To consider the attached report.
The Service Director (Commercial and Regulatory) J Nolan reported that this would be the final Corporate Risk Register to be reported to Finance & Performance Management Cabinet Committee. Future reports would be made to the Audit & Governance Committee which would bring the Council’s reporting in line with CIPFA guidance for effective Audit Committees.
The current Corporate Risk Register had been reviewed by the Risk Management Group on 8 January 2020 and had been produced in a new format which incorporated both the gross (before controls were applied) and net risk (after controls had been applied). This ensured that the direction of travel for each risk was more transparent and that risk mitigations were working as intended. The colour coding focussed attention on the highest scoring risks and the use of the ‘if then’ format, which would improve the articulation of the risks.
The review had resulted in amendments to five risks, removal of one risk and three new risks being added to the Risk Register. These were as follows;
Risk 1 Local Plan – During the last review of the Corporate Risk Register, the Committee requested that elements relating to delays in issuing Planning Permission should be shown as a separate risk. The new risk was presented as Risk 14. The Risk Management Group scored the remaining Local Plan risk B1 High Likelihood/Major Impact, which had reduced from the previous A1 score. This decision had been made as the Local Plan had been through the hearing phase and work was ongoing to undertake the Inspector’s advice.
Risk 2 Strategic Sites – The majority of sites listed within the Strategic Sites risk had either been completed or were to be transferred to Qualis and it was felt that the risk should be removed.
Risk 5 Economic Development – The existing risk control had been updated to include the completion of the consultation with Stakeholders and a report would be presented to Cabinet on 6 February 2020. This would seek approval for the development of an Action Plan and related resource requirements, changing the key date to 6 February 2020
Risk 7 Business Continuity – The effectiveness of control had been updated to advise that the Business Continuity plans were largely completed. These plans would be reviewed and help develop a test exercise, which was planned for February 2020. The updated key date was now 19 February 2020.
Risk 10 Housing Capital Finance – The effectiveness of control had been updated to advise that a consultant had been engaged to utilise receipts before the deadline of the financial year end. The required further management action stated that there would be monthly meetings to monitor cash flow and the risk owner had changed to Deborah Fenton (Service Manager Housing Management and Home Ownership).
New Risk 14 Delays in issuing Planning Permission – A new risk had been developed for the specific delays in issuing Planning Permission caused by objections relating to the impact of development on air quality within the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation. The risk had been scored A1 Very High Likelihood/Major Impact as the consequences of the risk included loss of New Homes Bonus and restricted Business Rates tax base growth.
New Risk 15 Climate Emergency – Audit and Governance Committee asked for a risk to be developed to capture the risk following the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency and an aim to become carbon neutral by 2030. The Risk had been scored B2 High Likelihood/Moderate Impact.
New Risk 16 Accommodation Project – The Accommodation Project risk detailed the individual elements of the project, with each element being given an individual risk score. The risk was presented in a new format which would be applied to all Corporate and Service Risks.
The Planning Services Portfolio Holder asked for ‘Reputation damaged’ under the Consequences section for Risk 14 – Delays in Issuing Planning Permission, to be moved to the top and that some form of mitigation be determined. Furthermore in relation to Risk 15 – Climate Emergency, the Consequences section should include failure to deal with the issues effectively, impacting on the Special Area of Conservation.
Councillor I Hadley asked why Qualis had not been placed in the Corporate Risk Register, following recommendations from the Audit & Governance Committee on 27 November 2019. The Service Director (Commercial and Regulatory) advised that Qualis was a separate company and this was the Council’s Risk Register, therefore Qualis would determine their own Risk Register. The Leader advised that there would be a report on the governance arrangements for Qualis coming to the next Cabinet meeting on 6 February 2020. In addition, the Planning Services Portfolio Holder advised that this issue could be included in the Risk Register in regards to failure to deliver and the Council relying on the funds from Qualis for future budgets.
(1) That the new wording and score for Risk 1, Local Plan be updated;
(2) That Risk 2, Strategic Sites be removed;
(3) That the existing control and key date for Risk 5, Economic Development be updated;
(4) That the effectiveness of control and key date for Risk 7, Business Continuity be updated;
(5) That the effectiveness of control, required further management action and the risk owner for Risk 10, Housing Capital Finance be updated;
(6) That a new Risk 14, Delay in issuing Planning Permission be included in the Corporate Risk Register;
(7) That a new Risk 15, Climate Emergency be included in the Corporate Risk Register;
(8) That a new risk 16, Accommodation Project be included in the Corporate Risk Register;
(9) That the updated risk register format for future Corporate and Service Risk Registers be noted;
(10)That the future reporting of the Corporate Risk register would be made to Audit & Governance Committee;
(11)That the Cabinet comments above in relation to Risks 14, 15 and Qualis be included in the Corporate Risk Register;
(12)That the updated Corporate Risk Register be recommended to Cabinet for approval.
Reasons for Decision:
It was essential that the Corporate Risk Register was regularly reviewed and kept up to date.
Other Options Considered and Rejected:
Members may suggest new risks for inclusion or changes such as the scoring to existing risks.