we would only only lose up to the point where the last immutable backup was taken
and said that is a piece of hardware that we are. purchasing this month for installation next month.
for the next few points, I'm going to talk about defence in depth, and what I mean by that is that we don't rely on a single barrier to prevent intrusion into our network or loss of data, and we've got lots of Barry's in in places you can imagine so, for example e-mail scanning before it arrives inside a network before it deploys a payload it blocks it. we have a firewall, obviously, at the edge of our network, that only allows defined types of network traffic.
into and out of our network and, obviously, traditional anti-virus software on every laptop as well, but we've also got some extra software, some extra tools in our.
that we can control and say, we've got a bit of software called cortex installed, on every laptop which is discussed in the next bullet point, so this is software that sits silently like anti-virus software on a laptop but this time rather than
looking for known viruses or or known virus software or very files that have been attacked, it actually looks for suspicious behavior and if it detects this suspicious behaviour it will shut down the device before it can spread more widely, and of course it reported to us in IT as well.
another barrier that we have in place is some software, such as some suffer, we have an appliance called Darktrace that some of you may have heard of, and this is an AI-based cyber immune system as what they badgered as.
this again looks for suspicious behavior, but it looks at it rather than on your laptops ill looks at it on the network level, so if, for example, there's a device somewhere or something somewhere on a network that's trying to make contact with service saying China or Russia and that's not normal behaviour for our network then it will flag it up and it will shut that down before it can do anything.
then we also have some software called Nesis as well, this is something that I referred to earlier in terms of our penetration testing out Pen testing, where we have our external company coming in, do this, for our peer saying compliance, we actually have that software as well internally, so we run that when we get ahead of our Pen testers so rather than finding out once a year we find out once a week once a month once a day that we've got a vulnerability, not just,
software that that shouldn't have been installed on our network, but it softens legitimately on the network even down to Windows operating system level, it would spot something that has not been patched with a new security patch, for example.
moving on then implementation of our next-generation firewall, now we've had our new firewall ready to go that we've actually got it pencilled in for installation on Tuesday or Wednesday morning next week it has been problematic for us until recently because we've had some technical issues which prevented external telephone calls from working, so each time we've tried to put it in the past we've had to roll back to the existing firewall, we think the supply now has actually finally fixed this issue for us, so we're looking forward to getting this in place next week.
that last item. Here we have ICT policies, staff training and disaster recovery planning, so we're looking into getting some new software to help us with our phishing campaigns that talked about earlier. This offer is called Box Fish and that does everything that our existing service does, but it also allows us to do extra things like distribute ICT policies electronically as well. So you can sign to say I agree that this is the way I should be operating when I'm using my computer
we also have a disaster recovery service in operation at Gunwharf in Medway, and this is a commercial operation that we in Mid Kent set up back in 2014 for our can connects partners and the wider partnership across Kent, but that's breaching the end of its useful life right now so we're moving into a new data centre at Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne imminently and also expecting an audit of our DR process during the year as well, so no doubt you'll see the results of that in due course.
second, last item we have on here was a planned appointment of a security officer and I'm pleased to say that we have had a restructure in IT recently, and that resulted in the appointment of not just a security officer but a security manager we recognised how vital this role was so
their role is specifically for him. managing IT security cybersecurity. we actually appointed internally, which means we've got someone that has the local knowledge and experience needed to hit the ground running, so we're really pleased with that appointment.
and the finalise means that.
we were going to go through and have gone through a cybersecurity health check with our insurance company, the Council's insurance companies Erik which turned in a really good score, they were very pleased with what they saw and they put us in the 80th percentile for local authorities because they made some recommendations we'd expect that one of which was actually around the IT policy deployment which we are addressing with the Box Fish software that I mentioned earlier,
thank you.
pray I thank you very much for taking us through that.
I am other any Members, are there any questions you would like to ask?
councillor literati,
thank you Tiny,
you mentioned about the immutable backup, and so I was interested to know, obviously, there being some fairly high profile ransomware attacks on public service sector organisations, so we're trying to also sort of suffer one, how regular those immutable backups, how far back would we be going?
OK, so we haven't. decided that yet, but
my intention is that we will be doing this daily, but it really depends on the size or the capacity that we have within the appliance a sort of e-mail this morning that was actually comparing the price, the cost of what we've decided to go for up until now with the the next step up so we'd like to do it daily but we can't commit to that yet.
thank you Connor and ask her some party related questions are, thank you, so you mentioned also about the the disaster recovery site and we made way, so is
it's Tommy Wells,
sort of servers are these physical servers here in the town hall or do we have a cloud based server is that the disaster recovery sites of there to facilitate things you know say that God forbid a fire in the town hall we could continue to operate from from there.
OK, so it's a first point. First, there are no physical servers currently in the server room here in Tunbridge Wells. They haven't been for a couple of years now,
everything for Tunbridge Wells, Swale borough council and Maidstone Borough Council are all up on the sixth floor of Maidstone House, so we consider it as a a private cloud in due course we'll be looking at
moving that potentially to
the public cloud in terms of disaster recovery, we have enough equipment in our disaster recovery sites in Medway that will soon become
SEWTA, in
Ken science park Tues, to fire up enough
capacity to operate the the the critical functions of the organisation.
thank you.
thank you,
does anybody else have a question relating to this?
I guess I have a question, it's
because of all the recent activity and that in the rush war,
Russia, Ukraine, war,
no doubt, and people have been saying, attacks have been increasing, have they noticeably been increasing?
I don't have any evidence to hand that would support that but
anecdotally I've been told that attacks against the the government sector have increased in the UK.
thank you.
