Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Lambeth Town Hall, Room B6, Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RW

Contact: David Rose, Tel: 020 7926 1037, Email: drose@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declaration of Pecuniary Interests

Under Standing Order 4.4, where any councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

 

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on the 24 January 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 24 January 2019 be approved and signed as a correct record of proceedings.

 

3.

Work Programme and Action Monitoring pdf icon PDF 96 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Acting Strategic Director of Corporate Resources,

    Christina Thompson

     

    Contact for enquiries: David Rose, Democratic Services, 0207 926 1037,

    drose@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    In discussion it was noted that there was continuing delay on some of the actions and required improvement; with the following updates provided at the meeting:

    ·         Fire Risk Assessments had satisfied each stage of the assurance process, but Alison McKane, Director of Legal and Governance, would ask the Director of Housing to provide an update on the feasibility of installing sprinklers either at a future meeting or as a separate challenge session.  Christine Webster, Head of Internal Audit and Counter Fraud, noted that a follow up to the health and safety audit was being undertaken and would be reported back in due course.

    ·         The biannual Treasury Management report had reported to the September meeting and the next update would be the full year report after April.

    ·         The outstanding skills analysis self-assessment action would be chased.

    ·         The responses to Public Inspection and Procurement Update would be reported back to the Committee after the next Intelligence, Digital and Information Governance Management Sub-Group meeting (27 March 2019). 

    ·         To add in further comments and an additional column (‘updated date’) on overdue actions.

    ·         To add a further column indicating when actions were completed.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.       To note the Corporate Committee’s work programme for 2018/19.

    2.       To note the Corporate Committee’s actions monitoring log.

     

4.

Corporate Complaints - six-monthly update pdf icon PDF 477 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Christina Thompson: Interim Strategic Director for Finance & Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Tim Weetman, Head of Performance & Service Improvement, Corporate Resources, 0207926 6438, tweetman@lambeth.gov.uk 

     

     

    Minutes:

    Tim Weetman, Head of Performance & Service Improvement, introduced the report and in response to questions from Committee members noted:

    ·           It was noted that Members’ Enquiry increases might be due to last years’ local elections, which would have generated more contact with the community.

    ·           Services used complaints to improve performance and paid attention to where complaints arose, but would come back with specific examples of lessons learnt and evidence of management taking steps to improve service quality after receiving complaints.

    ·           iCasework was divided into an officer- and a Member- system; with the former used to receive complaints, and prepare and submit responses.  The officer system required updating and this would be done by moving it to a cloud-based system and there was formal agreement with iCasework to do this and an action plan was being prepared.

    ·           The new system had a self-service portal and good progress had been made on delivery, with the officer side of the system expected this year, and would be detailed in future reports.

    ·           The Head of Internal audit and Counter Fraud confirmed that an audit review of the corporate complaints system had occurred one year ago, with a more detailed review of Children’s and Adult Service complaints this year providing limited assurance and improvement actions. 

    ·           Future reports would contain reasons, trends and comparative data with other local authorities.

    ·           The possibility of including equalities data and potential discrimination of protected groups would be reviewed for future reports.

    ·           Future reports to include further data on and actions to tackle SAR responses.

    ·           The report was regularly discussed at the Council’s Management Board and Intelligence, Digital and Information Governance (IDIG) Management Sub-Group meetings, to review statistics and use of data, and to drill down into the top 10 complaints.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.       To note the contents of the report.

     

5.

Corporate Risk Register Q4 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 537 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Acting Strategic Director of Finance and Investment,

    Christina Thompson

     

    Contact for enquiries: James Rimmington, Risk Manager, Finance and Investment, 020 7926 3013, jrimmington@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Andrew Travers, Chief Executive; and, James Rimmington, Risk Manager, introduced the report which provided an overview of key corporate and strategic risks that were outside of risk appetite and answered questions form the Committee as follows:

    ·           Lambeth treated risks to manage them to within appetite, however, due to the major impact some risks would have if they materialised, it is not possible to manage all risks to within appetite and some have to be tolerated at their current level.

    ·           It was normal practice to have a number of high risks remaining on the register and as long as the risks were not materialising and became issues then Lambeth’s risk management approach was working.

    ·           Risk registers had been restructured to reflect the new organisational structure and the Risk Manager was in the process of meeting with all Departmental Management Teams to review and confirm their key risks for 2019/20.

    ·           The benchmarking from last year (agenda pack, pages 53-4) showed improvement and that risk management was embedded across the organisation.

