Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Committee
Thursday, 3rd December, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: MS Teams

Contact: Philip Slawther, Principal Committee Co-ordinator 

Note: This meeting will be webcast - use the link on the agenda frontsheet or copy and paste the following link into your internet browser: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZDU3MjMzYWMtMjIwYi00Y2E4LTkwZjQtMzg3MjdiNmEyNjI5%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%226ddfa760-8cd5-44a8-8e48-d8ca487731c3%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22f5230856-79e8-4651-a903-97aa289e8eff%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d 

Items
No. Item

165.

FILMING AT MEETINGS

Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 

 

By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.

 

The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.

Minutes:

The Chair referred Members present to agenda Item 1 as shown on the agenda in respect of filming at this meeting, and Members noted the information contained therein.

166.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions (if any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Berryman and Cllr Dogan.

167.

Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business. (late items will be considered under the agenda items where they appear.  New items will be dealt with at item )

Minutes:

There were no items of Urgent Business

168.

Declarations of Interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:

 

(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.

 

A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.

 

Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest.

169.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

The Committee received two deputations in relation to agenda Item 10, the Renaming of Black Boy Lane.

 

The first deputation was given by Anna Taylor and Ian Jackson Reeves both residents of Black Boy Lane. Below is a summary of the key points made as part of the deputation:

  • Concerns were raised that the discussion to date on the subject seemed to be focused around ideology and insufficient consideration had been given to the practical realities involved and the huge impact that the change of name would have on local residents.
  • A number of legal and important documents would have to be changed including pensions, passports, immigration documents, bank accounts and mortgage statements, for example. The cost of this would be significant and the suggested compensation figure of £300 would not be enough for many people. The change of address would also invalidate some insurance policies which could have a huge financial impact on individuals.
  • Particular concerns were put forward about the additional cost on non-UK citizens and those with dual nationality who would have to resubmit immigration and visa documents to the Home Office, many of which would require lawyers to be present and would, as a result, be very expensive. In addition to the cost involved, many people were naturally wary of doing anything that may result in questions being asked about their visa/immigration status.
  • Concerns were also put forward with the inadequacy of consultation until now on this proposal in general terms, as well as a specific failure to engage with residents, who were elderly or otherwise hard to reach.
  • Ms Taylor advocated that common sense had to be used and that the impact and cost to residents had not been properly understood.
  • Mr Jackson-Reeves commented that the proposal smacked of tokenism and that the amount of money being spent on changing a name could be far better put to use by supporting those most in need.
  • It was reiterated that the number of places that a person’s address was officially registered had not seemingly been fully appreciated and that a cursory search online would show how important a person’s address was.  The cost to people of having to change all of these and the time and effort spent doing so was unrealistic for a lot of residents.

 

In response to the deputation, the Committee put forward a number of questions:

  1. In response to a question around the consultation process, the deputation party advised that the consultation was very limited and that this had primarily consisted of one letter sent out to residents in June/July, which a number of residents did not receive due to some people’s addresses being missed off the list. The Committee was advised that the whole consultation process seemed to be very confused, particularly in terms of the order in which things had been done. Further concerns were outlined with this taking place during Covid-19 and an inability to meet with the Council in person to discuss the matter. Mr Jackson Reeves set  ...  view the full minutes text for item 169.

170.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 565 KB

To consider and agree the minutes of the meeting held on 30th July 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 30th July 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

171.

Update on the renaming of Black Boy Lane pdf icon PDF 722 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

* Clerk’s note – The Committee agreed to vary the order of the agenda in order to take the item of renaming of Black Boy Lane first, followed by the External Auditors update. The minutes reflect the order in which items were considered at the meeting, rather than the order on the published agenda.* 

 

The Committee received a report which provided an update on the renaming of Black Boy Lane and recommended that Corporate Committee agreed to proceed to a statutory consultation on the renaming to La Rose Lane, following a report to the Committee in July and the subsequent consultation with local residents on the two possible street names which were ‘La Rose Lane’ and ‘Jocelyn Barrow Lane’.  The report was introduced by Rob Krzyszowski, Interim Assistant Director for Planning, Building Standards and Sustainability as set out on pages 49-84. The Leader of the Council, Joe Ejiofor was also present for this item.

