Force Governance Board – 3 May 2013 – 4th floor Secretariat, HQ
Notes of the meeting
Members of the Board:
DCC Andy Holt – left part way through due to an urgent operational issue
Nigel Hiller – Lead
Geoff Berrett – Corporate Finance
Lorraine Booth – HR
T/Supt Scott Green – BCD
Paula Hughes – Legal Services
Michelle Wilkinson – Internal Audit, Joint Secretariat
Chief Supt Terry Mann – Professional Standards
- Welcome & Apologies
NH welcomed everybody to the second meeting of the board and thanked PH for attending on Legal Services behalf. It was noted that apologies were received from Chief Supt Terry Mann. MW confirmed that she would be attending any future Force Governance Board meetings on behalf of RW.
- Minutes of the meeting held on 12/3/13
MW asked NH to clarify what he was referring to when he mentioned the plan under the questions and challenges section of the minutes. NH confirmed he was referring to the Policing Plan and not the Governance Improvement Plan. MW asked NH if he was intending to take the AGS to the PCC’s Governance Advisory Board for scrutiny prior to it going to Audit Committee. MW stated that she believed the PCC would want to scrutinise/comment prior to Audit Committee. NH to consider. NH also commented that following a meeting with Steve Pick, Treasurer (SP) and Rob Winter, Head of Internal Audit (RW) regarding protocols that a formal process needed to be put in place. He said it is likely that we would use the monthly budget meeting as a formal approval mechanism or to confirm decisions that had been taken.
- Annual Governance Statement 2012/13
- Internal Audit Review of Internal Control Document
MW stated that the document is produced yearly and covers all the activity of Internal Audit. It is all the work, particularly project work, that Internal Audit undertook in 2012/13 including projects rolled forward from the previous year. The document leads to the Head of Internal Audit’s opinion on SYP’s control environment. MW is hoping this year to develop the document to make it more user friendly in terms of providing particular themes. It covers each project and looks at where we are with the recommendations.
MW stated that the document covers projects such as IT work, Business Continuity, Mutual Aid, Legal Services etc. In respect of Legal Services review MW was aware that a Diamond review has also been undertaken but was not sure at what stage it was at. She stated that a lot of the audit projects have provided positive assurances, there were some control weaknesses but these hadn’t caused too much of an impact/not significant.
NH asked MW to talk the Board through the Review of Internal Control document:
ICT audits: It was stated that IS Service Desk target completion date was June and Business Continuity project was marked as complete.
Legal Services: MW stated that from Internal Audit’s perspective the Legal Services audit project was complete but they were mindful of the fact that there had been a Diamond Review. Internal Audit had looked at the financial and administrative aspects and Diamond Review had looked at Case Load. NH stated he was more concerned with the control aspects. MW stated that all the recommendations had been notified as complete and there weren’t any follow up plans. PH commented that the processes that had recently been put in place for Legal Services were working a lot better than previously. MW said that Internal Audit could perhaps look towards a plan next year to do a shorter follow up piece of work but would look at that on a risk basis.
SG raised the issue of the change of ACPO lead for Legal Services and suggested that all the recommendations together with the recommendations from Supt Andrew Parker’s report for Legal Services were tied up all together. AH made the comment that as the audit report for Legal Services was quite detailed with a number of recommendations and due to Legal Services going through substantial change, he would like to be reassured that all the previous issues, are not likely to cause any more issues when the new structure is put in place. AH asked if that could be a piece of risk based work to look at? NH agreed with AH comments and suggested that we re-visit some of the fundamental issues from Legal Services which could potentially involve quite large sums of money. PH asked to see a copy of the Internal Audit report on Legal Services.
MW gave an update. She said that everything was agreed and there were 9 recommendations. NH stated that at a recent budget meeting, mutual aid and maximising profit making opportunities was discussed. He said that this is something to build into the plans as it is something that will become politically sensitive. MW stated that she would be starting her planning process around September so if any issues could be flagged up prior to that she could take them forward.
MW gave an update. She stated that this is something that Internal Audit carry out as part of fundamental systems testing every year. Testing is undertaken following the financial year end when information is loaded onto the CIPFA Asset Register system maintained at the Joint Secretariat. Consequently, Internal Audit will reflect back at 2012/13 transactions. However, the information isn’t loaded at Joint Secretariat as yet. Once the audit commences, Internal Audit will select samples from the information loaded at the Joint Secretariat and work backwards from the Joint Secretariat to the processes in the Force. NH asked why the system isn’t updated when the information is received. MW stated that there had been issues over the last couple of years with the CIPFA asset register software. MW to note that Head of Facilities Management is leaving.
