Committee round-up: Scrutiny and Audit Committee 10.12.15

The promotion of Aberdeenshire’s history, the management of potential risks for the council, and an update on the progress of internal audit recommendations were among matters discussed at the last meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Scrutiny and Audit Committee for 2015.

Progress of audit recommendations considered

The latest update on the progress of recommendations made to services as a result of internal audit activity was brought before the committee.

A report before councillors highlighted the progress of recommendations regarding the Substance Misuse Service, housing repairs, and the Housing Rent Assessment Scheme.

Recommendations relating to licensing income, debt recovery procedures, winter maintenance, and parks and open spaces were also outlined.

In a separate report, the committee heard of the progress of the internal audit plan for 2015/16.

The report highlighted that all but one of the audits that took place in 2014/15 are now complete, and that the progress of current is slightly further forward in comparison with the same period last year.

Flexible funds returned to council reserves

Around half of money carried forward by services from the previous financial year is to be returned to council reserves, it has been agreed.

The council’s ‘end of year flexibility’ process allows services to carry forward budgets from one financial year to another to help service planning and budgeting.

The full council agreed in June 2015 to carry forward a total of £380,000, around £185,000 has been spent. SAC agreed to return the remaining £195,000 to council reserves.

Review of the treasury management and investments noted

The committee noted the details of the review of the council’s treasury management function and investments for the period up to 30 September 2015.

A further report will come back to the committee in September 2016 covering the full 2015/16 financial year.

Council’s approach to risk management noted

A review of the council’s risk management policy and procedures was discussed by the committee.

A report before the committee highlighted that directors and their management team were asked to pay particular attention to risks in a number of key areas, as part of their regular review process. 

These related to budget pressures; changes in government policy, legislation and regulation; the council’s workforce; business and organisational transformation; and work with other organisations.

Noting the role of the committee in terms of audit activity, Cllr Ian Tait requested that updates on risk management be brought back before SAC on a quarterly basis.

Historic Aspects of Aberdeenshire

The findings of an initial investigation into how historic events and people of Aberdeenshire are recorded was welcomed by the committee.

The investigation aimed to identify what could be done to allow better recording of historic matters, if existing resources could be used to support this, and whether funding is available to promote a pilot scheme to compile a database of information.

The committee agreed that a workshop be organised to examine the findings of the report in more detail.

Other matters