The report and appendices are attached.
Chris Norton (Strategy and Commissioning Manager, Treasury, Pension, Audit & Risk) introduced the report, stating that the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) was a statutory annual report which accompanied the annual accounts. He reported that the document presented to the Committee had been considered by officers, including Corporate Board and a dedicated AGS Panel. He summarised the key features of the AGS which included an updated Code of Corporate Governance, actions delivered as part of the Council’s response to COVID-19, and the introduction of a new Risk Management Framework and Change Portfolio of Governance. With the Committee’s consent, the AGS would be forwarded to the External Auditors for onward consideration.
Councillor Gifford highlighted the risk of continuing pressure on Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) included within the AGS, and the opening of the Warwickshire Academy to provide specialist provision for students with support needs; this was a positive initiative.
In response to Councillor Feeney, Andrew Felton (Assistant Director, Finance) advised that pressure on Adult Social Care services was recognised, but it was not considered to be a key risk of such significance for the Authority to require it to be included within the AGS. He stated that the MTFS would enable funding to be made available to support service delivery in this area. The Adult Social Care precept would provide additional funds. He advised that challenges would not be overlooked, but WCC was not exposed to the same levels of uncertainty experienced by some other local authorities in this area.
The Chair verified that members were aware of the Council’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan. He praised the quality of the draft AGS.
That the Committee endorses the draft Annual Governance Statement for onward consideration by the Council’s External Auditors.