Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item



Mr Paul McMenamin presented the third report on financial governance and management covering the previous 12 month period.  He spoke of the progress made and outstanding provisions, as well as the financial challenges across partner organisations finances and the delegated budget set for the Health & Social Care Integration Joint Board.  In moving forward he highlighted areas of work to be undertaken to strengthen stewardship of resources and provide a more integrated approach to future financial planning and budget setting.


Mr David Davidson noted the high risk identified on page 2, item 4.2 and suggested that the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Finance for Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders be asked to provide a report for the next meeting of the Audit Committee to consider.


Mr John Raine enquired if there was any reason why the financial regulations were not being reviewed at that stage?  Mr McMenamin emphasised that the current financial regulations of both organisations had been written pre integration and given the partnership itself had financial regulations it was important to ensure they were all consistent in application.  Mr McMenamin assured the Board that he would be working with partner organisations, as a priority, to ensure the financial regulations were updated and maintained.


Mr Raine enquired when the Risk Register would be submitted to the Audit Committee?  Mrs Jill Stacey advised that it was anticipated submission would be to the June meeting.  She further advised that there was on-going work taking place to be able to provide assurance to the Committee that both partners were clear on risk ownership and management.


Mr Raine enquired if there were any early indications of significant issues having arisen?  Mrs Stacey commented that the financial element was the most significant issue and she anticipated future challenge would be around evidencing an improvement in outcomes.  She suggested the performance framework would assist in providing the detail.  Mrs Elaine Torrance commented that the Health & Social Care Integration Joint Board would receive the Annual Performance Report at its meeting that afternoon and clarified that it contained the detail of the achievements made during the previous year and also set out the priority areas for the forthcoming year.


Cllr Graham Garvie enquired in regard to the financial regulations, if the intention was to have a revised composite set produced for the Heath & Social Care Integration Joint Board?  Mr McMenamin commented that the Board had approved a set of financial regulations in 2016, which formed part of the code of corporate governance, and were written to draw on the priorities and controls across partner organisations.

Cllr Garvie enquired about the term “non-current assets”?  Mr McMenamin advised it referred to “fixed assets”. 


In regard to the Integrated Resources Advisory Group (IRAG) guidance compliance check, Mr Davidson enquired how action point 18 would be addressed?  Mrs Gillian Woolman commented that the external auditor would review the actions being taken by both partner organisations to address the matter.


The Chair suggested he raise the matter at the Health& Social Care Integration Joint Board meeting that afternoon, so that a direction could be issued to both partner organisations to direct them to undertake that refresh of financial regulations across partnership resources.


Mr Raine enquired about the interpretation of action point 3?  Mrs Torrance commented that it was in relation to areas of operational responsibility that sat within the Chief Officer remit and where the budget sat within the Health & Social Care Integration Joint Board.


Mrs Torrance further commented that the Health & Social Care Integration Joint Board was responsible for commissioning and setting the strategic direction of travel.  She reported directly to the Chief Executives of both organisations and had found that reporting structure to work effectively and assist with delivery.


Mr Davidson requested “Financial Governance & Management” be a standing item on all future Audit Committee agendas.  Mr McMenamin agreed.


Mr Davidson suggested the inclusion of arrows in the RAG status of the IRAG compliance check chart to show if performance was stagnating, improving or decreasing.




The HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE INTEGRATION JOINT BOARD AUDIT COMMITTEE agreed that the Committee Chair recommend to the Health & Social Care Integration Joint Board the issue of a direction to both partner organisations to direct them to undertake a refresh of financial regulations across partnership resources.


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