Annex 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RISK MANAGEMENT POLICY

AND RISK ASSESSMENT

Drafted October 2006

 

BLUNTISHAM PARISH COUNCIL

 

Risk Management Policy

 

BLUNTISHAM Parish Council is committed to identifying and managing risks, using the following procedures, and to ensuring that risks are maintained at an acceptable level. Any action that is felt necessary will be taken by Bluntisham Parish Council.

 

The Health and Safety Committee will review risks on a regular basis, including any newly identified risks, and will take appropriate action. The review will include identification of any unacceptable levels of risk.

The Local Councils Governance and Accountability Guidance makes the following observations regarding risk management.

1.      Risk management is not just about financial management : it is about setting objectives and achieving them in order to deliver high quality public services.

2.      The new approach places emphasis on local councils strengthening their own corporate governance arrangements, improving their stewardship of public funds and providing assurance to taxpayers.

 

It goes on to make the point that Members are ultimately responsible for risk management because risk threatens the achievement of policy objectives. Members should, therefore –

 

a. take steps to identify key risks facing the Council

b. evaluate the potential consequences to the Council if an event identified as a

risk takes place

c. decide upon appropriate measures to avoid, reduce or control the risk or its consequences.

 

To identify the risks facing a council, the Guidance recommends beginning by grouping the three main types of decisions that have to be taken into the following areas:

 

i. Areas where there may be scope to use insurance to help manage risk

ii. Areas where there may be scope to work with others to help manage risk

iii Areas where there may be need for self-managed risk.

 

SECTION 1

AREAS WHERE THERE MAY BE SCOPE TO USE INSURANCE TO HELP

MANAGE RISK`

 

1 A RISK IDENTIFICATION

 

a. Protection of physical assets e.g. buildings, furniture, equipment and regalia

All physical assets are insured with Allianz Cornhill under Policy 11/AC/6083.  The village hall is insured under policy AV/51633.

 

b. Risk of damage to third party property or individuals as a result of the

Council providing services or amenities to the public

 

BPC has a Public Liability Insurance of 5,000,000. It has also personal

accident liability cover for employees, members and volunteers under the

above policy. The village hall also has a public liability insurance of 5,000,000.

 

c. Risk of consequential loss of income or the need to provide essential services following critical damage, loss or non-performance by a third party (consequential loss)

Included in insurance policy cover.

 

d. Loss of cash through theft or dishonesty (fidelity guarantee)

The Council has Fidelity Guarantee cover up to 100,000.00 for both all members and employees.

 

e. Legal liability as a consequence of asset ownership (public liability)

See b. above

 

1 B INTERNAL CONTROLS

a. Maintain an up-to-date register of Assets and Investments

An Asset Register is compiled annually by the Responsible Financial Officer and presented to Council with Annual Accounts each year.  This is reviewed from time to time by the Finance Committee.

 

b. Regular maintenance for physical assets

The Health and Safety Committee undertake regular inspection of the village hall, and all parish assets. All repairs are carried out as necessary and reviewed as determined by the committee.  Playground equipment is checked independently by RoSPA on an annual basis and repairs actioned by the Health and Safety Committee.

 

c. Annual Review of risk and the adequacy of insurance cover

The Finance Committee reviews the insurance cover annually, makes recommendations, as necessary, to the Council for amendments when required.

d. Ensuring robustness of insurance providers

There are two main insurers for local councils – Zurich Municipal and Allianz Cornhill. BPC uses Allianz Cornhill and the RFO is confident that Allianz Cornhill Insurance cover is suitable for the council’s needs.

 

1C INTERNAL AUDIT ASSURANCE

a. Review of internal controls in place and their documentation

Internal controls are reviewed as necessary by the Clerk and Internal Auditor. Recommendations from the Clerk and Internal Auditor are submitted to Council.

 

b. Review of management arrangements regarding insurance cover

This forms part of the Finance Committee and any amendments are presented to the council.

 

c. Testing of specific internal controls and reporting findings to management

This is undertaken as part of the audit process. Reports are presented to the council and minuted accordingly

 

SECTION 2

AREAS WHERE THERE MAY BE SCOPE TO WORK WITH OTHERS TO

HELP MANAGE RISK

 

2 A RISK IDENTIFICATION

 

a. Security for vulnerable buildings, amenities or equipment

The Council’s public building, the Village Hall, has a Caretaker who ensures

the building is secure. The hall is alarmed, liked to a central control station with Police and Fire Service response. The Caretaker lives a few roads away from the building. The Clerk’s office is at the Clerk’s house. In the event of any breaches of security, appropriate measures are taken as soon as practicable to re-secure the property. Crime reports are obtained for all breaches of security by contacting Cambridgeshire Police.

