The Committee were presented with the Council’s Annual Governance Statement Progress Update which provided a review of governance arrangements for the authority. The Committee were provided with a brief update outlining what progress had been made against issues and actions within the current Annual Governance Statement. Members were reassured that as the review and monitoring processes were now well embedded, any matters reported were considered to be under control and there were no issues for concern.
Members were invited to put any questions to officers regarding the report and Officers endeavoured to provide further information on any queries. With regard to next year’s Annual Governance Statement, it was proposed that this would be looked at in a slightly different way, with a more strategic overview taken. There would be a lot of challenges faced and it would be necessary to look at this more broadly in order to address these.
Members asked if any key milestones had been met and if the Council was on track with actions as the Committee needed reassurance in order that they had an awareness of the situation. Members were informed that whilst progress was being made, they were not in a position to remove any of the items, but they were constantly being monitored. The Director of Corporate Resources assured the Committee that they were happy with the current position, and whilst there were many financial challenges, they were broadly content as to where they were now.
With regard to Action 1, Major Technology Upgrades, queries were raised in terms of what was critical. Members were informed that good progress was being made with technology upgrades, and all deadlines were being hit, and as a lot of systems needed to be Microsoft compliant, it was therefore important that Microsoft licensing was up to date. Currently, 85% of desktops had been upgraded so the Council was on track to achieve this action.
A query was raised with regard to the Organisation Workforce Action, and if this was an area where there were any concerns over progress. A number of additional queries arose as a result with a discussion held on these issues. However, the Committee were assured that the Council were committed to developing their staff, and whilst there were some areas that were more challenging in terms of recruitment and development, it was something they were looking to address. However, this was an action that was on going, with no end date as such and support was given where needed to staff, apprentices and other members of the workforce across the Council on an ongoing basis. It was noted that some of the wording used in the report could be improved in order that it was clearer for members of the public reading and officers would undertake to improve this in future.
The Committee discussed in detail the report and raised a number of points that required further clarity to ensure that they were happy with the progress being made against the Annual Governance Statement. These also included:-
· Alarm Receiving Centre
· Data Quality Arrangements
· Doncaster Children’s Services Trust ALMO
· Financial Position moving forward
RESOLVED that the Audit Committee note the content of the briefing paper and the attached appendix.