Councillor Barrett,
thank you,
you mentioned, I think he said the
the click on the click-through bay, for a response from members of officers across the three boroughs was 18%
and that the passwords
passed passed on with 10%.
one of the use it isn't user engagement is often issue for security. do we know how officers are likely to be
how well they are receiving the new security framework, it is something that is.
easily accessible and easy usable for them in that sense make it less likely that they're going to.
drop the security for sake of convenience,
so it's really about what to wear here is behaviours rather than the technology.
I'm looking back at some stats here that pre earlier campaigns actually had much lower figures so. it's likely that campaign 7 was a more sophisticated e-mail or more more
believable e-mailed, if you like, the comes in, so what typically happens is
officers will
receive
a follow-up e-mail, either from the supplier themselves or from us in IT that explains what's happened and then pushes sub
security training towards them.
so I think that's what you were aiming for.
I mean, yes, it's kind of is it's more about?
general compliance rather than specific kind of issue raising, but yes, it's a similar, a similar thought.
it was, I know you have various BAME employer may have to security checks and to get through, and it's very easy for taking convenience, put things within the one security check away rather than go through the two for because it's less convenient that was the more was thinking about how user friendly is it because it is user-friendly and it's more likely to get compliance, but that was I was not referring specifically to the e-mail exit but to general would be usability of the service of the inexperienced rather than the civic example.
I say OK, so
when you're in the office with a corporate device on the corporate network, at the moment we have
traditional username password, authentication, but what we're rolling out at the moment is multi-factor authentication. So if you're using a device at home, it might be a personal device you can enrol in biometric authentication. You have to have a second device that allows you to
what allows you to authenticate yourself more
securely if you like rock, because if someone has stolen your credentials and we know that credentials have been stolen, more people know e-mail addresses, and we can see attacks every day on our network from people all over the world. They have clearly got out of date.
passwords because we have multifactorial authentication in place. They will then receive a prompt to say OK now enter the number of that's paid on your phone clear, they haven't got my phone in Russia or China, so that's protected me that way, but we we recognise that it's important
to make that very, very simple. To use
and Microsoft provide an application called Microsoft authentic cater which we use and that allows that to work through a telephone call,
a text message or pop up message on your phone where you now actually have to enter a number that appears on your screen, but yes, it's, it's wouldn't say it's a breeze to use, but it's it's necessarily a barrier that makes it more complex
Councillor today.
also acknowledges completely anecdotally we use
Microsoft, authenticate or multi-factor authentication with work and
not seamless, obviously if your phones run out of battery, we misplaced it or whatever he bought them, but generally I think you know once once people get used to using the system I think it
it works so one and you just give becomes part of your routine so wish you all the best with the roll out of that.
sorry. this to Mr. Elliott, thank you,
so I actually asked this question at the last Monday's meeting, so apologies for live on for reputation, don't think it be useful just to have your your take on, it, does publishing the names of the scuttles we use does that increase our exposure to cyberattack or to
that's difficult one for me to answer, I probably wanted to defer to our new sub security manager for a more complete answer,
I, my personal opinion, is that not necessarily because
anyone attacking us will be looking at a
a whole list of security tools.
you know they would know where those vulnerabilities are,
so I don't think it necessarily increases.
the risk.
any more questions or any discussion.
thank you very much for presenting or taking us through that part of the risk register
so
the recommendation as set out in the report is that the committee considers or notes the strategic risk register and or arrangements for managing strategic risk
are we agreed?
the motion is carried.

7 Update on Member Complaints

thank you.
thank you very much will now move on to Item 7, which is the update on Member complaints,
this report starts on page 13 of the agenda.
Mr. Salmond, you'll report, please, thank
you Chair good evening members.
this report needs a minor amendment to be made, a part of One Stop 1 on page 14 and it currently we first in the last sentence, it refers sorry in the last line, sorry, it refers to the period 1st March 2022 to 31st August 2022 and that should actually read 1st September 2022 to 28th February 2023.
so, moving on from the just a brief summary of the report, the report is for noting only and provides a lob date on code of conduct complaints received for the period 1st September 2022 to 28 February 2023 at the audit and governance committee meeting of 13 September 2022 3 code of conduct complaints against borough parish or town councillors were reported to be outstanding.
two of these complaints alleged, amongst other claims, bullying and compromising the impartiality or integrity of those who work for or on behalf of the Authority no breach of the Code was established in respect of these two complaints the third of these complaints alleged failure to act in accordance with the authority's reasonable requirements failure to ensure that council resources are not used improperly for political purposes
and disclose any information given in confidence. no breach of the code was established as a complaint was found to be about dissatisfaction with the Borough or Parish Council's decisions, policies and priorities.
since the last meeting, three further complaints have been received, two of which concerned Borough Councillors and one concerning a Parish Town Councillor,
two of these complaints have now been concluded.
of this, more recent complaints, one was against a parish councillor for failure to act in accordance with the authority's reasonable requirements, bullying and intimidation, ringing the office or the authority into disrepute no breach was established for a number of reasons, namely that the complaint was found to be about dissatisfaction with the council with the cancels, decisions, policies and priorities, the complaint was relatively minor and an investigation of unlikely to come to a firm conclusion,
another of these three more recent complaints was against a borough councillor for bullying and bringing the office or the authority into disrepute, a breach of the code was established and a complaint and the complaint was resolved informally. the subject member was asked to issue an apology to the complainant which subject member has issued.
the remaining complaint is against a borough councillor and the allegations concerned, bringing the office or the authority into disrepute this complaint was still being considered at the time that this report was being prepared and will be detail and will be detailed in the next report to this committee thank you.
thank you very much.
presenting that members other any questions.
councillor Lidstone,
thank you close in am compliant to. members are asked to issue an apology to comply with a public apology and or private one, it just seems to me that if there are, I suppose it might depend on the nature of the offence, but bullying bringing the office authority into disrepute reasonably serious, so my my thoughts are that perhaps I should should be a public apology,
it was a public apology, thank you.
there are any further questions.
discussion or debate, or shall we move on?
the recommendation as set out in the report,
which is that the Committee notes the update on complaints received under the members' code of conduct
are we agreed.
the motion is carried.