MW to note that the Head of Facilities Management at SYP is leaving
MW stated that everything had been notified as operating effectively and nothing else to report.
Force specialist accounts:
MW stated that there was only 1 recommendation regarding authorised signatory.
Drug testing fund:
MW said that this is a very short exercise and we help to make sure that the certificate goes off on time.
MW stated that this was looking at the recovery of physical assets and there were 6 recommendations. There wasn’t anything critical but it was just to improve the process. She said that they tried to link this to the Oracle HR report that the combined team including Barnsley audit team carried out and that this piece of work had been accepted very well in force.
MW confirmed that she hadn’t had any updates by the team for the projects that were due by 31st March but the team would look on ‘Ten’ to see what was outstanding, but she did say that she had scheduled in a follow up piece of work on Oracle HR for this year.
LB stated that she would be taking over the Operational HR role once Sarah Wilson (SW) went on maternity leave. Following a meeting with IW, it was agreed that SW would keep responsibility of HR Shared Services until she went on leave but LB would like to take responsibility once SW had left. LB had arranged a meeting with Emma Siddy (ES) and SW to go through the audit report. NH suggested that for the benefit of the Governance Board there be a formal statement of where we are with recommendations. NH had declared this as a serious risk on his Officer Assurance statement as he thought it an area where we were most vulnerable. NH was happy for SW to keep the responsibility until she went on leave providing that LB had the assurance that once it was handed over it was in a fit state and that the actions had been done.
(Note - DCC Holt left the meeting at this point to deal with an urgent operational issue)
Cash cards/Purchase cards:
MW stated that there were no issues and that all the recommendations had been completed.
MW said there was a lot of work involved from the auditor’s perspective. One issue was that Internal Audit had access to the test environment only which didn’t help as by the time the auditor had completed the exercise, things had moved on. NH said there were some potential issues with the temporary rules where police officers can’t sign orders. He said that he had rejected lots of orders at the moment.
MW said that everything has been notified as complete and was accepted.
MW stated that NH had been directly involved in this and a Specialist IT auditor had carried out the work on internal audit’s behalf. MW stated that she was slightly disappointed with regional audit as she believed that they would share the cost/resource for these audits, however they said they couldn’t afford the auditor time. They had therefore entered into a reciprocal arrangement whereby MW had identified firearms licensing as a project that hadn’t been looked at for a long time and was interested in doing some work on, so their Humberside auditor had agreed to carry out some work on that for both forces. In any case they would liaise with SYP first.
HMIC Integrity report:
MW stated that Internal Audit has a joint working protocol with PSD. The new Principal Auditor (Phil Rogers) will be taking this work forward and will do the same through the joint working protocol with BCD. MW would like to keep this moving forward therefore will ask Phil Rogers to contact BCD to arrange some meetings.
Potential Irregularity – Found Property that is ‘missing’:
MW highlighted the ‘missing’/found property case that started in 2011 which was ongoing, this had prompted various things as part of the vulnerability assessment. She stated that there were sometimes issues around found property or seized cash.
Fundamental systems audits:
MW said these are carried out every year on a cyclical basis. For two years the Internal Audit team would do a walk through on a project and compliance testing on the remaining year. MW stated that although she had continued with the cyclical basis for 2013/14 onwards she needed to speak to NH and the Treasurer (SP) to ask whether we would want to continue in that way. A lot of the testing previously was to assist the Audit commission with their statutory accounts audit work. NH said that it needed to be risk based every time we had a major upgrade or major patches applied, however if SYP received a good audit report after a system upgrade, we could have less resources and test more of the outcomes.
MW’s talk through of the Review of Internal Control concluded at this point.
NH stated that the information provided by MW was useful and for future meetings to have an update on where we are with regards any outstanding actions. MW stated that the document led to Head of Internal Audit (HoIA - RW) providing his HoIA opinion and that it was this opinion that would be used as part of the Annual Governance Statement both for the CC and the PCC. MW said that RW had made the comment about the need to move forward as we are in a period of significant change.
