Agenda and minutes

Governance, Audit, Risk Management and Standards Committee - Tuesday 23 May 2023 6.30 pm

Venue: The Auditorium - Harrow Council Hub, Kenmore Avenue, Harrow, HA3 8LU. View directions

Contact: Arun Birah  Tel: 020 8424 1196 E-mail:


No. Item


Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Members:-


Ordinary Member


Reserve Member


Councillor Philip Benjamin

Councillor Govind Bharadia

Councillor Rashmi Kalu

Councillor Dean Gilligan



Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from all Members present.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  To note that no declarations of interest were declared by Members.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 24th January 2023 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2023, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.


Appointment of Vice-Chair

To consider the appointment of a Vice-Chair to the Governance, Audit, Risk Management and Standards Committee for the Municipal Year 2023-24.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  To appoint Councillor Antonio Weiss as Vice-Chair of the Governance, Audit, Risk Management and Standards Committee for the 2023/2024 Municipal Year.


Public Questions

To note any public questions received.


Questions will be asked in the order in which they were received.  There will be a time limit of 15 minutes for the asking and answering of public questions.


[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3.00 pm, 18th May 2023 Questions should be sent to  

No person may submit more than one question].

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions were received.



To receive petitions (if any) submitted by members of the public/Councillors.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  To note that no petitions had been received.



To receive deputations (if any).

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  To note that no deputations had been received.


Establishment of the Standards Working Group

To agree that this advisory group (the Standards Working Group) be established as required and comprise one Member from each political group on the Council and an Independent Person who will chair the meeting.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  That a Standards Working Group be established to meet as required and comprise Councillors Yogesh Teli and Antonio Weiss and an Independent Person who would chair the meeting.


References from Council and other Committees/Panels

To receive references from Council and any other Committees or Panels (if any).

Additional documents:


RESOLVED:  It was noted that none were received.


Annual Treasury Management Strategy Statement including Prudential Indicators, Minimum Revenue Provision Policy Statement, Annual Investment Strategy and Annual Capital Strategy for 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 762 KB

Report of the Director of Finance and Assurance submitted to Cabinet in February 2023

Additional documents:


The Committeereceived theCouncil’s AnnualTreasury ManagementStrategy Statement including Prudential Indicators, Minimum Revenue Provision Policy Statement the Annual Investment Strategy, and the Annual Capital Strategy for 2023/24.

This strategywas approvedby Cabinetand Councilin February2023.

An Officerintroduced thereport anddrew particularattention topage 17of the report which set out the Council’s borrowing requirements for 2022/2023. The Officer stated that although borrowing was going up, this would be funded through internal borrowing.One of the reasons why the Council’s borrowing has gone up was due to the rise in interest rates.The Officer then provided a summary of the report and invited questions and comments from Members.

Members werethen giventhe opportunityto askquestions and thesewere responded to accordingly by officers.

The Chair of the Committee sought clarification regarding the 2 amber risk profiles on pages 33 and 35 - Sums invested result in a loss and the exceptional levels of volatility in PWLB rates. The Officer stated that the Councilwould alwaysmake areturn onits investmentsand confirmedthat all

pwlbrates are fixed.The Chairstated thathe believedthese riskscould be

greenand theOfficer agreedthat thiscould havebeen the case.



          Theinternal borrowingreconciliation wasawaited fromofficers afterthe                  meeting as it did not tie up with the figures provided in the training.


Thecommittee requestedfurther trainingin MRPas aseparate meeting



RESOLVED:That thereport be noted.




Corporate Anti-Fraud Annual Plan 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Report of the Director of Finance & Assurance

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report which set out the 2023/24 Corporate Anti – Fraud Plan.


An Officer introduced the report and stated that the plan is a risk-based plan.  The Officer explained that the risks are looked at and then risked in terms of likelihood and potential impact.  The Officer stated that the plan is delivered by an in-house team of 5 Officers and highlighted the fact that all Officers were accredited counter – fraud trained.


The Officer highlighted the importance of allocating resources to those areas with the highest risk of fraud.


In response to comments and questions from Members it was clarified that:


-                 The Council’s mandatory E-learning fraud training had a 90% completion rate.  The Officer highlighted this figure was significant given it had only been rolled out for 6 months.


-                 The Officer confirmed that they were confident that the targets set out on page 84 of the report in relation to the CAFT key performance indicators 2023/2024 would be met.


-                 Internal Fraud referrals tend to be given an element of priority.


-                 Harrow regularly meet with Colleagues across London to identify the key risks and take any action as required


-                 The plan is flexible and if a risk were to be identified mid-year, the plan could be amended, and resources could be allocated accordingly.




(1)            the Corporate Anti – Fraud plan 2023/24 be approved


(2)            the annual plan process, the plan develop process, and the resources available to complete the plan be noted.


2021-22 Audit Completion Report

Report of the Director of Finance and Assurance

Additional documents:


An Officer introduced the report and requested that Members note the Audit CompletionReport 2021/22.The purposeof thereport wasto Communicate toMembers thecompletion ofthe auditof theCouncil’s statementof accounts for the year ending 31 March 2022, highlighting remaining outstanding areas as set out in Section 02 (Status of the audit) of the report.


The Officerstated thatthe draftaccounts werepublished before31 July2022, however the deadline for the audit accounts, 30 November 2022, was notmet. This was not met as the auditors experienced delays in finalising the audit work on the valuation of property, plant and equipment and investment property and there was a national issue in relation to accounting for infrastructure assets which impacted every local authority with material infrastructure balances.


Furtherwork wasneeded onthe subsequent- Actuarialreport dueto the Audit not having completed on time.


The Officer explained that that the Audit was paused in November 2022, howeverwork commencedagain inMarch 2023and significantprogress was made since then.


TheOfficer thenset outto Membersthe outstandingareas ofthe audit:


·       Auditopinion: Subjectto resolutionof thematters outlinedin the report, the auditors anticipate issuing an unqualified opinion, without modification, on the financial statements.

·       Value for Money (VFM): The auditors have yet to complete their work on VFM and are currently discussing some risks of significantweaknesses inarrangements thatthe Authorityhas in place to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources.

·       Whole of Government Accounts (WGA): The auditors have not yetto receivefrom theNational AuditOffice theirlist ofsampled components for WGA. They are unable to discharge our full responsibilities until such instructions have been received.

·       Wider powers: The 2014 Act requires auditors to give an elector, or any representative of the elector, the opportunity to question us about the accounting records of the Authority and to consider anyobjection madeto theaccounts. Whilstthere hadbeen some correspondence, there have been no objections made for 2021/22.


The Officerstated thatthe significantfindings ofthe auditwere setout in section 4 of the report.


The Officer explained that a new national issue has arisen in relation to the Council’sreporting ofits assetsand liabilitiesassociated toits membershipof the HarrowPension Fundand highlightedthat thiswill impactupon thetiming of the completion of the audit.


The Officer then went onto explain the risks highlighted by the External auditorsin thereport andupdated Memberson theCouncil’s responseto these risks.

Members werethen giventhe opportunityto askquestions andwere informed that:


-      Harrowwas notthe onlyLocal Authorityexperiencing adelay inthe completion of the 2021/2022 external audit, and this was an issue faced by many other Council’s as a result of the national issues explained in the report.


-      TheCouncil didnot haveto payany  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.