8 Procurement Process and Policy Updates

move on to the next item, which is Item number 8.
procurement process and policy updates, this report starts on page 20 of the agenda.
Mr. Hutchens, your report, please.
thank you, Chairman and good evening members,
the report before you sets out a number of proposed wording changes as well as recommended revisions to procurement thresholds within the contract Standing orders or, as we refer to them, say, essays
of the Council's constitution at the current wording in the Constitution was last updated in July 2017 and since then we've seen legislative changes in procurement due to Brexit.
with more substantial changes to legislation to be introduced or either in the coming year, or certainly by sort of spring summer of 24, the procurement Bill 2022 is currently making its way through parliament,
we've received approval for the proposed changes for management board, and we've also been to constitution review working party, and we're now seeking the approval of the audit and governance committee in order to proceed to full council, after which the proposed changes would be implemented,
I'm happy to take any questions.
thank you very much, members, other any questions.
I have one question myself, it's about quotes or bits that seem unusually low how that's not really covered in here from what I could see is there a special process to deal with those
yes, there is yet so depending on the level of the procurement or whether it reaches the fond attender service thresholds
or whether it's obviously below threshold tender or request for quotation we would have set processes to deal with absolutely all the,
I guess the investigation of a potential abnormally low tender.
it is a very tricky area to look at because what may seem abnormally low may not actually be appallingly low when you you really do dig into the the nuts and bolts of the bid,
so each one of those is taken on merit and is thoroughly investigated before we make a decision to either proceed with the evaluation or to exclude that party from further assessment.
thank you to everybody else for the question, Councillor Lidstone
me again, sorry,
I noticed the
requirement on the on the minute on the lowest category of spend to procure via a local provider,
which, in principle
is is is is good to be looking to use local traders and keep money in the local economy.
how do you define a local supplier?
I beg your question yet the in the first instance it would be borough level, particularly that lowest. to spend categories that we would be looking to keep it within borough if we couldn't find somebody feasibly within borough than we would look at county level
outside of that we would consider it to not be a local supplier, so really it's borough followed by county.
presumably kind of headquartered as opposed to
existing, I mean there will be a branches of of the multinational companies Heron in Tunbridge Wells.
yes, there would be a year, we would be looking for the company to be headquartered here locally.
Councillor Barrett
said you would exclude
East Sussex just across the border as a local.
we would yes, because we are under the county of Kent sigh
within the this up the rest of the report, you may have noted the
the the potential for reserved contracts
that only allows us to actually go down to county level, so even though East Sussex I completely take your point because it's it's one that I've thought of as well, even though East Sussex is very, very close, it wouldn't actually count.
thank you any more questions.
any discussion with Councillor McMillan,
thank you, can I just ask and in terms of one when the, when the Buckingham it process, after the both basin, you've gone out there and look for these look for these offerings, what's the process it has approached in regard to that they come in and has a work?
sorry, can you expand on that, although I'm not entirely sure what it is you referring to,
so if you if you bring your go you're going out fitted, we're looking to procure some services, whether it be better reckons, consultants whatever so we put this as at once once those bids come in or those offering those of those or those heading work internally from the council's perspective.
so each of the bids would be assessed by the evaluation panel to the evaluation panel we set by who, if the procuring air that a service area is.
they are first assessed on mandatory requirements if there were any mandatory requirements within the tender, they were assessed on Nice first anybody that fails to meet the mandatory requirements would be nice void and excluded from the process
we then go on to the qualitative assessment
and again if there are any benchmarks that we've set out within the qualitative assessment
we will check to make sure that those have been met, anybody that hasn't again then notified and excluded, and then the foreign stage of the processes, that is the costing,
so we evaluate that, and then that gives us all our final result.
so just to follow on from that, then, so that you said the group that looked after that process is ending on which Department looking for the service right, so all times is only that department then review the process and what they have their own process to review to make is that recommendation and push that to the senior officers to to to the Head of Finance or Head of Paid Services, or is it just that they make that decision themselves?
I depends on the size of the contracts, obviously anything is a key decision would go back to Cabinet for approval to award a contract.
unless, of course, cabinet of delegated authority down to to oversee a senior officer,
obviously the section 5 1 of so does have certain delegations within the constitution as well to to award contracts.
but yeah, essentially, the the service area is responsible for putting together an evaluation panel, doesn't have to consist of people solely from that service area, it can be cross functional, so particularly there are other skill sets that would be useful to have on the panel
but it is it's up to them to decide who's gonna be on that that with them
thank you.
councillor M,
thank you very much Chair, can I just ask about this, this bit of discussion going on in this about the difference between best value and value for money and
I'm confused as to what it means, and I'm a bit spurious as to what
people mean by value for money. Could you say a bit more about that? Please
yeah certainly say that the wording has been standardised,
a wife from value for money to best value, and the reason the of taking that approach is the value for money often times, even though if it's even if it's not true kind of gives you a vision of cheapest price wines because you, you've used the term money specifically within their if you use best value. It's more of a broad spectrum analysis of of what that tender bid is is providing for you, and so that's why we standardise into that word in, so it is very clear that we aren't just looking for the cheapest price. We are taking a lot of different factors into consideration.
thank you Chair again.
so I suppose that would indicate then the best service
available to the people of Tunbridge Wells and companies that are in the best place to provide that service at that.
amount of money as well, that we're paying for it.
it would be based on whatever the evaluation criteria outline is the only stone and salt pot that might be locality oversee, part of it will be cost, and the rest of it we on qualitative factors, say if it's a service that we deem your warrant a very high level of qualitative assessment, it would be weighted accordingly and that's that's actually where the majority of the marks would be placed as opposed to on the cost of the service for example.