- The Head of Internal Audit’s Officer Assurance Statement & Audit Manager’s Officer Assurance Statement
MW had provided two statements from herself and RW as Officers of the Joint Secretariat. She said that she hadn’t produced the document as an Officer of South Yorkshire Police as the Review of internal control document would produce that. She was trying to avoid duplication of work. She said the statements were to give SYP an idea of the kind of issues that MW would be raising as a member of the internal audit team of the Joint Secretariat. As part of the PCC’s Officer Governance Board, these would be read to highlight any significant issues which would be brought forward onto the PCC’s AGS statement. NH raised the issue of RW having a statement as an Officer for SYP, however according to MW, RW had said he thought it was adequate to have the one statement. NH to raise this with RW as he has a different opinion.
NH to speak to RW regarding RW producing an Officer Assurance Statement as a member of SYP as well as Head of Internal Audit for the Joint Secretariat
- Officer Assurance Certificates and Related Party Transactions
MW commented that regarding the Officer Assurance Certificates, we would need to relate back to the review of Internal Control as some of the issues in the review may be reflected in some of the comments written on the OAC’s. NH fully agreed. GB first commented on the related party transactions. He had been advised that he also required a response from retired officers which he had received. There were two outstanding forms which he was in the process of retrieving. The only comment on the forms were the ones submitted by NH which were re-produced on the front page:
“I am a member of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) which is a charity. As a Council member I am a trustee of the charity. Cipfa is the regulatory body for local government accountancy. As a consequence South Yorkshire Police purchases books and training from Cipfa.
NH said that he didn’t think it was material, however it was appropriate to mention it. Also, he asked should IW make a declaration being a Humberside police employee? He is the one person in Senior Management of HR who is not employed by South Yorkshire Police. NH said we would need to seek a view on whether we need to declare this and other Senior Officers such as Mark Whyman (MW)
GB gave an update on the Officer Assurance Certificates. Section 1 - most people had returned the certificates with no comments. SG asked GB to amend the forms to reflect the correct dates that he had taken over as the Head of BCD. Section 2 - there were a few certificates of Officers that had returned with comments.
GB to amend the Officer Assurance Certificate sent in by Chief Supt Harwin to reflect the correct dates that T/Supt Green had taken over as Head of BCD
The comments by Officers were as follows:
Nigel Hiller statement – NH said this comment was based on where the organisation had discussed strategic weaknesses at board level. It was the HR shared services issues highlighted by the internal audit report which led to AH taking action through his challenge meetings.
Ian Watson statement – HR shared services control issues highlighted in the internal audit report as NH comments above
Head of SCS, James Abdy - Foreign nationals. GB commented that internal audit had sent a report through on foreign nationals. MW commented that the main issue was that there was just one individual taking on the process from start to finish, highlighting a weakness.
MW commented that there are issues worthy of note and bringing to the Force Governance Board’s attention but it is for this Board to say whether these are significant issues or whether they are just a work in progress and monitored elsewhere. It is other more significant issues that this Board needs to scrutinise.
LB said that informal feedback from the report by the College of Policing had indicated that there were issues around governance and that those areas needed to be strengthened so it was important that any outstanding issues were written on the statements. She said that she had not received the formal report from the PCC’s yet but we needed to look at the impact for South Yorkshire Police. NH said that the report had also suggested revised governance for IT. NH suggested that it read that the implementation of the revised arrangements between the PCC and the police forces in relation to regional and sub regional collaboration mean we need to satisfy ourselves that the governance arrangements are still appropriate.
NH said he believed that there should have been a declaration on the forms by Chief Supt Odell (RO) and ACC Sahota (MS) regarding firearms licensing. Following the dismissal of a member of the firearms department who had been destroying firearms records he said there was a potential risk to officers who didn’t know whether there were any firearms present when visiting suspect’s houses. The dismissal had highlighted very weak controls in CJAD on firearms processing and a remedial piece of work was being carried out by the Inspector in CJAD to try and assess the risk and deal with it. He asked that the forms were sent back to Chief Supt Odell and ACC Sahota to declare this risk.
GB to ask for an update from Chief Supt Odell and ACC Sahota regarding the issues surrounding firearms licensing records being destroyed and to declare this on the Officer Assurance Certificates
MW asked if any issues had been declared on the OAC returns regarding NPAS partnerships or any other partnerships? NH said that regarding NPAS partnerships, he would wish this to be raised in the New Year. Regarding other partnerships, NH mentioned that there were still serious issues on collaboration. NH stated he wished to raise the collaboration issue later. However he thought it appropriate to say that the implementation of the Police and Crime Commissioner had ensured a thorough review of collaboration arrangements be undertaken.
