Agenda and minutes

South Thames Gateway Building Control Joint Committee
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 10.00am

Venue: Meeting Room 2 - Level 3, Gun Wharf. View directions

Contact: Michael Turner 01634 332 817 

Items
No. Item

21.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

22.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on  11 December 2014.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 11 December 2014 was agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

23.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests

A member need only disclose at any meeting the existence of a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered at that meeting if that DPI has not been entered on the disclosable pecuniary interests register maintained by the Monitoring Officer.

 

A member disclosing a DPI at a meeting must thereafter notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of that interest within 28 days from the date of disclosure at the meeting.

 

A member may not participate in a discussion of or vote on any matter in which he or she has a DPI (both those already registered and those disclosed at the meeting) and must withdraw from the room during such discussion/vote.

 

Members may choose to voluntarily disclose a DPI at a meeting even if it is registered on the council’s register of disclosable pecuniary interests but there is no legal requirement to do so.

 

Members should also ensure they disclose any other interests which may give rise to a conflict under the council’s code of conduct.

 

In line with the training provided to members by the Monitoring Officer members will also need to consider bias and pre-determination in certain circumstances and whether they have a conflict of interest or should otherwise leave the room for Code reasons. 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

There were none.

24.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.  

Minutes:

There were none.

25.

2014 - 2015 Proposed Audit Timetable pdf icon PDF 564 KB

The report sets out the proposed 2014/2015 audit timetable and considers the audit arrangements for 2015/2016 and beyond. 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Finance Business Manager (Medway Council) introduced this report which asked members to approve the proposed audit timetable for 2014/2015 and consider audit arrangements for 2015/16 and beyond.

 

Since the agenda papers had been published further discussions had taken place with the external auditor and a revised proposed audit timetable was tabled at the meeting, as follows:

 

Action

2014/2015 Deadline

Date of Audit Announcement

1 June 2015

Annual Return signed at the AGM.

10 June 2015

Start of Inspection Period

15 June 2015

End of Inspection Period

10 July 2015

Annual Return to be received by the auditors.

13 July 2015

Public Display of the audited Annual Return

30 September 2015

 

In response to questions from members about whether the new timetable was achievable an assurance was given that officers were confident the new deadlines were achievable, provided the final accounts were agreed by the Joint Committee at its June 2015 meeting.

 

From 1 April 2015, as a result of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, Joint Committees would no longer be required to have their accounts separately prepared and audited. The Committee was asked to consider whether, in the light of this, it wished to continue having a separate audit of its financial results. In response to questions from members about whether this was needed, the Committee was advised that officers did not feel this was necessary as there were robust procedures in place to ensure the accounts were properly scrutinised without the need (and expense) of an external audit. Accountants in the three constituent councils provided any necessary challenge to the accounts, which were also scrutinised by members through the Joint Committee. Having received this assurance members were content that an external audit was not necessary. 

 

Decision:

 

The Joint Committee:

 

(1)               Approved the revised audit timetable as set out above

(2)            Agreed that from 1 April 2015 a separate external audit of the Joint Committee’s accounts is not required

 

 

 

26.

Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 10 KB

This report summarises the content of agenda items 7 and 8, which, in the opinion of the proper officer, contains exempt information within two of the categories in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. It is a matter for the Committee to determine whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of documents. 

Minutes:

Decision:

 

The Joint Committee agreed to exclude the press and public during consideration of agenda item nos 7 (South Thames Gateway Building Control Update on Expansion of Partnership) and 8 (Monitoring Report: December 2014 to February 2015) because consideration of these matters in public would disclose information falling within paragraphs 3 and 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, as specified in agenda item 6 and, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

 

27.

South Thames Gateway Building Control Update on Expansion of Partnership

This report seeks to update the Joint Committee on the project to expand the Partnership. 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Director, South Thames Gateway Building Control Partnership introduced this report which advised members on the conclusion of the project to

incorporate Canterbury City Council within the Partnership.

 

Whilst members were disappointed with the outcome of the negotiations with Canterbury City Council they felt the rigour by which the proposals had been tested was reassuring. It was accepted by both members and officers that the process had taken longer than was ideal. Lessons had been learned which would be applied to any future expansion of the partnership. The Chairman thanked officers for their significant efforts made to progress the expansion.

 

A suggestion was made that the way in which the three constituent councils engaged with and promoted building control should be scrutinised as it was possible this was not as effective as it could be. 

 

Decision:

 

(1)       The Joint Committee agreed that, in the light of the outcome of the

negotiations with Canterbury City Council, the Director of the South Thames Gateway Building Control Partnership will take no further action to exercise the power delegated to him at the last meeting of the Joint Committee to progress the inclusion of Canterbury City Council within the South Thames Gateway Building Control Partnership by 1 April 2015 unless a proposal is received from Canterbury City Council which, in the view of the Director and following consultation with the Officer Steering Group and the Heads of Legal departments at the partner authorities, does not place any additional financial or operational risk on the existing partners

 

(2)       The Joint Committee agreed that a paper be submitted to the June 2015 meeting on how best to examine the effectiveness of the constituent councils in engaging with and promoting the building control service.

 

 

28.

Monitoring Report: December 2014 to February 2015

The report updates the Joint Committee on the current forecast for the 2014/2015 financial year and gives details against the progress of the objectives of the Business Plan 2012/2017. 

Minutes:

 

Discussion:

 

The Director, South Thames Gateway Building Control Partnership introduced this report which updated the Joint Committee on the current forecast for the

2014/2015 financial year and gave details against the progress of the objectives of the Business Plan 2012/2017.

 

Members were advised that in January a deficit of £87,000 had been  predicted.  Over the last quarter further mitigation measures had been put in place including a reduction of agency staff and a moratorium on expenditure. Through this, some of the pressure was reduced and, at the time the agenda papers had been published, a revised figure of £55,000 was forecast as a possible end of year deficit. This had now been reduced to £35,000 and efforts would continue to reduce this further before the end of the financial year.

 

Decision:

 

The Joint Committee noted the report.