Councillor Moulton,
I thank you Chair.
in terms of
the interest you know declaring an interest in
A in any particular bid.
how is that done so you know, would me? I suppose it could apply to officers as welcome, did
you know, or are these bids are they blind bids?
you don't know the identity of the bidder,
so just just wanted to you know if you could
labradoodle that, thank you.
yes, sadly so all of our tendering processes and the vast majority of all requests for quotation are undertaken via the campus news portal, which is our e-tendering platform,
so suppliers are encouraged very strongly to to register runs on that platform so that they can only take part in these tender processes when they do come up.
they express their interest via the portal, or if it's a request for quotation, where we're just going to approach, say, five or six different companies, perhaps in the local area, we will invite them via the portal, to submit a bid.
we would know the identity of of the the bidders, but my team and I don't take part in evaluations, yeah, we are wholly independent, so we know who the bids are coming from, but we wouldn't take part in any evaluation.
so what about the councillors on, do they you know if there's a chance that they would have to declare an interest if there is one?
by declare interest are you saying, would they be able to be involved in a tender process and actually sort of bid for work?
if they actually know you know a particular.
you know, provider,
you know they might favour, you know a particular one over another if, if, if they know that person, if you see what I mean.
yeah, we wouldn't allow that and we wouldn't allow the I particularly provided to be challenging at a lesser was a year on the under the new Silva regime that we're trying to put in place here.
it was a large value and the 5,000 pound and we we had a suitable contractor locally that we could go in place that work with, we would allow that under the the sort proposed.
New thresholds, but when it comes to
wider sort of contracting issues, we generally wouldn't allow that we wouldn't allow for somebody to say, Well, we favour them over them, we are, we outline what we need in a and in either an IT or and are of key document. which includes criteria for the assessment of the bids, and then we follow that process through.
how do you know, that is what I mean,
how do you know that a person doesn't have
knowledge of you know that particular provider?
Claude Claudette would like to
come in at this point, so the point I wanted to make here was to just reinforce the relevance of the code of conduct here, and what is outlined in that, and what Members can and cannot do where there is a conflict of interest where there is a an interest to be declared because there is a pecuniary interest of sorts so that would be taken into account to ensure that there is no breach and that the Council is seen to be acting independently. Thank you
thank you.
thankfully, that wanted that.
any more questions, or shall we move on to any debate?
should we move on to the recommendations?
the recommendations as set out in the report
there.
3
one is that the audit and governance committee approve the proposed changes to the constitution to in relation to the contract standing orders.
too, is that the audit and governance committee approve that the head of legal partnership and monitoring officer be authorised to make the necessary amendment to the Constitution to give effect to the recommendation at paragraph 1 above.
3 is that the audit and governance committee recommends that the proposed changes to the Constitution be approved by full Council at the meeting, scheduled for the 5th of April 2023,
while we agreed.
thank you, the motion is carried.

9 Internal Audit Assurance Plan

we now move on to Item 9, which is the internal audit and assurance plan 2023 24
this report starts on page 58 of the agenda,
Ms Woodward, you report, please.
thank you Chair, good evening, members
and said. The purpose of this report is to set out the internal audit and assurance plan for 2023 24 to members, and the report details how the plan is devised, the resources available and the specific audit activities that are to be delivered next year,
so public service and public sector internal audit standards direct that the plan is risk based and so from page 63 onwards that details the global and sector risks that were considered in compiling this plan
and on pages 64 and 65, we consider council specific risks that are included in devising this plan,
the next area that I want to cover is the resources that are available to deliver the internal audit plan. so, from reading the plan, you'll have noted that we do have some vacancies within the service.
we have three vacancies by compost within the team, so at present I'm reviewing the structure.
a structure of the partnership with a view that all substantive posts to be filled from July 23 at the earliest, we do, however, have in our gift access to a range of specialists, specialist expertise through various framework agreements that we have at present, we're currently using some contractors to help us to deliver our internal audit plan, and it's going very well, so we intend to use some of that while we filling our vacancies next year at the start of next year.
section 15 of the report details the total number of days that have been allocated to Tunbridge Wells from the partnership to deliver our internal audit plan.
and section 18 on page 63 sets out the audit engagements that we intend to deliver during 23 24, I think it's really important for you to note that this audit plan is flexible to allow us to respond to any emerging risks or council priorities that will crop up during the year.
so I'm happy to take any questions if anybody has any.
thank you very much, are there any questions?
Mr. Elliott,
thank you.
I was just curious about the the big one.
submission was a safeguarding, which was reported as weak last time.
that was done in 2016 17 says earlier in the report that he tried to get every iv item every five years,
wise Keith, especially as agreed this week, why did that take?
so looking to do.
so you'll appreciate, I've only been in post three months, so this is an inherited plan that that or an inherited system I have in front of me and again it's something that I've been looking at, and it's one of the things that I picked up, which is why it's on this plan because that's exactly what I picked up, you know it was last looked at in 2016 17 for me it's too significant an area for us not to look at now,
just to clarify when it was last looked at it did receive a weak assurance, there were actions that were recommended at that point and they were implemented, so it's not as if the service has remained weak throughout all of that time,
particularly around safeguarding there are some local partners that we work with, particularly with the county, from safeguarding and they have more frequent reviews as well, but I think it's really important that we as a borough
look specifically from our own purpose to include that, so that's why that's included in this year's plan
councillor Macmillan.
