8.1 The purpose of the Audit and Governance Committee is to:-
a) provide to those charged with governance independent assurance on the adequacy of the risk management framework, the internal control environment and the integrity of the financial reporting and annual governance processes;
b) to lead on the Council's duties under Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011 and to design, implement, monitor, approve and review the standards of ethics and probity of the Council both for councillors and employees; and
c) to promote, maintain and strengthen high standards of conduct by members and co-opted members of the Council.
8.2 The general functions and areas of responsibility of the Audit and Governance Committee are:-
a) to review any issue referred to it by the Chief Executive or a director or any council body;
b) to monitor progress in addressing risk-related issues reported to the committee; and
c) to lead on the Council's duties under Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011 and oversee, maintain and strengthen high standards of conduct in public office.
8.3 The Audit and Governance Committee's areas of responsibility for Corporate Governance are:-
a) to review the Council's arrangements for corporate governance and consider annual governance reports and assurances.
b) to consider the council's framework of assurance and ensure that it adequately addresses the risks and priorities of the council.
c) to review and make recommendations to Council on its Financial Regulations and Contract Procurement Rules.
d) to review and make recommendations to Council on the Constitution's Standing Orders with Respect to Meetings.
8.4 The Audit and Governance Committee's area of responsibility for the Council's Annual Governance Statement is to review the Council's Annual Governance Statement, prior to approval, and consider whether it properly reflects the risk environment and supporting assurances.
8.5 The Audit and Governance Committee's areas of responsibility for Risk Management and Internal Control are:
a) to monitor the effective development and operation of risk management in the Council.
b) to consider reports on the effectiveness of internal controls and monitor the implementation of agreed actions.
8.6 The Audit and Governance Committee's area of responsibility for Value for Money is to consider the Council's arrangements to secure value for money and review assurances and assessments on the effectiveness of these arrangements.
8.7 To review the policies and measures in place to prevent fraud and corruption.
a) to review the assessment of fraud risks and potential harm to the council from fraud and corruption.
b) to monitor the counter-fraud strategy, actions and resources.
8.8 The Audit and Governance Committee's area of responsibility for Treasury Management is to oversee the implementation of the Council`s Treasury Management Strategy and Policy.
8.9 The Audit and Governance Committee's areas of responsibility for Internal Audit are:-
a) to approve the internal audit charter.
b) to approve the internal audit plan, including internal audit's resource requirements, the use of external suppliers of audit services, and the approach to using other sources of assurance.
c) to approve significant interim changes to internal audit plan and resource requirements.
d) to make appropriate enquiries of both management and the head of internal audit to determine if there are any inappropriate scope or resource limitations.
e) to review updates on the work of internal audit including key findings, issues of concern and action in hand as a result of internal audit work.
f) to consider the head of internal audit's annual report and opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the council's framework of governance, risk management and control together with the summary of the work supporting the opinion.
g) to consider reports from the head of internal audit on internal audit's performance, including conformance to the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and Local Government Application Note, considering whether the non-conformance is significant enough that it must be included in the Annual Governance Statement.
8.10 The Audit and Governance Committee's areas of responsibility for External Audit are:-
a) to comment on the scope and depth of external audit work and to ensure it gives value for money.
b) to consider the external auditor's annual letter, relevant reports, and the report to those charged with governance.
c) to advise and recommend on the effectiveness of relationships between external and internal audit and other inspection agencies or relevant bodies.
8.11 The Audit and Governance Committee's areas of responsibility for the Council's Financial Reporting are:
a) to review the annual statement of accounts. Specifically, to consider whether appropriate accounting policies have been followed and whether there are concerns arising from the financial statements or from the audit that need to be brought to the attention of the council.
b) to consider the external auditor's report to those charged with governance on issues arising from the audit of the accounts.
8.12 The Audit and Governance Committee's areas of responsibility for Standards are:-
a) advise on an internal framework of probity and standards of conduct that should be followed by members and officers.
b) formulate, monitor and revise, as necessary, Local Codes of Conduct for members and officers.
c) formulate, monitor and revise, as necessary, a protocol for member/officer relationships.
d) issue guidance and best practice advice with regard to probity and ethics including the following:
e) advise on such other matters of a similar kind that may be referred to the Committee.
f) issue advice and guidance to members representing the Council on outside bodies.
g) receive, consider and, where necessary, act on reports guidance and advice from the Council's Monitoring Officer and the Local Government Ombudsman.
h) provide appropriate training for members and officers with regard to any of the above and the ethical governance of the Council generally.
i) appoint such sub-committees, panels or working parties as are deemed appropriate to undertake specific parts of these Terms of Reference.
j) consider complaints against members' conduct and assess allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct for Members to determine such complaints.
k) monitor and review members' training and development.
l) to establish a Standards Sub-Committee to investigate and determine appropriate actions in respect of alleged breaches of the Members' Code of Conduct.