To provide an update to the Committee on the progress of the Council’s identified strategic risks (report of the Assistant Director – Governance and Monitoring Officer enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Governance (Monitoring Officer) which provided an update to the Committee on the progress of the Council’s identified strategic risks.
In the absence of the Senior Change, Improvement and Performance Business Partner, the Assistant Director – Finance updated the Committee on the main points detailed within the Risk Report.
· The risk of a cyber incident had been increased slightly in line with the national trend for Cyber Security threats across Public Sector which had almost doubled in the past 12 months, linked to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
· The risk of a breach of regulatory compliance had been lowered as Covid restrictions had recently been lifted, and the regular and fast-paced changes in law and guidance that were previously the norm were no longer being seen.
· The risk around council financial positions had increased slightly as a detailed budget review process was being planned for the 2023/24 year however, pressures were starting to be seen. Earlier in the month, the Council had approved the budget for 2022/23 however there were a number of unknown factors on the horizon such as Fair Funding and Business Rates re-set.
· The risk monitoring changes to policy and legislation in relation to Covid had been lowered. Covid legislation enforced by the Council had now been repealed, the Public Protection service continued to work with LCC on outbreak management although this demand had decreased significantly
· The risk of changes to the Council’s strategic partnership had reduced as the strategic partnership was further embedded and the programme management board continued to focus on ensuring the partnership delivered on its objectives – the rationale to lower the risk was focused on key mitigations that were now in place such as a single Corporate Leadership Team (Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executives and Monitoring Officer) and the meetings of the Stakeholder Group (Leaders, Deputy Leaders and Finance Portfolio Holders) which continued to take place on a six weekly basis providing a mechanism for cross Council discussions.
The following points were raised, and the Assistant Director advised that any questions requiring a response would be fed back to the Senior Change, Improvement and Performance Business Partner to action:
· Members commented that these were very uncertain times, and that officers should be thanked for their hard work in dealing with the issues
· The Chairman commented that there were a few areas where she would have expected there to have been movement (Vulnerability Risk, and Decision Making) however, she was comfortable with the status of most risks within the report.
· A recent decision had been to set up a S&ELCP Community Lottery – was there any risk to the Council surrounding this, for example any financial risks, or that a private firm would be employed to undertake this (and if so, had the bid been competitive)?
· Members raised the issue of staff retention – could the current risk score be backed up as there appeared to be a number of vacancies. The employment market was currently very competitive - was the staffing situation in line with other Councils and were there sufficient incentives in place to retain staff within the Partnership?
· The Chairman commented that a lot of work had been done around staff retention however, a fuller response on this was requested from officers.
· Members followed up by asking whether there could be an increase in staff costs if there were vacancies – was there a contingency for this?
· Members asked that, following discussions at the meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel the previous evening, closer scrutiny over the next reporting period be applied to the Parkwood leisure contract, and to the performance of the PSPS contract. It was felt that there were potential underlying issues, and risks around these areas did not appear to have changed.
That the content of the report be noted.