I'm really interested to see that contract management is coming, you had to put that into your into your audit this year.
when, when it says contract management, can I assume that include includes consultants as well as contracts for work or physical works, such as whether will it be the basic contract, something else does it include consultants as well?
so primarily we will look at what is on the contracts register, which could include contracts with consultants if we have them, if they are included as part of that contract register, that will be the basis for what we look at
when we start doing that audit in terms of our sampling and so we would we would take a cross section of various different types of contract we have on that register
and make sure that we cover as broad an area as possible because you'll appreciate we can't audit everything all of the time, so that's why we use the sampling approach to try and get the best result at that moment in time.
just as voluptuous as possible. Could I can I could you O'Connor urge that consultant copy how she had what were poorly managed contracts, the advice to contracts we have consultancy contracts, can I urge from an audit perspective those who split up and you look at both sides of those things because I think it's very important that that side of the businesses sorry that side of that sort of contractual obligations is audited.
yeah, it's something I'm not down and willing will will endeavour to include if we can, within the resources we've got available.
Councillor Booth.
thank you Chair just going back to the thing the peddling about contracts, how does that tie in with
what we just heard about cumin as well?
it's actually good to see that we've got a review of the contract Standing orders in place.
obviously that does mean that what I would be very reticent to do an audit at the start of this year, which is only just coming into place if this gets if it goes through Council on the 5th of April it would be an audit that would look to look to do towards the end of the year so that we actually have some real base data that we can assess to make sure that things are going
going in the right direction with that you know, I wouldn't want to look at it three months in when everybody still learning the new rules and regulations and things round so.
again, these things are we work with the services to ensure that the timing is right when we do our audits encouraging we don't want to,
we don't want to create undue pressure, particularly one new areas are being implemented, so then we would I would work with
James team,
in finance to make sure that we do, the timing is right for that audit.
I suppose.
thank you, I just wanted to clarify
safeguarding in this context is the same as safeguarding vulnerable adults and children yeah, what vulnerable adults and children are we safeguarding in regard to the this safeguarding?
potentially any that have contact with the borough. yeah
thank you, thank you.
very more questions or any discussion before we move on to
the recommendations,
the recommendation set out in the report.
it is three paragraphs.
item 1 is approved the internal audit and assurance plan for 2023 24 this includes delegating to the Head of Audit Partnership authority to keep the plan current, as set out in the appendix
to his note, the Head of Audit partnerships, a view that the Partnership currently has sufficient resource to deliver the plan and a robust head of audit opinion.
3 note the Head of Audit partnerships, assurance that the plan is compiled independently and without inappropriate influence from management
or we agreed.
thank you, the motion is carried.

10 External Audit and Value For Money Report March 2022

we'll move on to the next item. Thank you very much for that report.
The next item is item 10
external auditors annual report and value for money conclusions 2021 22
this report starts on page 70 of the agenda.
Mr. Collier will introduce the report before handing over to Mr. Gerry Barton local government VFM manager. Thank you.
Thank you, Chairman. I, the appointed auditor Grant Thornton have issued their annual report, which is appended. There's two main components to the report. The first is the statement of accounts, and this committee received the Audit findings report on the statement of accounts of ministers meeting in September. The second part is what's called the value for money conclusion, and the external auditor has actually made three improvement recommendations based on their findings, and the three recommendations are that the Council has adopted a new corporate plan, and responsibility for that rests with the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive second, that the council should develop a long-term savings plan, our responsibility has been allocated to the Cabinet Member for Finance and performance and the section 1 5 1 officer, and, lastly, that a human resources strategy should be prepared, formally approved and circulated on responsibly for that rest, with the Chief Executive whose Head of Paid Service and also the head of HR and with your consent Chairman I'll pass over to Joey Barton of Grant Thornton to talk through his findings. thank you.
good evening.
this is the second year of what we look at as a relatively new approach to value for money, local government up until 1928, we just.
had a cursory look at your value for money arrangements were in place and gave an opinion on whether we found those arrangements were adequate or not.
In 2021
financial year, the National Audit of his light down a new code of practice, value for money, local government, which means we do more deep dive exercise. It looks at 3.00 themes.
The first one is the financial sustainability of the organisation.
The second one looks at the governance arrangements, which means looking at the risk management, internal audit arrangements and the decision making processes in place within the council, and the final area is how
the council works to improve its value for money which we define as economy effectiveness and efficiency.
I bear in mind the question earlier. the terms can be generally interchangeable, I thought you were going to ask me that, while at the time I thought you were looking at it here.
so that's what we do.
we can raise
what we call significant weaknesses if we find those in any of the three areas under review or we can raise improvement recommendations when we find there are less serious issues which would help best practice at the council, should they decide to
improve those areas as we recommend
the good news is, we found no significant weaknesses in any area at the Council.
and we found no, we made no improvement recommendations in the governance area and improving three years,
we did, as Les said, make three improvement recommendations, and these will sit within the financial sustainability area,
of the work that we did
when we do the financial sustainability work. We are looking for the council to have three key documents in place, a Corporate Plan which sets out the strategic objectives of the organisation
and medium term financial strategy or plan which says how that's going to be paid for and a workforce strategy or HR strategy which says how you're going to achieve that with the right mix of staff
to fit in with a medium term financial plan and B deliver the corporate objectives, and this is the root of the three recommendations that we've made, the first one,
the current corporate plan.