 

The Leader of the Council advised the Committee that the decision being asked of them was just to agree to take this issue to the next stage and agree that a formal consultation be launched on changing the name. It was suggested that many of the concerns raised by residents and by the deputation party would be addressed as part of this consultation and captured in a future report to Committee, which would formally seek authorisation for the name change. The Leader also advised the Committee that he had been in regular contact with the family of Mr La Rose and they were very supportive of this change. The Leader also noted that this was an important task, as language mattered.

 

The following was raised in discussion of this item:

  1. The Committee commented that more work needed to be done around engaging with residents and ensuring that they were supportive of this change. In response, officers advised that the Council had made a conscious decision to undertake a consultation at an early stage and to consult on two possible names. Under the legislation, the Council could have just picked a name and gone straight to the statutory consultation process. However, it was felt important to offer residents a choice and to seek to engage them at an early stage.
  2. The Committee raised concerns with the email circulated to all councillors received from the Padmore Institute, which was responsible for protecting Mr La Rose’s legacy and who had voiced various concerns and expressed opposition to the proposed change of street name.  The Committee sought assurance around why the family and the institute had not been consulted with at the start of this process. The Committee also requested clarification as to why other names had not been considered.
  3. The Committee noted with concern that the estimation of costs from residents compared to what was set out in the report seemed to vary widely. The Committee voiced their disappointment  that the report did not include a full costing per person of what the change in street name would cost.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 171.

172.

Progress Update on the Audit of the Final Statement of Accounts 2019/20

Verbal update.

Minutes:

The Committee received a verbal update from Leigh Lloyd-Thomas from the external auditors, BDO on the Audit of the Final Statement of Accounts 2019/20. The Committee was advised that the onset of Covid had significantly impacted the ability of the sector to undertake all of the required audits within the given timescales and that only around half of local government audits had been signed off by September. BDO advised that Haringey’s audit started around a month ago. It was anticipated that the field work would be completed by Christmas and that it would be ready to be signed off in January. The Committee noted that the Council had submitted the final accounts on time but that auditors had simply not had the staff to complete it on time.

 

BDO fed back that they had been able to sign off three ongoing objections to the statement of accounts. These objections related to: Spending on the initial phase of the Haringey Development Vehicle; contract monitoring of PFI contracts for schools; and an allegation of non-compliance with penalties for non-payment of Council Tax. In all three cases the auditors had written to objectors to explain that they had investigated and found nothing of concern. BDO also advised that they had also received one new objection to the current statement of accounts which related to governance structures around the Council housing programme. This specifically related to a case were a property was purchased, was subsequently deemed to be surplus to requirements and then put back on the market for significantly less than the purchase price. BDO advised that there may be a very good reason for this, but that further investigation was required before a determination could be made. 

 

The following was raised in discussion of this item:

a.    In response to a question, Leigh Lloyd-Thomas from BDO advised that they had not found any issues to date that crossed the materiality threshold but cautioned that there was still work to be done and that he could not say for certain that there wouldn’t be going forward.

b.    In response to a question, BDO reassured Members that the objections raised at present were not considered material and would not affect the auditor’s ability to certify the accounts as true and fair.

c.    BDO advised that since the final accounts were compiled, Kingston Council had lost an appeal around repaying a surcharge for tenants’ water rates and that any council who had undertaken a similar scheme with Thames Water was expected to repay tenants for the excess amounts charged. It was noted that Haringey’s legal and finance officers were looking at the potential exposure for the Council. In response to a question, BDO advised that they could not determine whether this would exceed the materiality threshold until Haringey had determined the number of people who may be affected, and the amounts of money involved.

d.    The Committee raised concerns about the fact that the deadline for the signing off of the accounts would be missed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 172.

173.

