MINUTES of the Meeting held in the Committee Room, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne on Tuesday 29th June 2010 from 7:00 pm to 8:40 pm.
Present: Councillor Prescott (Chairman), Councillor Nicholas Hampshire (Vice-Chairman), Councillors Trevor Fentiman, Chris Foulds, Harrison and Mike Haywood.
Officers Present: Eric Fisher, Caroline Frampton, Zoe Kent, Robert Kern, Kellie Mackenzie, Kieren Mansfield and Mark Radford (Swale Borough Council), Jennie Daughtry and Brian Parsons (Mid Kent Internal Audit Partnership) and Steve Golding and Mark Swinerd (Audit Commission).
Apologies: Councillors Paul Sturdgess and Ted Wilcox.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26th May 2010 (Minutes Nos. 38 - 47) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
declarations of interest
Councillor Prescott advised that he would not take part in the discussions on Agenda Item No. 4 (Faversham Enterprise Partnership (FEP) - request for continued funding support) as he had a personal and prejudicial interest and he left the room during consideration of this item.
part a minutes for confirmation by council
faversham enterprise partnership - request for continued funding support
The Chairman left the room and the Vice-Chairman took the Chair for this item.
The Chairman introduced the report which presented the business plan of the FEP and its accounts for approval as requested at the Audit Committee on 26th May 2010.
Members raised concern that the Business Plan did not demonstrate that the FEP would become self-financing. They did not consider that SBC should contribute £4,000 at a time of financial uncertainty.
A proposal to defer the matter back to the Executive as the Audit Committee were not satisfied that the Business Plan provided enough information to show that the FEP would become self-financing was moved.
The proposal was seconded and upon being put to the vote it was agreed.
(1) That the item be deferred back to the Executive as the Audit Committee do not accept that a satisfactory Business Plan has been provided or that the FEP will become self-financing and SBC should not contribute £4,000 to the FEP during a time of financial uncertainty.
housing benefits subsidy errors
The Assistant Revenues and Benefits Manager introduced the report which provided clarification that the necessary training for Housing Benefit staff had been carried out in order to reduce the number of Housing Benefit claim errors.
In response to queries, the Assistant Revenues and Benefits Manager explained that Swale were under the same pressures as other Authorities with increased work loads, reductions in staff and benefit regulations that changed almost weekly. She was confident however that with the training measures implemented they would be able to achieve the 98 per cent accuracy target set.
Discussions ensued with regard to Performance Indicators and the Corporate Services Director explained that these could be accessed by Members through the Covalent system.
Members welcomed the report and the measures put in place to reduce the number of errors.
(1) That the report be noted.
part b minutes for the audit committee to decide
draft statement of accounts 2009/10
The Chairman welcomed the Interim Head of Finance, Chief Accountant, Interim Principal Accountant and Principal Accountant (Technical) to the meeting. The Committee considered the Statement of Accounts for 2009/2010.
The Chief Accountant took the Committee through the report and drew attention to the tabled amendments including a Guide to the Accounts, a note on Ports Business Rates, the Cash Flow, Officers' emoluments and changes to debtors, creditors and financial instruments.
Page 16 - Collection Fund
The Chief Accountant advised that the surplus balance should read £716,000 and the difference between this surplus balance to what was estimated in January 2010 should read £128,000.
Ports Revaluation (tabled paper)
In response to queries the Assistant Revenues and Benefits Manager explained that ratepayers would be informed as soon as guidance from Communities and Local Government had been received.
The Head of Finance agreed to report back to Members on whether SBC had in the past received a qualification on the final accounts in a previous year.
Page 8 - Accounting for Pensions under FRS17
In response to queries, the Interim Head of Finance explained that impact on council tax would not be known until the outcome of the triennial actuarial review was completed in November 2010 and this would be reported to Executive in December 2010.
Officers Remuneration (tabled paper)
The Corporate Services Director confirmed that legal agreements were now in place, agency staff were not shown in the paper due to confidentiality issues.
Pages 17-27 Annual Governance Statement
The Corporate Services Director advised that the Annual Governance Statement had now been agreed.
Page 74 - Contingent Assets
In response to a query from a Member, the Chief Accountant advised that the Insurer had now been identified with regard to the Mesothelioma Insurance Claim and a response was awaited.
The Interim Head of Finance agreed to write to the offending company advising them of the Audit Committee's concerns.
Page 80 - Note 30 (g) History of Gains and Losses on the Pension Fund
The first sentence should read "actuarial losses".
Pages 88 - Group Accounts
The comment "and the Council's commitment to the Committee was to fund any annual deficit" should be deleted.
(1) That subject to presentational and other amendments detailed in the above Minute and tabled papers, the draft Statement of Accounts for 2009-10 be adopted.
All Minutes are draft until agreed at the next meeting of the Committee/Panel
View the Agenda for this meeting