ran out in 2022, I understand the new one is being developed and will be launched after the election, but you need to make sure that that's done and you set set the course for the Council for the next number of years.
when you do that, we are aware and not to analyse made you aware the Council is in a very difficult financial circumstances, not alone in that in local government.
and it's not helped by the uncertainty from central government, which is only for many years now, given a one year settlement, so forward planning is very difficult, but
when you come to consider the corporate plan and the finances
required to deliver that there are some difficult decisions you're going to have to make and you need to look at longer term savings plan.
management team every year have pulled rabbits out of hats, there was a deficit predicted for 21 22, which is the all up debt at year end there was a 400 k surplus.
all due to good financial management, so we know you can deliver on good financial management.
you're getting to the point where the pips are squeaking
and some decisions need to be made on those, and the last thing is how do we do that, what stuff we need to deliver it, and that's why you need to develop the human resources strategy.
I think that's why
I played safe and I fears any questions, Habsi happy to take them.
thank you very.
it's very much for for presenting that report, are there any questions that Members would like to ask?
councillor litter.
thank you Chair, I noticed
comments both in the external audit and in.
Catherine's paper on
a Mid Kent internal audit around turnover so and the risk of staff wellbeing.
leading to the Council sort of having either vacancies or leasing good staff, so I guess my first question is.
is this is something that is impacting the sector or is Tunbridge Wells, experiencing higher current staff, turnover and wellbeing issues than perhaps our peers.
who?
the
these are, so this is something we've been looking at closely, so we're experiencing 25% turnover. This organisation, which is, I would say, very high, puts enormous strain on services and the staff are left in post,
and we only tend to have about 85% of our establishment imposed at any one point in time so again,
staff already having to work more than 100% of what's expected of them because we haven't been able to fill the posts required to deliver the service, we've looked at other councils and ESA local government sector issue.
the turnover rates vary 15 to 25% is quite common but it's a very competitive market out there, though the world of work has changed to the pandemic, so it's really important I welcome the recommendation of ex-soldiers. We desperately need an up-to-date human resources strategy, so we as officers and as senior managers know how we can try to address this situation and reassure staff that this is a great place to work. This is a fulfilling career and attract a wider pool of potential employees of the future to look at local government as as a rewarding career.
thank you,
dear, please
like to confirm what they said, this is a local government, national problem
Kent is another is particular the hard hit pool because of the proximity of London, people can get on a train for half an hour and considerably more money,
so
recruiting it around the whole, the answering of name 25 is difficult.
thank you fellow in question list
of sources of follow up really yeah, thank you that that's helpful.
it's just an observation really,
because I noticed in Catherine you report you talked about the impact of kind of remote working on loneliness of staff, I think it would be really interesting to kind of question that pop's assumption
because certainly one thing we know is that we we won't be able to you know with budgets as tight as they are increasing salaries, I imagine it's going to be nigh on impossible for us as a Local Authority so
the only other option available to us, presumably is is to
as Lisa to sort of make this
and a desirable place to work.
and perhaps
you know post Covid.
things like flexibility, flexible working arrangements, maybe something that we can offer
that that others can't so
you know, I know my employers looked at things like condense working in a full day for a week's and things like that so.
dear
offering the headspace and a challenge brought together into question some of the assumptions around remote working, having a negative impact on and stuff well-being, it may be that that's what we find,
but vice versa, it might be that that this is a potential
you know
differentiator for the council against other other employers if we can
offer something a bit more flexible to to staff. in the knowledge that we can't really offer,
presumably much more money.
yeah thank thank you, we've always been a very flexible employer, but so is everybody nowadays. within the budget we actually improve the HR change manager, to look afresh at all our policies, to see how we can encourage and recruit people, but ironically, that change manager recruitment that's also been unsuccessful, despite two attempts that the market for those is very competitive, so we will have to consider how else alternative ways of
getting those policies updated.
thank you, I think I have a question from Councillor Barrass.
while I
when, on the last point seemed more of a discussion point and I went away that we were actually moving into discussion,
perhaps we have moved into discussion.
but, Councillor Paris,
thank you Chair,
can you
understand we've made a what, what level of saving have we made from under resourcing the officer officers in terms of? numbers and is there does that create a?
a indirect display and every inverse proportionality or inverse relationship between financial
meeting of urgent objectives and meeting our recruitment objectives, and how do we square that circle if that is the case?
you're absolutely right, so the quarter 3 Revenue Manager report actually turned around, we were facing a deficit in quarter 2, but with that's been turned around due to a 1 million pounds underspend in staffing so by quarter 3 in effect we were we felt an that services would be unable to fill those vacant posts within the current year we would come too close to the end of year so what we do in accounting terms, we keep those at the budget up as a saving, that's a 1 million pounds. financial windfall to the council, but to the detriment of the staffing establishment. In many ways, it is a failure to not be able to recruit and fill those particular posts. So on the one hand it helps our financial situation, but it is not a safe, sustainable outcome in terms of staffing the effect on workloads and morale. So it is a temporary piece of good news, but one we must seriously address in order to make sure that we do recruit to those posts. All the posts are required to deliver our statutory responsibilities. and that's what we need to do so every year when we set the budget, we set the budget on a full establishment, I have a number of posts required to deliver every service we already building ACE, a vacancy factor of around about 5% because there will be some natural financial savings through the natural turnover of staff and new staff starting below the market rate as they build their their knowledge up and learn out. ways of working, so you'll see that on quarter 3 Revenue measure imports and we will update those every quarter and also appended to the Revenue Manager report is actually the establishment in terms of the number of posts the Council budgeted for and the numbers each quarter there are actually imposed and an explanation of those vacant posts we are struggling to recruit to.
thank you.
they go to a. Mr. Elliott,
thank you
the 25% turnover figure was the target headcount, but that's applied to.
so our establishment is as about 340 employees, that's full time equivalent employees.
thank you very much, but I just wanted to know
the impact of 25%
in absolute terms.
councillors.
thank you Chair, and thank
you Lee the highlights what I was talking about as well before, about the difference between value for money and best value, that you save that money, but it's not best value for the staff that all occasions I know that staff shortages in my employer and KCC has a detrimental effect
ultimately on the staff that left their
if you're too short staffed.
you're papering
cracks too thinly.
it's not really Christian already, so Councillor Alan.