Update on the Audit of the Housing Delivery Programme pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received a report which provided an update on recommendations from the Housing Delivery Programme audit, that had been implemented since the last update to Corporate Committee report on 30th July 2020. The report was introduced by Robbie Erbmann, AD for Housing and Anna Blandford, Senior Housing Project Manager, as set out in the agenda pack at pages 17-24. The following arose during the discussion of this item:

  1. In response to a request for reassurance around delivery architecture for the programme, officers advised that a full suite of delivery architecture was in place. Since the July meeting the cash flow system, Sequel, has been embedded into the team to support the Pro Val system in providing cash flow analysis all the way through a project and all staff had received training on it.  Highlight reports had also been introduced and these fed into programme highlight reports that were reported up to programme highlight reports received by the Housing Delivery Board.
  2. In relation to a question around the communications plan and wider engagement, officers advised that prior to the communications, consultation and engagement procedure notes and guidance being in place, there was guidance that existed for officers around consultation and engagement, but with the onset of Covid these had been updated and revised.
  3. The Chair noted concerns around the consultation experiences of some people previously in relation to the Delivery Programme and requested that officers share further details of the three cases of statutory consultation that were undertaken during Covid. (Action: Anna Blandford).
  4. The Committee commented that they would have liked for the project pro-formas and templates of how the programme was managing risk to be included in the report as an appendix, given the large amounts of money involved. Officers agreed to share copies of the blank project templates with the Committee. (Action: Anna Blandford).
  5. The Chair requested assurance that every project within the programme was part of a database that recorded what the project was, the cost, who was responsible etcetera. The Chair also sought assurance that the database was closely monitored and regularly updated. In response, the AD advised that every project that had a gateway zero, which was every project agreed by Cabinet to go into the Housing Delivery Programme, was included in the database. Officers acknowledged that this was regularly reported upwards to the Programme Board and Cabinet and that any slippages would be reported on a monthly basis.
  6. The AD for Housing agreed that a follow-up mini audit be undertaken by Mazars in few months’ time to look at the processes and systems in place within the Housing Delivery team. (Action: Robbie Erbmann & Minesh Jani).

 

RESOLVED

That Corporate Committee

  1. Noted the progress made to date on actions following the Corporate Committee report on 30th July 2020.

 

  1. Noted that all actions from the Council House Delivery Programme Audit from

December 2019 have now been completed.

174.

Treasury Management Update Report Q2 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report which provided an update on the Council’s treasury management activities and performance in the three months to 30 September 2020, in accordance with the CIPFA Treasury Management Code of Practice. The Committee were advised that all treasury management activities carried out were within agreed parameters set by the Treasury Management Strategy and that all performance indicators had been met. The report was introduced by Oladapo Shonola, Head of Pensions & Treasury, as set out in the agenda pack at pages 29-52. The following was raised in discussion of this item:

  1. In response to a question around a large movement of £41.1m related to the Debt Management Office between March and June, officers advised that this reflected the fact that the authority had £77m invested with the DMO in March, but as the year progressed the Council spent down its balances so there was less money invested with the DMO.
  2. In response to a question around the rate of maturity increasing between March and June, officers advised that the authority had managed to secure more longer term borrowing, which was a positive as it usually meant a higher yield on the investment.
  3. In response to a question, officers advised that in relation to non-treasury investments, the Council provided a number of soft loans to partners. The most prominent example of this was Alexandra Palace. Officers acknowledged that any loan provided to the management company for Alexandra House would be reflected here in future reports.
  4. Officers agreed to circulate a list of organisations and partners who the Council provided loans to. (Action: Dapo).

 

 

RESOLVED

 

The Corporate Committee:

 

  1. Noted the half year Treasury Management report detailing the activity

undertaken during the first half of the financial year to 30 September

2020 and the performance achieved, attached at Appendix 1 of the report;

 

  1. Noted the Treasury Management activity undertaken during the first

quarter of 2020/21 (April to June 2020) and the performance achieved

attached at Appendix 2 of the report;

 

  1. That Members noted that all treasury activities were undertaken in line

with the approved Treasury Management Strategy.

 

175.