    ·           The Borough Risk Register was coordinated by the Emergency Planning team and was separate to the corporate risks detailed in the report.  Committee members noted that the last version of the Borough Risk Register appeared to be dated July 2015 and officers would report back on when it was last updated.

    ·           The 35 key risks detailed in Appendices A and B were outside appetite, whilst the report took a sample of risks and detailed the top three risks per directorate. Brexit threats and opportunities were detailed in Appendices C and D.

    ·           Risk appetite surveys were sent to Directors and Cabinet Members in 2016 and the results were used to form the corporate risk appetite thresholds.  Risk appetite could be revisited if Members felt there was value in doing so.

    ·           Comparative analysis was provided by CIPFA benchmarking information, but it was possible to build in further data from comparing to other local authorities’ risk registers.

    ·           The Committee noted that some of Lambeth’s charities were failing and requested further information on which officers monitored them and how accurate this monitoring was.

    ·           The Committee noted the control measure to develop a coherent response to the Grenfell Tower fire, with the chair noting that the Director of Housing Services had previously attended Committee and should be requested to provide a further update.

    ·           Homes for Lambeth (HfL) was included under the Growth and Opportunity estate regeneration programme risks (agenda pack, page 51), but could be more explicit on risk and borrowing.  HfL as a separate entity had a separate risk register and its terms of reference provided clarity of purpose, and guidance would be provided to the Committee on how it could review arrangements.

    ·           The Emergency Planning team was fully staffed and did have plans which were drawn up with the London-wide Resilience forum, and would be reported back.

    ·           Brexit planning started on expecting a deal and planning for transition risks, but now also included a separate fortnightly meeting with police and health on ‘no deal’ Brexit  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Audit and Investigations Update pdf icon PDF 188 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Christina Thompson: Acting Strategic Director for Finance & Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Christine Webster, Interim Head of Internal Audit and Counter Fraud, Finance & Investment, 07763 575612, cwebster1@lambeth.gov.uk     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Christine Webster, Interim Head of Internal Audit and Counter Fraud; Chris Flynn, Assistant Director for Home Ownership and Rents; and, Charlotte Bilsland, PWC; provided an update on audit and investigations, noting that:

    ·           The eight cyber security issues were identified in advisory work with experts and because these had been undertaken in a non-traditional method could not provide an assurance opinion.

    ·           Since April 2017 work on compliance with lease terms had focused on correctly calculating and billing residents on time.  A review of the actions detailed in the agenda pack (page 106) had demonstrated positive direction of travel and assurance. 

    ·           An internal audit of treasury management had found that some staff had been given access to review transactions, but that this user base was not regularly updated.  Management action had already been taken to address the access issues identified and monthly performance monitoring had been put in place to ensure this risk mitigation process was maintained.

    ·           Internal audits were followed up on the implementation tracker and would fall out of the audit cycle if controls were shown to be operating effectively.

    ·           Homes for Lambeth (HfL) had been audited this year to assess governance arrangements and only two medium and two low risks were identified; but a review might occur due to the level of change.  There would be another audit for next year to review the Council-HfL relationship and information-sharing to ensure service-level agreements were working.

    ·           The review of Capita contract management was deferred due to going through revisions of arrangements.

    ·           HMRC routinely audited local authorities’ tax arrangements and once complete, Lambeth would review whether internal auditing was needed.  HMRC had also engaged with the Council under their new customer-relationship manager model, in which Lambeth was serving as a pilot borough.

    ·           Owners of agreed recommendations would continue to provide more detailed explanations for delay in auctioning recommendations within the agreed timeframe in future reports.

    ·           A summary of the counter fraud dismissals would be provided now that convictions had been issued for the recent housing benefits case.  This had seen eight Lambeth employees sanctioned, including six sentenced and the ring-leader receiving six years imprisonment for fraud totalling over £1m across three boroughs.

    ·           It was not possible to value fraud until investigations were started, nor guarantee full recovery of monies.

    ·           From April, Lambeth would use an estimate of £32,400 as an average value of each property recovered from tenants, instead of the previously used £18,000 figure, which was original recommended by the Audit Commission, but did not reflect local circumstances. 

    ·           Lambeth would compare its investigation results against national transparency data, and would publish this in its annual report in future.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.       To receive and consider the report which provides an update on matters relating to the Internal Audit and Counter Fraud service, its activities and outcomes.

     

7.

