Neil Adams in the
Chair, Mike Barry, Brendyn Williams, Bill Rock, Councillor
Dennis Banicevic (External Auditor), Joy Bramham (Minute
Clerk), Maurice Doria (General Counsel),
Apologies were received and noted from Councillor Andrew
Wilson, Dr Rob Lang (CEO), and
Neil Adams welcomed new members to the committee and as former Chairman of the Audit Committee undertook, with agreement of the Committee, to chair the meeting.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST DECLARATIONS
Mr Bill Rock placed on record that he has an arrangement with IAB Services which does not involve any work at present though may in the future.
Mr Neil Adams placed on record that he also has an arrangement with IAB Services which does not involve any work at present though may in the future.
22/11 Audit Committee Minutes – 12 May 2011
RESOLVED (Finn/ Barry)
That the minutes of the Audit Committee Meeting held on 12 May 2011 be received and accepted as a true record of the meeting.
MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MEETING
Action 24 – Risk Analysis for Civic Place
Action 41 - ACL Continuous Control Monitoring Project
Service Auditor Memorandum dated 5 August had previously been circulated to all members and will be discussed later in the meeting as Item 5.
Action 41 to be closed
Action 42 – Statistical Report to include complaints against staff behaviours
Councillor McDermott suggested that complaints against Councillors be included in the report as well. It was noted that petty complains regarding Councillors are not captured by any reporting tools.
The Committee noted that any serious grievances should be reported more regularly than annually. The Committee would like to be informed of any major issues at the earliest opportunity.
Mr Doria advised that all complaints received by Council, whether it is against a staff member or a councillor, are handled by Service Audit Review Unit. Any complaint against a councillor would be dealt with in accordance with the Code of Conduct.
Mr Adams noted the purpose of the requested report is to allow the Committee to see the culture within Council and that systems are working. The statistics are to be accompanied by a brief explanation of the complaints and the responses.
Action 42 remains open
advised that an analysis of the recommendations emanating from both the Burwood
Neil Adams requested those issues that were listed as specific to Burwood Council be relooked at by Mr Doria in terms of being addressed in Parramatta, prior to issue to Committee members.
That copies of the reports prepared in response to the recommendations of the Burwood and Willoughby Council investigations by the ICAC be provided to Committee members.
Appreciation to External Committee Members
It was noted that letters of appreciation, requested by the Committee, were not received by the external committee members following expiration of their terms of engagement. The Committee noted that although such letters are at the Lord Mayor’s discretion, it was more likely that a breakdown in communication was the issue.
That the CEO convey the message to the Lord Mayor in relation to this matter.
23/11 Amendment to the Committee Charter
A copy of the Service Auditor Memorandum dated 14 July 2011 had previously been circulated to all members.
(a) That the Committee endorse the amended Charter as attached to Service Auditor Memorandum dated 14 July 2011.
(b) Further that the Committee recommend to Council that the amended charter be formally approved by council.
24/11 Strategic and Annual Audit Plan 2011 /2012
A copy of the Service Auditor Memorandum dated 17 August had previously been circulated to all members.
A general discussion was held on the resources and time required for the audit plan. Concerns were raised over the amount of time spent running the ACL tests. It was noted that this is partly being used as an evaluation and testing tool on the data migrated from the old to the new systems..Many of these tests will not be run as frequently and will be eventually handed over to the line managers as part of their business functions in future..
Councillor Finn commented that the audit plan addresses mainly governance and financial related risks but not social and environmental risks. The Committee discussed the triple bottom line reporting and noted that social and environmental factors are becoming more important to local councils.
It was further noted that there is a relative lack of benchmarks of the audit work for councils as compared to state government agencies.
That a presentation by responsible council managers be made to the November 2011 Audit Committee meeting addressing the management of social and environmental risks to council.
(a) That a progress report on the implementation of the ACL Continuous Control Monitoring project be provided at the first meeting in 2012.
(b) That a report to be presented on the resources allocation for both in-house and co-sourced tasks in the 2011/2012 Audit Plan.
Note: Councillor M McDermott retired from the meeting at 7.35pm during consideration of this item.
25/11 Report of Internal Audit Activities
A copy of the Service Auditor Memorandum dated 12 August 2011 had been emailed but not all the Committee members had received the full set of business papers for this meeting.
It was noted the above problem was probably caused by email systems not enabling transmission of the attached documents because of their large file size..
(a) That, in addition to the electronic copies of business papers, hard copies are to be mailed to all Committee members to arrive on the Friday before the meeting.
(b) That Committee members review those business papers that were not received electronically, and any issues can be raised at the November 2011 meeting.
Mr Doria advised that the Network Security audit assisted the IT department by providing the additional check that helped to identify improvements.
Councillor Finn noted that there were problems with Councillor computer security and noted that the issues were more on protocol than security problems, for example not having to change the passwords, email monitoring and Councillor emails including non-Councillors.
Mr Doria commented that Council recently applied stringent requirements on password security, and that same protocol would include the councillors.
Mr Adams and Councillor Finn questioned the purpose of the site inspections carried out by the rates staff and any values add for the exercise.
Mr Cochrane advised it was done to validate the classification of the properties and has always been part of the processes.
Mr Williams questioned whether Council use GPS systems and would that assist to confirm the property classification. Further, he commented that physical inspection should be triggered by sound reasons.
That Manager Finance report to the Audit Committee at the November 2011 meeting regarding the values of carrying out site inspection, including the time and frequency of inspections, and number of exceptions found.
Mr Adams commented on the audit reporting and appreciated having the additional details rather than just the one page summary sheet (as the Committee previously requested) and asked that this practice continue.
That future audit reports to include the full “executive summary” as well as the one page summary report.
26/11 External Audit
The audit for Council’s 2010/2011 financial statements will commence on 4 September 2011 and submit to the Audit Committee meeting on 20 October before they are presented to Council on 7 November.
Mr Banicevic commented that Council’s controls are sound generally. The external audit will include issues surrounding the assets revaluation - to ensure that council meets the disclosure requirements and compliance with the Code of Practice.
(a) That Dennis Banicevic provide materials on the disclosure requirements by the Division of Local Government and any changes in accounting standards that would impact on the assets valuation.
The committee discussed other audits on work cover/safety and quality management that are undertaken from an external point of view.
(b) That a copy of the ParraMatters/Forefront newsletter be provided to the Committee members on a regular basis. The Committee noted that the newsletter includes key performance indicators of council operating results.
27/11 Compliance obligations
The Committee discussed broad compliance issues including legislative requirements and questioned how Council is fulfilling its obligations and how this is monitored.
Mr Doria advised that an audit has been scheduled in the 2011/2012 Audit Plan on legislative and regulatory compliance.
28/11 Committee Meeting Dashboard
That council managers prepare a draft “Dashboard” setting out the annual and other regular matters to be considered at each meeting of the Committee – to be submitted to the Committee meeting in November 2011. (Mr Barry provided an example of such a “dashboard” to assist as a guide.)
29/11 Election of Chair
This to be the first order of business at 20 October 2011 meeting to allow all Committee members to be present.
The meeting terminated at 9.06pm