 

b. Maintenance for vulnerable buildings, amenities or equipment

All premises are maintained within approved budget. In-house maintenance is undertaken where possible and contractors used as needed, with quotations received in line with financial regulations.

 

c. Banking Services

Reviewed periodically by the Finance Committee. All cheques require two

Signatures, The full Council reviews all payments.

 

d. Provision of amenities / facilities for local community groups

The Council has approved the use of its playing field and the Sports Hall on a

charge basis. A Public Liability Insurance of 5,000,000 is in place.

 

e. Professional services, contractors etc.

The Council endeavours to ensure that wherever possible it has the

opportunity to select (from several) the provider of any professional service it

requires, including approved contractors from HDC or CCC. Any professionals whose services it uses are well established and often selected on recommendation. Ideally a short-list of three is drawn up.

 

2 B INTERNAL CONTROLS

a. Standing Orders and financial regulations dealing with the award of contracts for services or the purchase of capital equipment

The Council has Standing Orders that govern the awarding of contracts. These were last adopted in May 2006.

 

b. Clear statements of management responsibility for each service

Under Standing Orders, the Village Hall Management Committee has delegated management responsibility for its own budget.

 

c. Regular Scrutiny of performance against targets

The accounts are reviewed monthly against budget at the Full Council meeting, and periodically by the Finance Committee.

 

d. Arrangements to detect and deter fraud and/or corruption

Invoices are subjected to scrutiny by both the RFO and the cheque signatories.

 

e. Regular bank reconciliations, independently reviewed

Bank statements are received monthly and are seen by the Clerk (RFO). A

reconciliation is prepared at the end of each month and is attached to the accounts. A copy of the accounts is given to the Chairman, and is available to view at every council meeting.

 

2 C INTERNAL AUDIT ASSURANCE

a. Review of internal controls in place and their documentation

Internal controls are reviewed as necessary by the Clerk and Internal Auditor.

Recommendations from the Clerk and Internal Auditor are submitted to

Council.

 

b. Review of minutes to ensure legal powers are available and the basis of the powers recorded and correctly applied

The Clerk undertakes to ensure that the Council does not act ‘Ultra Vires’

when a decision is taken.. It is recorded if the Council decides against the

Clerk’s advice. Where appropriate, legal powers bestowed on the Council

will be recorded in the minutes against decisions taken. The minutes of

meetings are also reviewed during the audit process.

 

c. Review and testing of arrangements to prevent and detect fraud and corruption

The use of Standing Orders, internal controls and consideration by Council are all methods which contribute to prevent and deter fraud and corruption.

 

d. Review of adequacy of insurance cover provided by suppliers

Any contractors working for BPC are asked for proof of insurance cover.

 

e. Testing of specific internal controls and report findings to management

This is undertaken as part of the audit process. Reports are presented to the

Council and minuted accordingly.

 

 

SECTION 3

AREAS WHERE THERE MAY BE A NEED TO SELF-MANAGE RISK

 

3 A RISK IDENTIFICATION

 

a. Keeping proper financial records in accordance with statutory regulations

Financial records kept in accordance with the statutory requirements fall with the responsibility of the Finance & General Purposes Committee and are reviewed as part of the Audit process.

 

b. Ensuring all business activities are within legal powers applicable to Parish Councils

 

See Section 2 Internal Audit Assurance (b.)

 

c. Complying with restrictions on borrowing

The Council is within the current borrowing perimeters.

 

d. Ensuring that all requirements are met under employment law and Inland Revenue regulations

Inland Revenue calculations are made by the RFO and are subject to the audit process. Salary forecasts are undertaken as part of the budget setting process and incremental increases are determined by the Full Council. Independent legal advice is taken as necessary.

 

e. Ensuring all requirements are met under Customs and Excise

regulations (especially VAT)

All such requirements are met by the Responsible Financial Officer and the Internal Audit process.

 

f. Ensuring the adequacy of the annual precept within sound budgeting arrangements

Committee budgets are reviewed by Finance Committee and approved by full Council in accordance with the Council’s budget procedure

 

g. Ensuring the proper use of funds granted to local community bodies under specific powers or Section 137

Grant applications are considered by the Finance & General Purposes Committee and recommended to full Council for approval. Section 137 grants are listed separately in the annual accounts.

