The Annual Report highlights some of the work undertaken by the Audit & Standards Committee through 2020/21 and looks ahead to issues that the Committee will examine in the coming year.
Councillor Andy Jenns introduced the published report and moved the motion stating the Audit and Standards Committee had undertaken some very valuable work over the last 12 months. He thanked members of the committee and John Bridgeman, the Chair of their committee for their hard work.
Councillor Parminder Singh Birdi seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak.
Councillor Bill Gifford observed that at present the Audit and Standards Committee has no Vice Chair. If John Bridgeman, the Chair, left for any reason or was unable to attend a meeting not having a Vice Chair would present problems.
Councillor Parminder Singh Birdi (Seconder of the Motion) welcomed cross party support for the report. He echoed support for John Bridgeman and agreed that a new independent member should be recruited. In addition, the work of officers and internal and external auditors was commended.
A vote was held. The motion was carried unanimously.
That Council endorses the Annual Report of the Audit & Standards Committee.
The report and appendix are attached.
The Chair summarised the areas of the Committee’s work during 2020/21 which featured within the Annual Report including the response of the organisation to COVID-19, the implications of the UK’s departure from the EU, and the attention given to Internal Audit work in the area of Safeguarding.
The Chair referred to the ongoing difficulty of recruiting a second independent member. He observed that the presence of an experienced independent chair could serve to deter some capable applicants. He indicated that he would be content to stand down and reapply if it was felt that this would improve the outlook for recruitment.
Councillor Horner and Councillor Gifford commented that the departure of the Chair would be a cause for concern and counselled against this course of action.
There was agreement that the report accurately reflected the Committee’s work during 2020/21.
That the Committee endorses the Annual Report and agrees that it be forwarded to Council for approval.