Internal Audit and Counter Fraud Plans 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 174 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Christina Thompson: Acting Strategic Director for Finance & Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Christine Webster, Interim Head of Internal Audit and Counter Fraud, Finance & Investment, 07763 575612, cwebster1@lambeth.gov.uk     

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Christine Webster, Interim Head of Internal Audit and Counter Fraud, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:

    ·           The proposed audit plan reflected concerns that had been raised by the Committee during the year, including the following audits: Homes for Lambeth, Contract Management, Management Information and Data Quality.

    ·           The internal audit plan was based on risk assessment, informed by the corporate risk register with consultation from directorate management teams.

    ·           It was not possible to cover all areas of risk, but officers attempted to provide assurance on existing control processes for the most significant risks.

    ·           It was more efficient to combine audits of similar schools (such as those in federations) as this should enable coverage of more schools every year.

    ·           The continuous audit and monitoring review would cover payroll as included in the agenda pack (page 125), focusing on compliance and was undertaken on a bi-annual basis.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.    To receive and consider the draft Internal Audit and Counter Fraud Plans 2019/20 and recommend any further areas or activities that should be considered.

    2.    To approve the draft Internal Audit and Counter Fraud Plans for 2019/20.

     

8.

Corporate Committee Annual Report pdf icon PDF 295 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Christina Thompson: Acting Strategic Director for Finance & Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Christine Webster, Interim Head of Internal Audit and Counter Fraud, Finance & Investment, 07763 575612, cwebster1@lambeth.gov.uk     

     

     

    Minutes:

    Christine Webster, Interim Head of Internal Audit and Counter Fraud, introduced the report, which provided a statutory annual summary of the Committee to be presented at Full Council; and the Chair noted that future reports needed better clarity of challenges faced by the Committee and its objectives.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.         To consider, amend and agree the Corporate Committee’s Annual Report for 2018/19 as set out in Appendix 1 and to recommend it to Full Council for approval.

     

9.

Future Lambeth Organisational Change pdf icon PDF 150 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Chief Executive, Andrew Travers

     

    Contact for enquiries: Dean Shoesmith, Interim Director of HR & OD, 020 7926 7761, dshoesmith@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Andrew Travers, Chief Executive; and, Dean Shoesmith, Interim Director for Human Resources and Organisational Development, introduced this report which was an update from the proposals brought to the Committee in July 2018, and answered questions as follows:

    ·           These proposals were necessary with sustained lower funding and a Government focused on Brexit, both of which were expected to continue for several years with no reform of local authority/public service system, and Lambeth needed to make best of the situation it was presented with.

    ·           Lambeth was well-placed with its potential for growth and change, dynamic community, and civic life; but needed to mobilise its strong relations with private and public sector partners, ensure residents benefitted and be an effective steward of and successfully reform public services.

    ·           The report had been through informal and formal consultation, completed assimilation and redundancies in December 2018, and Phase 1 (Strategic Directors and Directors) was fully implemented on 1 February 2019.

    ·           These plans, inclusive of Phase 2, should save £1m by April 2019 from restructuring senior and middle management levels (£800,000 saved to date).

    ·           The emphasis on management of thresholds referred to the principle of having less money with a growing client group and increasing complexity, which necessitated reviewing service delivery whilst ensuring legal compliance, by getting better value for money and outcomes. 

    ·           The Council’s values were politically determined, but Lambeth’s ability to drive and influence place and prosperity gave it its only source of revenue and unless these changes were undertaken, it could not afford to pay for services.  It was noted that increasing growth and prosperity was good, but only became helpful if residents benefitted or became more independent from public services.

    ·           The cost of senior staffing tiers (Chief Executive, Strategic Directors and Directors) had increased by £400,000 due to the creation of additional posts necessary to deliver the new operating model to support the strategic direction, but savings from middle management level had seen an overall decrease in costs.

    ·           Staff restructuring and its effects were compared to and adopted from other organisations.

    ·           The Council needed radical change to exploit digital technology in service delivery and was a considerable challenge, but did have a Chief Digital Officer.  The functions around technology and meeting this challenge were contained under Resident Services, but was a council-wide matter to support the digital economy and residents across the Council’s functions.  These plans would be contained in the upcoming Digital Strategy.

    ·           Two overarching strategies (Workforce and Digital) were fundamental to Lambeth’s future success and to allow corporate programmes to be delivered corporately, allowing movement away from more autonomous directorates to a single organisation where all senior leaders viewed themselves as corporate leaders and not individual directorate managers.

    ·           All roles would have a neighbourhood component and with all front-facing services in the Resident Services directorate, better focus could be lent to localities and place-based services.  There would be opportunities for ward councillors as representatives of their areas, to contribute into these plans and would be reported to Cabinet in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.