I just kind of asked the question about how many staff we have and obviously some staff time, but the gentleman over there pretty much covered the question, thank you.
thank you
any more
Councillor dwellings.
I just think I make the point that the finance and governance cab
last week, which
were actually I made, the point that.
savings in staff costs achieved, while of the last things you want to achieve is the staff complement is there to deliver the Council's priorities, and if the we don't have the staff in place, then we're not going to be delivering the Council's priorities.
but I wanted to make a comment on them.
firstly, to just to remind everyone that
we did have a clean audit report that are given to, I think, to our last meeting, that was our 13th
clean audit report in a row.
9% only 9% of councils
are getting a clean audit report, and so too have 13 in a row is a pretty remarkable achievement and at some stage something will happen.
that will mean that we don't, but I mean I think it's it's it's incredibly important, and it's an incredible record, and it's incredibly important that we recognise
what it was, it would aggravate growth, what a great achievement that is
now, I think we
on
one of the recommendations is to have a corporate plan. now we we raise this at full Council, and we we.
I'm a corporate plan, but I don't think it is as such a corporate plan. a corporate plan needs to indicate priorities and cars and have a timetable, and I just think that the
the
plan we agreed at full council really does need to be sharpened up in order to satisfy our auditors and maintain the clean audit record that we've been enjoying,
thank you.
just going to make a brief comment, my mind is, I think the current plan that that was presented at Full Council is a an interim which is going, they're going to work up to the full plan, so it is, it is an interim,
plan working up to that.
this gives an interim plan, but it still needs to have priorities, cost and timetable.
I think everybody would agree, Councillor McMillan,
only discussion part of this that
it's just an observation from my site that the
Part 3 was about about.
the workforce plan and people training.
I and I kind of unkind are really surprised by by that I mean, I understand why it's priority, but unjust and Scottish surprise that as a Council and we've we we've got, we got so your officers who lead the council to me, the fact that they are leading the council that they're there should be chippy
rather than the head of the council, to the Head of Paid Services should should be doing this any as a part of his role, because basically, people strategy and people training is is what a C or any of places should be doing, and I have some concern. This is an observation, but I have some concern about maybe the culture then that we have here at it to WBC or is there a problem with the culture because when we talked about between 15 and 25% of turnover were at the high end of that,
and now there could be a number of reasons for it, but I do, I do believe from selling my experience and certainly speaking to other people, that culture within an organisation is very, very, very important and that starts at the top, and that has to be ongoing. It shouldn't be a plan, it should be kept, now be created. It should be an ongoing plan that should be in operation over a number of years, and that's just just an observation from my side
to see anybody presumably have
anything to to say, I think you're right, well, I'm sure there is some
workforce plan of, but perhaps not a form or more more formal plan or strategy, which I think is why it's a recommendation.
but and I think that everybody will agree, that is an important thing to have in place, and it would be.
something that is being picked up,
the chair, it's not just the plan and it's also the culture around that plan, and I think that's something that we need to be well. It certainly decided that the organisation itself needs to be very clear upon because that that that is that you can have the best plan as well, but you don't incorporate it properly and it's not led properly then the the issue. It is a pointless exercise, it is about culture as well, and the fact that we are losing 25% of our officers seems to me that there's this is not just the many issues pubs pick, potentially is a culture issue as well
Councillor
thank you,
thank you Chair.
I think there's a myriad of reasons probably why will why there's such a turnover, and I know that
the chief executive has said on many occasions to me and other councillors about the
attempts
successful in the main that are made to
make Tunbridge Wells Borough Council a good place to work
and and a cohesive workplace with a good culture.
and I let him
speak about that at some point to you and to everybody, because he will that length or not, I'm,
but I think it's an endemic problem with.
public services.
and it's been a problem, since
there are 2010.
and with the
youth rebalancing, as was said, of the economy,
and I, I think when you look at what's happened to wages.
in public services over that time, then, the answer is part of the question as well.
if we are, if public services services out of the offer, then
people are going to vote with their feet.
especially in
recent times with.
or the cost of living crisis that we have at the moment.
councillors that add at I kind of agree with that, but as I said, it's a mirror that he was my observation, but what I wrote, I say that having spoken to a number of officers that have left this organisation, they have not left this organisation is going to enter into private practice into the papillae into the private sector. They've left to go to other other organisations for similar work now that that now, in terms of the in terms of the the salary increase, potentially or something that all the position increase or the the level of responsibility there, given the fact that a number of them are leaving to go to sit, go to similar organisations, Desk-Use me some cause for concern if they want to go to private practice. I'd accept that, but that's not the case
Councillor dwellings.