 

h. Proper, timely and accurate reporting of the Council business in the minutes

Council minutes are prepared by the Clerk. They are distributed to Members

in advance of the subsequent meeting, verified as a correct record as one of the first items of business of that meeting and signed at the meeting. Failure to do so is recorded. Committee minutes are presented to full Council for information and comment and are signed as a correct record at the subsequent Committee meetings.

 

i. Responding to electors wishing to exercise their rights of inspection

The rights of inspection to electors is adhered to in accordance with current

legislation. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, all relevant documents are available on demand by post and in addition, meeting schedules and minutes, once approved, are published on the Council’s website.

 

j. Meeting the laid down timetables when responding to consultation invitations

Every effort is made to meet specified timetables when responding to consultation invitations

 

k. Proper document control

Paperwork is retained in accordance with national guidelines and relevant documents are available for viewing on request.

 

l. Register of members’ interests and gifts and hospitality is place, complete, accurate and up-to-date

The members’ register of interest is held by the Clerk and a copy is held by the Monitoring Officer at Huntingdon District Council. To the best knowledge of the Clerk these are accurate and up-to-date. It is the responsibility of Members to notify the Clerk of changes.

 

 

 

 

3 B INTERNAL CONTROLS

a. Regular scrutiny of financial records and proper arrangements for the approval of expenditure

Comprehensive measures are in place for the internal and external approval of expenditure.

 

b. Recording in the minutes the precise powers under which expenditure is being approved

See Section 2 Internal Audit Assurance (b.)

 

c. Regular returns to the Inland Revenue; contracts of employment for all staff; systems of updating records for any changes in relevant legislation reviewed by Council

Inland Revenue Returns are completed and submitted by the RFO. Salaries are calculated by the RFO and are subject to internal audit. Staffing issues are referred to the Council.

 

d. Regular returns of VAT

The Clerk as RFO is responsible for completion and submission of VAT returns submitted monthly.

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e. Developing system of performance measurement

In accordance with legislation, staff appraisals will be undertaken annually. These are reported to Council.

 

f. Procedures for dealing with and monitoring grants, or loans, made or received

The council has borrowed money under the Public Works Loans Board, and payments are made twice a year by direct debit. Statements received are subject to Internal Audit.

 

g. Minutes properly numbered with a master copy kept in safekeeping

All Council and Committee minutes are correctly numbered. Old minutes are archived at appropriate intervals. Recent minutes are kept in Minute books in the Clerk’s office.

 

h. Documented procedures to deal with enquiries from the public

Calls, letters and e-mails are dealt with as soon as practicable unless referred to Council of Committee. In such cases, acknowledgement of enquiry is made

 

i. Documented procedure to deal with responses to consultation requests

Consultation requests are referred to Committee. They may be further delegated to a working group. The course of action taken is minuted. Copies of correspondence are available to all Members on request

 

j. Monitoring arrangements regarding Quality Council status

Currently not applicable

 

k. Documented procedures for document receipt, circulation, response, handling and filing

The Clerk receives and delegates all mail. All relevant mail is listed with Council or a Committee for consideration of information. Mail for action by administration is dealt with accordingly and filed when actions are completed.

 

l. Procedures in place for recording and monitoring members’ interest and gifts and hospitality received

See Section 3 Risk identification (l.)

 

m. Adoption of Codes of Conduct for members and employees

The Council re-adopted the Code of Members Conduct in 2006. Employees’ Code of Conduct is in accordance with their individual contracts of employment. At present there is no other statutory code for employees.

 

3 C INTERNAL AUDIT ASSURANCE

a. Review of internal controls in place and their documentation

Internal controls are reviewed as necessary by the Clerk and Internal Auditor. Recommendations from the Clerk and Internal Auditor are submitted to Council.

 

b. Review of minutes to ensure legal powers in place, recorded and correctly applied

See Section 2 Internal Audit Assurance (b.)

 

c. Testing of income and expenditure from minutes to Accounts, from bank statements to Accounts, from minutes to statements etc.

The testing of these procedures forms part of the internal controls currently in place. The system is also tested during the audit process.

 

d. Review and testing of arrangements to prevent and detect fraud and corruption

The arrangements are reviewed at audit, and intermediate audit.

 

e. Testing of specific internal controls and reporting findings to management

Where appropriate, the results of such testing as part of the internal controls will be reported to the appropriate Committee or Council. Similar reporting to Council will be made as part of the internal audit

 

f. Computer data safety

All necessary procedures and documents are computerised and all relevant areas of Clerks computers are backed-up monthly to zip disk.