Committee Round-up: Scrutiny and Audit Committee 1.7.16

The progress of audit recommendations, discussions on the council’s financial position at the end of 2015/16, and an annual report of activities were among items discussed at the latest meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Scrutiny and Audit Committee (SAC).

Committee chair Cllr Gillian Owen opened the meeting with a reference to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

The committee held a minute’s silence in memory of the almost 20,000 Allied soldiers who were killed on the first day of the battle, which began on July 1, 1916.

Committee discusses internal audit progress updates

The progress being made by council services to implement recommendations raised in internal audit reports was discussed by the committee.

Key updates related to controls in place for the council’s main information management system, financial governance surrounding the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project, and a review of travel and subsistence claims.

Comments made on council’s year-end financial position for 2015/16

The committee discussed a number of points outlined in the council’s unaudited accounts for 2015/16, which were considered by the full council a day before the SAC meeting.

Matters raised include overspends in winter maintenance and within the newly-formed Integrated Joint Board for health and social care, while it was noted that overall the council had recorded an underspend of around £10million.

Other matters

• The committee paid tribute to three officers who are moving on from their SAC roles. Thanks were paid to committee clerk Victoria McCaskill and corporate finance manager Alex Stephen, both of whom are moving to new jobs, and to performance and Worksmart manager Robert McGregor, who is returning to his substantive role 
• The committee heard from sustainability and climate change co-ordinator Claudia Cowie about the management of Aberdeenshire Council’s ‘carbon budget’ and meeting ambitious national targets for a reduction in carbon consumption
• The draft SAC annual report was approved by the committee and is to be presented to the full council for consideration in September, subject to final approval of the final version by the chair and vice-chair in liaison with service director Ritchie Johnson.  
• The committee is to investigate the council’s implementation of Freedom of Information legislation, and hold workshops on a range of other topics as agreed as part of a topic-scoring exercise
• The full public reports considered by the committee can be found via http://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/