MW made the comment that as a board we need to gather the evidence to show that we have deliberated and discussed these things and that we have made informed decisions on whether they form part of the AGS. NH said that as a matter of course we need to review the outcomes of significant disciplinary issues as part of the Governance Board in order to cross check what the issues are.
- Scheme of Delegation
PH stated that she had been in touch with Maureen Oades (MO) who had informed her that she had had a meeting with Theresa Searl (TS) on the 15th April 2013 on the scheme of delegation to officers. MO had informed PH that she was going to prepare a revised draft for consideration by officers prior to presenting this to the PCC for approval. NH stated that there were several different parts to this. He advised speaking to Stephen Hodgson about what was in place in Humberside. NH currently has delegated authority for everything financial which comes direct from the PCC. He said that IW had a limited amount of delegation related to HR matters. He did say however, that he hadn’t got the full delegation from NH to other people. Also we need to work on the scheme of consent for when the Stage 2 transfers happen so that the Chief Constable can then delegate appropriately to people instead of the PCC. He said that this was a big piece of work as we had never really bottomed the previous scheme of delegation. LB said the scheme of delegation issue had been raised at the Humberside governance board and that Stephen Hodgson had believed SYP were further ahead with this. PH stated that Stephen Hodgson had offered his assistance in respect of strategic matters.
PH to arrange a telephone conference with Stephen Hodgson and other members of the Force Governance Board to discuss the scheme of delegation issues
- Any Other Business
MW asked members to confirm what timeframe we were working towards to complete this whole process and produce the AGS. GB said he would speak to Margaret Jaworski (MJ) to confirm what her timescale would be as she had said she was having an Officer meeting and that following on from that she would give an update on timing. He said the initial view was that the AGS would go in draft to the June Audit Committee, but MJ did suggest that there may be a July Audit Committee after being convened for the final accounts process in which case it could go to that. He said he would need to agree with MJ the format as the advice from CIPFA is that the same format be used as far as possible and that was something that MJ was promising after the officer meeting at the Joint Sec. He said we should now be in a position to get together to agree. MW said that she was part of that Officer meeting and that August was one of the dates that we were heading towards.
MW said that the PCC’s management team would scrutinise the AGS that we were producing as part of the office of the PCC and was just wondering what route this would go to and we did think that the 6th August (Governance Advisory Board) might be a good timeframe. NH to speak to the Chief Constable whether he is happy to sign this off or whether it needs to go to SCT. MW confirmed that ideally the AGS would go to GAB first then the final version to go to the Audit Committee. At the Audit Committee, it would then be scrutinised as part of the statement of accounts in September.
GB informed members for information only that he had attended the Director of Finance Seminar at West Mercia on NH behalf and that it had been suggested the signatories for the governance statement would be the Chief Constable and the Chief Finance Officer. He also mentioned that the PCC governance statement would be signed by the PCC, the Chief Executive and the Chief Finance Officer.
Regional Standing Orders
NH asked to note that the regional standing orders are still not signed off and that we are still working to the existing set of rules. NH to formally write to Chris Mottershaw (CM) as an action to inform her that this has been identified as a gap in our governance and that we need to know when it is going to be concluded. He said the issue was that North Yorkshire had put in place a revised set of arrangements where in order for the regional team to meet, it is required to be signed off by a departmental head. They had put in place significantly lower levels that were agreed were sensible for business which in turn is impacting on SYP and the other forces.
NH to formally write to Chris Mottershaw to ask when the regional standing orders will be concluded as a gap has been identified in SYP governance
NH confirmed that he had discussed with the Chief Constable and IW that there is a serious issue on sub regional working and honesty and trust in relation to cost and savings. LB confirmed that the issue had been raised at the Humberside Governance Board. NH had taken the decision (and had discussed with RW) to insist that RW together with Neil Rickwood (NR) sign off the calculations and conclude the issue once and for all. He said that in terms of our governance it is a serious issue that our trust is being challenged and we need to ensure that we have an open and honest and transparent arrangement that everybody in SYP/Humberside adhere to.
The next meeting of the Force Governance Board which had been arranged for 7th June had been cancelled at the request of NH as it had been decided that the AGS would go to SCT.