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Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for absence




Declaration of substitute members




Declarations of interest

If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:

§  if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;

§  you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency. 

In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.


If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.


*(a) Employment, etc - Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

(b)   Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including from a trade union.

(c)   Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the council.

(d)   Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.

(e)   Licences- Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or longer.

(f)   Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which you or your partner have a beneficial interest.

 (g)   Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital. 


This applies to all members present at the meeting.




Councillor Satnam Gill declared an interest in agenda item B3, Whistleblowing Policy, as a member of the Hilldrop Area Community Association, referred to in Appendix 3 of the report.


Minutes of previous meetings pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Additional documents:



That, subject to an amendment to minute 157 of the minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2020 – Personnel Sub-Committee (b) – to change the date specified from “2019/2020” to “2020/2021”, the minutes of the ordinary meeting held on 29 September 2020 and the additional meetings held on 30 October and

24 November 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.


Risk management update pdf icon PDF 177 KB


In response to questions about lessons learned from the recent public interest reports issued to Croydon and Nottingham, officers confirmed that both reports had been studied in depth.  However, there was little comparison between Islington and those two authorities, given Islington’s different risk profile. With regard to Angelic Energy, referenced in the Nottingham report, Islington would ensure that, as part of learning from that report, due diligence was carried out before any arrangements or partnerships were entered into.


In response to a question from one of the Independent Members about the need for reports on Risk Management Strategy and Framework to be submitted to the Committee, the Head of Internal Audit undertook to share the Framework, which was currently being refreshed, with the Committee.  The Chair asked that the Framework be circulated to members of the Committee within 14 days.


The Committee noted that there was uncertainty around risks associated with Brexit and lockdown 3, although the Council’s Gold and Resilience Teams met  weekly to review the situation.  Financial spend was of necessity large during lockdown, but under control and the Council had accessed Government Covid grants.




(a) That the contents of the report of the Corporate Director of Finance, comprising an update on risk management activity that had taken place since the last comprehensive Principal Risk Report to Committee in September 2020, be noted.

(b) That the Risk Management Framework be circulated to members of the Committee within 14 days of this meeting.


2020 - 21 Internal Audit Interim Report pdf icon PDF 168 KB

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Internal Audit officers were complimented on the high quality of their reports.


Referring to various projects in Appendix 2 of the report, questions were asked about areas where the overall assurance statements were

less than ‘moderate’ and whether it would be possible for the Committee to be advised of actions and outcomes on the “deep dives” carried out on certain projects.  It was noted that a Finance Control Board had been established to follow up any projects which had been designated as ’limited assurance’ in Resources Department.


The Chair suggested that members advise him of particular projects where they had concerns and wished to see follow up action.


The Committee was reassured by the Corporate Director of Environment and Regeneration that the findings from the Parking audit had been addressed.



That the contents of the report of the Corporate Director of Resources, detailing progress on delivery of the Internal Audit Plan, be noted.


Whistleblowing Policy update pdf icon PDF 277 KB

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That the revised Whistleblowing policy at Appendix 1 to the report of the Corporate Director of Resources, including amendments as highlighted, be approved.


Next steps on Strategy and Change - update since May 2020 pdf icon PDF 151 KB



(a) That the report of the Corporate Director of Resources, updating the Committee on the implementation of new arrangements for Strategy and Change within the Council and progress in key areas, be noted.

(b) That a further report be submitted to the Committee in six months time on progress on the Change Management Programme.



Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code pdf icon PDF 219 KB

Additional documents:



(a) That the following be noted:

(i) The Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code July 2020, attached at Appendix 1 to the report of the Corporate Director of Resources.

(ii) The completed self-assessment form atAppendix 2 to the report, which had to be completed by 31 December 2020 and reported to “elected members”

(iii) Failure to comply with the conditions of membership might result in an Ombudsman’s determination of complaint handling failure and order to rectify within a given timescale.

(iv) Failures under the Scheme and Code would result in a complaint handling failure order.

(v) The Housing Ombudsman expected landlords to publish the outcome of their self-assessments and could request sight of the assessment and evidence in support and could require landlords to periodically repeat the self- assessment, following any amendments to the Code or significant change to landlords’ organisational structure.

(b) That the Corporate Director of Housing be requested to ask housing associations in the Borough to share their complaints results and learning with the Council.


Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) Annual Review performance report 2020 pdf icon PDF 206 KB


Following questions from members, confirmation was given that, apart from the final page of the exempt appendices at agenda item E2, wherein the  name of the complainant was visible, the other two appendices were non-exempt.



That the following be noted:

(a) The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman’s (LGSCO) Annual Review letter dated 22 July 2020, as detailed inAppendix 1 of the report of the Corporate Director of Resources.

(b) Of the 24 cases investigated, 17 were upheld and 7 cases were not upheld.

(c) 5 out of the 17 upheld cases received a satisfactory remedy before the

Ombudsman’s involvement.

(d) 9 out of the 9 cases recommended during 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020

(100%) complied with the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

(e) 3 out of the 17 cases were resolved during LGSCO investigation requiring no further compliance.

(f) Separate to the complaints investigated by the LGSCO reported in the Annual Review Letter, 3 upheld decision during the period in question (finding of maladministration) were decided by the Housing Ombudsman, as detailed in Appendix 2 to the report.

(g) In line with the statutory duty under section 5A (2) of the Local

Government and Housing Act 1989, the Monitoring Officer provided this annual report to Audit Committee.


Council Tax base pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee noted that, as the current budget had been set before the pandemic, no specific provision had been made for Covid19 spend. However, the Council  had financial mechanisms for withstanding shocks.



(a) That it be noted that the cost of local council tax support in 2021/22 and over the medium term, as detailed in paragraph 4.1.2 and Appendix A of the report of the Corporate Director of Resources, was highly uncertain.

(b) That approval be given to the council tax base for the whole area for 2021/22 (or until rescinded) of 77,737.1 Band D equivalent properties, after adjusting for non-collection.

(c) That the council tax base for meeting the special expenses issued by the Lloyd Square Garden Committee for 2021/22 (or until rescinded) shall be 44.2 Band D equivalent properties, after adjusting for non-collection.

(d) That the council tax forecast for 2020/21, detailed in paragraph 5.3 and Table 1 and Appendix C of the report, be noted.


The introduction of exit payments cap on redundancy/efficiency retirements pdf icon PDF 72 KB


The Acting Director of Law and Governance provided the following advice to the Committee:


“The report covers the position generally at the present time. It is best not to seek to put a gloss on it. Individual cases will have to be considered in accordance with the circumstances when they arise.


The consequences for the Council in relation to voluntary redundancies include  that they can be postponed until current uncertainties are resolved. However, this is not going to be any time soon. It appears that the LGPS Regulations are not going to be amended until after the Court case. They are likely then to be amended to the detriment of staff and to the financial benefit of the employing authority. The Court case is not being heard until 25/26 March. Judgment is likely to be reserved. There may well be an appeal, etc. There may be complaints in the meantime to the Pensions Ombudsman. The likely but uncertain length of any such  postponement may have massive operational  downsides, not least in the context of restructurings, and financial disadvantages. 


However, if voluntary redundancies are to proceed during the period of non-alignment of the public sector cap and changes to the LGPS Regulations and before the uncertainties are resolved then (1) there are risks for both parties in relation to pension strain in the case of those aged 55 and over, and (2) these risks must not be sought to be removed in an age discriminatory way.


The recommendations in the report seek to minimise and mitigate these risks.”



(a) That the current redundancy/efficiency policy be revised so that, where an

employee’s exit payments breach the £95K cap, the staff member may exercise the option of reducing elements of their redundancy package, other than pension strain cost and statutory redundancy payment, in order to bring the total to under £95K and therefore be eligible to claim an unreduced pension.

(b) That, where the pension strain costs are in excess of £95K, an employee

may use their own funds to lower the reductions applied to their LGPS benefits.

(c) That the changes proposed to the redundancy policy and detailed in the report of the Corporate Director of Resoruces apply to all relevant Council employees, including at Islington schools.

(d) That, in instances where the value of paying the pension strain would exceed the cap, an additional discretion to allow exit payments to be

made up to the balance of the £95K cap under Regulation 8 of the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payment Regulations 2020, be approved.

(e) That it be noted that any significant individual decisions that needed to be made in relation to the enacting of provisions within the change of the policy would be brought for approval to the Audit Committee meeting scheduled for the 16March 2021.


Exempt minutes of previous meetings



That the exempt minutes of the meetings held on 30 October 2020 and

24 November 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.


Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) Annual Review performance report 2020 - exempt appendices



That the final page of the exempt appendix at agenda item E2 and the fact that the other two appendices were non-exempt, be noted.