Issue - meetings

Budget Setting & Budgetary Control Arrangements

Meeting: 25/06/2014 - Audit Committee (Item 7)

7 Budget Setting & Budgetary Control Arrangements pdf icon PDF 60 KB

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(a)          That the report be noted; and


(b)          That the report of the Corporate Finance Manager be submitted to each Overview & Scrutiny Committee to seek feedback on the effectiveness of budget scrutiny arrangements.


The Corporate Finance Manager introduced a report with information on the Council’s budget setting and budgetary control systems to assist the Committee in fulfilling those responsibilities it had in relation to the Council’s financial affairs.  The report had been brought to provide clarity in this area, in response to previous discussion at the Committee.


The report set out the role of the Committee on financial matters as set out in its Terms of Reference, in comparison to that of Overview & Scrutiny and County Council.  It was noted that Overview & Scrutiny Committees had a role in scrutinising the use and value for money of expenditure in services and making recommendations to Cabinet on areas within their remit.  The Corporate Finance Manager gave an overview of the budget setting process including consultation on detailed proposals with Overview & Scrutiny Committees at the end of each year prior to final budget setting by 11 March.  He referred to regular budget monitoring reports submitted to Overview & Scrutiny Committees and explained that officer responsibilities for budgetary control, monitoring and reporting were set out in the Financial Procedure Rules which were reviewed by the Audit Committee.


Mr. Paul Williams welcomed the report and asked the Wales Audit Office (WAO) colleagues present for their views on what the Committee could do further to gain assurance on budgetary control systems and whether the Overview & Scrutiny Members on the Committee were satisfied with the system in place.  Mr. John Herniman of WAO said that the Committee must satisfy itself that the process was effective and suggested that assurance could be sought through the Overview & Scrutiny function.


As Chairman of the Lifelong Learning Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Ian Roberts gave his view that the process was effective as Members were consulted on detailed budget proposals and were given the opportunity to make recommendations for endorsement at full Council.  The Chairman of the Audit Committee shared this view in respect of the Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee.


Councillor Arnold Woolley referred to concerns raised on the auditing of value for money at a recent meeting of the Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee.  The Head of Legal & Democratic Services said that increasing financial pressures would require the Cabinet to be assured of value for money or undertake more work to seek further efficiencies.  Overview & Scrutiny would need to ascertain whether efficiencies could be found elsewhere to protect cuts to services.  The Terms of Reference of the Audit Committee included statutory provisions along with a broader role on financial issues, enabling the Committee to seek clarity on value for money work.  At the previous meeting, the Chief Executive had agreed to discuss with the Internal Audit Manager a consistent mechanism for checking controls to help Overview & Scrutiny Committees in gaining assurance on value for money and information on this would be brought by the Internal Audit Manager.


The Internal Audit Manager confirmed that following discussion with the Chief Executive, work was underway on the value for money review, taking into account areas of best  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7