Quarter 2 Audit, Risk & Fraud Update pdf icon PDF 334 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received a report which provided a combined update on the work undertaken by the in-house Audit and FraudResources team, as well as its outsourced partner Mazars, for the quarterending 30 September 2020.  The report was introduced by Minesh Jani, Head of Audit and Risk Management, as set out in the agenda pack at pages 85-92. The following was raised in discussion of this item:

a.    In response to a question, officers advised that the target for reclaiming properties was a notional target to measure the team’s performance in reclaiming properties that had been secured fraudulently by people who had no entitlement to a council property. A national study had found that the percentage of fraudulently held council tenancies was around 5% and this measure was the means by which the Council could monitor such activity.

b.    In relation to a question around Right to Buy properties purchased with fraudulent funds, officers advised that checks were carried out as part of money laundering regulations to establish the source of funds used to purchase a property, to ensure that those funds were legitimate.

c.    The Committee enquired what audit processes were in place to oversee the millions of pounds of government money distributed locally in response to Covid. In response, officers acknowledged that this was a huge task, particularly as the government had stipulated that limited entitlement checks were undertaken, in order to speed up the distribution of grants to businesses.  Instead, local authorities would be carrying out a robust process of post assurance checks, including cross-referencing national fraud databases and working with the National Fraud Initiative. The Council was submitting monthly returns to government on this.

d.    In relation to non-fraudulent Right to Buy applications that were refused, officers advised that the role of the Fraud Team was to ensure that things were done properly and that there was an additional level of assurance. The Fraud Team did not interfere in the application process but there were some situations that would illicit involvement and checks being undertaken by the service to ensure that the person was entitled to purchase the property.

e.    In relation to a question, officers advised that where there was sufficient evidence, cases would be referred to the Police and that the Council was also able to use its in-house Legal team to prosecute. There were currently two cases of tenancy fraud being progressed internally.

f.     The Head of Audit and Risk Management agreed to send the audit plan for the year to the Committee. (Action: Minesh Jani).

g.    The Committee requested a provisional assessment of the robustness of internal systems for monitoring/auditing Covid-related grants distributed by Haringey on behalf of the government. (Action: Minesh Jani).

h.    The Chair requested a follow-up report on the audit of the disposal of assets, following the points of clarification requested at the last meeting and to provide further assurance that the recommendations had been fully implemented. (Action: Minesh Jani).

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Corporate Committee noted the activities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 175.

176.

Risk Management Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 285 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Corporate Committee considered the Risk Management Policy and associated Risk Management Strategy as part of its Terms of Reference for monitoring the effectiveness of systems for the management of risk across the Council and compliance with them. The report was introduced by Minesh Jani, Head of Audit and Risk Management as set out in the agenda pack at pages 93-118. The following points were raised in discussion of the report:

  1. The Committee sought reassurance around the extent to which services were consulted on the Risk Register. In response, officers advised that the risk register was a corporate document and that the Head of Audit and Risk Management consulted with senior officers and finance leads across the organisation to ensure that the register reflected the key risks. The Head of Audit and Risk Management acknowledged that this was a live document and that it needed to be kept up-to-date in order for it to be relevant.
  2. The Committee sought clarification around the corporate Risk Register, in terms of who owned and produced it and how that fed into the wider Risk Management Policy. The Head of Audit and Risk Management agreed to provide a response in writing due to the fact that meeting was overrunning. (Action: Minesh Jani).

 

RESOLVED

That Corporate Committee

 

  1. Reviewed and approved the Corporate Risk Management Policy and associated Risk Management Strategy.

 

  1. Noted the Covid risk register as at 31 October 2020.

 

177.

Anti-Fraud & Corruption Strategy pdf icon PDF 285 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the Anti-Fraud & Corruption Strategy and covering report. The report was introduced by Minesh Jani, Head of Audit and Risk Management as set out in the agenda pack at pages 119-152.

The Committee agreed to address any questions on this item to the Head of Audit and Risk Management via email. (Action: All).

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Corporate Committee reviewed and endorsed the Corporate Anti-fraud

and Corruption Strategy together with the appended Fraud Response Plan,

Whistle-blowing Policy, Sanctions Policy, Anti-money Laundering Policy and the

Anti-bribery Policy.

 

178.

Any other business of an urgent nature

To consider any items admitted at item 3 above.

Minutes:

None.

179.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

4th February 2021

18 March 2021

Minutes:

4th February 2021

18 March 2021