Annual Risk Report
- Meeting of Audit Committee, Thursday, 11 March 2021 7.00 pm (Item 30.)
- View the background to item 30.
Report of the Group Head of Democracy and Governance
The committee received a report of the Group Head of Democracy and Governance. The Group Head of Democracy and Governance introduced the report explaining that the report included the risk strategy and corporate risks with mitigations. She explained that since the last annual report the council had adopted a new Council Plan with new corporate themes.
There had also been a change in the internal governance arrangements with a Leadership Board now monitoring corporate risks and the Executive Project Management Office monitoring service and project risks. In addition, any risks in the project or service risk registers that had a score of nine or more after mitigation were now included in the corporate risk register. As a result, the corporate risk register was now larger than in previous years.
The Group Head of Democracy and Governance explained that the risk contained in the corporate risk register from last year that related to Brexit had been removed as the UK had left the EU. The new risk one in the register related to a breakdown of community cohesion, including issues post Brexit as well, as concern existed around community safety in relation to the pandemic and the road to recovery. She advised that politicians could assist by carrying out effective engagement within their communities. This risk was scored at nine; which was not as high as some of the other corporate risks contained in the register.
Members raised the issue of risks in relation to the forthcoming local elections and the Group Head of Democracy and Governance advised that it was important that elections could run in a Covid-19 safe way at polling stations and that changes had been made to some venues as a result; such as in relation to safe entry and exit. Schools would not be used as polling stations unless there was no alternative, although some schools in the town had arranged an inset day on 6 May and as a result would be utilised.
The Group Head of Democracy and Governance advised that guidance had been provided by Hertfordshire Public Health and some monies had been received from the county council to assist. The count would take place at the Colosseum to provide for social distancing. The building would also be used for postal votes to ensure Covid-19 safety. Protective screens would be used at the various election venues and voters should wear masks and bring their own pens. There were sufficient staff available to cover the polling station requirements. The election posed a high risk and was all the more challenging as three elections were taking place on Election Day.
In response to questions from members, the Group Head of Democracy and Governance:
· Advised that people who were not wearing masks could not be legally disenfranchised from voting. However, masks may be available outside polling venues and staff would encourage mask wearing. Should a lot of people refuse to wear masks it may be necessary to seek the assistance of the police.
· Explained that it may not be viable to include information about mask wearing on polling cards as these were standard documents that included guidance on nearest polling stations. However, the wearing of masks would be part of the council’s communication plan and she would discuss the matter further with the Elections Manager.
· Informed the committee that it was too early to determine the level of postal voting. More would be known when the poll cards had gone out. However, there had been no sudden upsurge so far.
· Advised on matters in relation to ventilation, drafts and staff numbers at the Colosseum and with a meeting being held by the Election Manager with the health and safety team on Friday 12 March.
· Discussed a number of risks contained in the corporate risk register including major projects not delivered on time, failure to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations and the failure of investments and commercial ventures.
Members asked about performance at the Croxley Business Park. The Director of Finance explained that income was holding up well. There had been a number of new lettings and with interest in Building One on the site. She discussed issues in relation to the rent paid by the council and inflation; that had been lower than expected. Matters were healthy in relation to the Park although it would remain on the corporate risk register.
that the Risk Management Strategy and Corporate Risk register be noted.
- Annual Risk Report, item 30. PDF 448 KB
- Appendix 1 for Annual Risk Report, item 30. PDF 791 KB
- Appendix 2 for Annual Risk Report, item 30. PDF 458 KB