I think I very much agree with what Alan Lewis is actually said, this has been choppy waters for local authorities since
quite 2010, I think it was 2011 or 12 when the step reduction in local authority.
the Revenue support Grant kicked in
the revenue support grant for Tunbridge Wells was 5 million pounds
and that that 5 million pounds less was reduced over a period of, I think, six years,
and so that was the first bit of
major.
tightening that. local authorities had to address and substantially in Tunbridge Wells, it was addressed by
reviewing our staffing complement and by setting up shared services in the Mid Kent
and Mid Kent shared services, I think, a huge success in its it's contributed to substantial savings by
all the members of the or all the barroso involved in it,
I think the waters got a bit choppier.
in the last year in a we were emerging from a from a lockdown,
people were then taking stock of lots of things that they wanted or didn't want.
and that that presented some some more choppy waters, I think, for the most part, I think this Council looks after its staff well and has a very good
or very good
culture of people getting on well together.
and that has helped us
on the edge of London, offering lower salaries,
and I think it's a point that the Gehry made of the vulnerability that that we that we have in particular with close close contact to London,
but what's happened in the last?
yeah or two is that people can actually
work from Tunbridge Wells or around Tunbridge Wells for a London borough and only go in one or two days a week, so they're drawing a London salary for actually living living and working still around Tunbridge Wells, so it presents an even greater vulnerability, and I think I'd just like to finish by saying that actually I think,
senior staff here do a really good job in in encouraging and bringing on bringing on officers.
thank you, Councillor doings, Councillor Morton.
yes, I agree with that observation and we did discuss this at.
the finance and
general purposes of sorry, financial governance, some committee,
but I do wonder
why it is that it seems to be
the middle management part of the borough council that seems to be
deficient, because we we, we've kept, obviously we've kept the top.
management layer, but my observation over and over the last 10 years is that it really is the middle management that seems to be missing.
thank you, Councillor Lewis,
thank you Chair, yes, we have kept the top layer, but there there is a reduced number of roles in posts in the top layer we, we've have had more directors in the past.
we don't have that any more, I mean part of the problem.
that has been, I think, with Tunbridge Wells is the victim of his own success.
the that there aren't enough
roles for people to progress into, so they progress into these roles into other authorities, so where somebody might be a
want to become a chief executive, or that I mean, is there's only one one position where that's available and
for the best will in the world, there aren't as many senior roles as they used to be in Inn in Tunbridge Wells, and that's
evidenced with as part of the evidence as Councillor Dawlish was talking about in the the the the lack of money that is coming from central central government into. into local government these days.
Councillor Elin
and play posters, put you on the spot again button and in terms of producing an action plan for so the since the free Andrew staffing it to 2 am is it possible, would it be necessary to?
the board, a detailed breakdown of which departments
need recruitment,
how many I don't know if that may or may help
way of assessing it.
yeah, I think he raised a good point and this debate around the council's inability to recruit and retain staff the level it needs no having a debate here, and there's a similar debate at finance and governance as well, I think some of that is because we report in detail financial performance. but we don't necessarily produce HR performance in terms of success, recruitment campaigns why they failed staff sickness staff, attendance staff, performance staff, there's a whole myriad of performance related to HR function that I think is absent from much of our reporting. You hear from me quite often talk about finance and it leaves into the HR side of the organisation, but I think we need to review our performance framework so you get to see members get to see indicators around human resources and hear from the human resources manager or the Head of Paid Service who have overall responsibility for those policies and performance, I'm really only best qualified to answer the financial side of things and give my take as an experienced senior manager, but I'm not a professionally qualified HR manager,
thank you.
Councillor McMillan, I think that an absolutely
excellent idea, fantastic idea,
I think it's something we should recommend.
what I think is recommendation 3, is it probably comes under that, which I think the discussion we've had over the last 15 minutes is saying that recommendation 3 is a very important recommendation that hopefully will lead to two.
yeah a bigger strategy about workforce, and I think with the recent challenges of Covid and the changes in working behaviour, it's probably a really important thing to to be working on Jet is, are there any more discussion of shall we move on to move on to the recommendations?
so the recommendation as set out in the report
is that the Committee consider and agree the Auditor's annual report and value for money conclusions
are we agreed?
the motion is carried, thank you.

11 External Audit Contract

the next item is the external audit contract
this report starts on page 1 1 2 of the agenda,
Mr. Collier, your report, please.
thank you, Chairman sorry, December 2021 Full Council decided to opt into the national framework for the procurement of external audit as supported by the Local government Association and, as did over 99% of all other councils, the public Sector Audit appointments Ltd is the body nominated by the government to run that procurement exercise. and they have awarded the contract for the south-east to Grant Thornton, and this report is really just for noting that there's a new contract being awarded to grant for for five years as this council's external auditor, thank you Chairman.
thank you,
members, other any questions.
Councillor Lewis,
well, it's not a question, it's a comment and I was just going to say that.
on the basis of the report that we've just been presented to beforehand, I think would
be very happy to I'll be very happy for us to continue with the with our association with Graeme Swann.
thank you, Councillor dwellings.
well, I think it is exactly the right thing to get involved with the public Sector Audit appointments,
Grant Thornton have been old, it is here for.
some years
they took over a great deal of work from the
Audit Commission when,
when that was closed down, they are very, they have a high expertise in
local authority audits, and I think it's absolutely the right thing to do to in Dawson appointment.
thank you.
anyone else to show me any more questions or comments shall we move on to the recommendation
the recommendation, as set out in the report, is that the audit and governance
committee notes
the appointment of Grant Thornton UK and OP as external auditor for five years, from
2023 24 to 2027 20 8
or we agreed agree.
thank you, the motion is carried.

13 Urgent Business

we now move on to item number 13, urgent business, I can confirm there is no such business this evening,

14 Date of Next Meeting Tuesday 25 July 2023

so item 14 date of the
next meeting.
the next meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, the 25th
of July 2023.
the meeting is now closed, thank you for your attendance.
agenda.