Agenda and minutes

LCR Audit & Governance Committee - Wednesday, 22nd September, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Authority Chamber - No.1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP

Contact: Shauna Phillips 


No. Item



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An apology was received from Councillor D Burgess-Joyce.


Declarations of Interest

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Councillor Pat Moloney declared an interest in item 7 which related to his position as a Deferred Members Representative on the Merseyside Pension Fund Board.



Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 137 KB

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The minutes of the last meeting held on 28 July 2021 were agreed with an amendment to show Councillor Moloney represents Liverpool CC.


Governance Update (Information Management – Breaches, Conduct and Complaints and Whistleblowing) pdf icon PDF 351 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer providing the Committee with a Governance Update.

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            The Committee received an update from Andrew Henderson, Senior Information Management Officer focussing on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s (LCR CA) information management procedures and requests for information over the last 12 months.


            Members were advised that the figures in the report were cumulative and represented both the LCR CA and Merseytravel and there had been a marked increase in requests compared to the previous year.  During 2019-20 there had been 91 requests and this had risen to 193 over the last 12 months. It was suggested that the rise could be attributed in part to the pandemic, as the profile of the LCR CA had increased considerably during that time. Common topics of interest included the Strategic Investment Fund, Programme Management Office, Subsidised Bus Routes and LCR Cares.


            It was explained that 46% of the requested received were for information not held by the LCR CA. This was due in part to  group requests submitted to multiple authorities by journalists without checking whether the questions were applicable.


            The Committee were advised that during 2020-21, only 1 request was not responded to within the statutory deadline as a result of the information being held in off-site storage and the government’s social distancing guidelines preventing officers from obtaining that information. Members were advised that an acceptable response rate is typically 90% and it was noted that the LCR CA had a response rate in excess of 99% of queries answered within the deadline.


            It was explained that there were fewer requests for CCTV during 2019-20 due to the reduction in traffic through the Mersey Tunnels which accounted for the majority of request for CCTV (which are used in legal proceedings after collisions).


            With regards to the change in working practices during the pandemic, Members were advised the LCR CA and Merseytravel had issues from mandatory training on cyber-crime and managing data.


            There had been one complaint in 2019-20 which had not resulted in any enforcement action as the Information Commissioner had found the procedures in place and the actions undertaken to be appropriate. It was noted that there had been no complaints under the Member’s Code of Conduct during this period, nor had there been any information breaches in 2021.


            Councillor Moloney asked what percentage of the requests were from individuals, media organisations or public bodies. It was explained that approximately 50% of requests were from journalists, 15% were community organisations and campaign groups and 35% were individual requests for information.


            Cllr Hansen queried how widely the data protection training was rolled out across the organisation. In relation to training, Members were informed that the Learning Team and HR department had adopted a new certification scheme and learning portal where the five modules resided. Officers had considered the different job roles and departments across the organisation and how involved they were with personal information when identifying who should undertake the training and how frequently they would need to undertake a refresher. It was decided that a refreshed needed to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Internal Audit Update pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider a report of the Head of Internal Audit to provide the Audit and Governance Committee with an overview of the internal audit work completed in respect of the Combined Authority in the second quarter of 2021-22, in accordance with the Internal Audit Plan 2021-22.

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            Laura Williams, Head of Internal Audit provided the Members with an update that focused on the work undertaken by the Internal Audit Service in quarter two and a breakdown of the four audits undertaken during that period.


            In terms of the percentage of the plan completed, it was reported that with the work in progress taken into consideration,  32% had been attained and Laura Williams assured the Members that the plan in its entirety would be delivered by the end of the year.


            Since the last meeting, the National Fraud Initiative had been undertaken and had identified no significant acts of fraud or error aside from a £3,840 duplicate creditor record.


            Members were reminded that the initial findings of the Internal Audit Standards External Assessment were positive and showed full compliance.






(i)            the outcomes of the audit work undertaken during the period of the report be noted; and


(ii)           the progress made in the delivery of the approved Internal Audit Plan in respect of the Combined Authority be noted.



Risk Management Update pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To consider a report of the Head of Internal Audit to provide an update in respect of the system of corporate risk management and the activity that has been undertaken in continuing to embed this system during the second quarter of 2021-22.

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            Laura Williams, Head of Internal Audit provided a risk management update noting the progress in embedding risk management made in the 18 months since the appointment of a Risk Manager.


            The Corporate Risk Register had been refreshed and reviewed to align with the Corporate Plan with input from the Executive Leadership Team . It was highlighted that some risks had been reduced during that process and were now being managed at service level. The risks had been presented to the Members thematically and Councillor Wharton confirmed that this approach was preferred.


            It was noted that the service risks were also being updated and the quarterly officer Risk Group was developing into a positive forum for discussion of risk. 


            Councillor Morgan queried how the organisation ensured that risk management and performance management were aligned to the Corporate Plan and the LCR CA’s priorities. It was explained that a lot of consideration had been given to aligning the two documents. Furthermore, officers were taking measures to ensure that the service risk registers aligned with the corporate plan priorities.


            Mr McDonagh asked if there were any timescales in place for reducing the red risks in the plan down to amber or green. Laura Williams explained that each risk had actions aligned to it to mitigate the risk, but this would not necessarily reduce the risk rating to amber or green. Once each risk’s actions were implemented then additional actions would be considered to try and reduce the risk further so as to progress the risk towards its target score.


RESOLVED - That the LCR Audit and Governance Committee note the progress made in embedding the system of corporate risk management into the organisation.



Annual Statement of Accounts 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Corporate Resources that provides the Members of the Committee with the final audited accounts for 2020-21 and the external auditors Audit Completion Report for consideration and comment.

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            Assistant Director for Finance, Sarah Johnston presented the Annual Statement of Accounts for 2020-21 which included the external auditor’s completion report. Members were advised that there were some elements of the audit outstanding and as such the report was in draft as were the accounts.


            It was expected that an unqualified opinion of the accounts would be issued, and it was explained that the value for money judgement had been decoupled from the statement of accounts and as such would be reported on later in the year.


            Mark Dalton, Mazars highlighted the key elements of the report and it was noted that a clean and unqualified opinion of the accounts was anticipated once the outstanding pieces of work were completed. There were no matters to report to the Committee on significant risks as part of the audit work and any misstatements would be reported to the Committee prior to sign off the accounts. 


            Members were advised that Mazars were awaiting assurances from the Merseyside Pension Fund Auditors which may delay the target date of 30 September 2021. The Finance team were thanked for their cooperation and hard work during the audit.




(i)            the content of the report be noted;


(ii)           the draft Audit Completion Report (ACR) on the annual Statement of Accounts attached at Appendix One be considered; and


(iii)         for completeness a final ACR will be issued to the Committee on completion of the audit.



Any Other Urgent Business

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There were no items of other business for consideration at this meeting.