Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Room 116, West Midlands Combined Authority, 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD

Contact: Tanya Patel, Governance Services Officer 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

Presented By: Chair


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Ahmad Bostan (Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council) and Sean Farnell (Coventry & Warwickshire LEP).


Declarations of Interest


The Chair reported that he was the Chair of the Midlands Metro Audit Committee and Nick Abell reported that he was a member of Investment Board.


Appointment of Vice Chair

Presented By: Tim Martin




(1)          Councillor Ram Lakha be appointed as Vice-Chair of the Audit, Risk & Assurance Committee for 2019/20.


Minutes - 21 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Presented By: Chair


The minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2019 were agreed as a correct record.


Chair's Remarks

Presented By: Chair


·         Local Authority Governance and Accountability Framework Review Panel

The Chair advised the committee of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government establishing a new Local Authority Governance & Accountability Framework Review Panel which would assess the framework to determine whether it was fit for purpose and make suggestions for its improvement at a national level.


·         Chair’s Meeting

The Chair advised the committee of his meeting with the Senior Leadership Team at their request to review the strategic risk register in light of the challenges the WMCA faced.


Matters Arising

·         Whistleblowing

·         Mayoral Elections 2020 Preperations

Presented By: Tim Martin


·         Whistleblowing

The Monitoring Officer advised the committee of one notification that had been received regarding whistleblowing, although following an investigation it was determined that the disclosure was not related to the WMCA. It was noted that a number of matters had been raised that were currently being considered as part of the WMCA’s grievance process, at this stage they were still under investigation as part of normal processes.


·         Accessible Transport Group

The Monitoring Officer advised the committee that further to the previous meeting, the business had been sold to National Express. Continuous work was being undertaken to ensure the service was shaped with improvements to be both successful and profitable. It was noted that the administration process was not yet complete and matters relating to property value and holdings remained unresolved.


·         Mayoral Elections Preparation

The Monitoring Officer informed the committee of the appointment of Martin Reeves as the Combined Authority Returning Officer. In preparation for the mayoral elections taking place on 7 May 2020, the Monitoring Officer advised the committee that regular monthly meetings had been established as well as protocols being put into place on the information candidates would receive to ensure that there was a fair and consistent approach towards all mayoral candidates. 


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Presented By: Tanya Patel


The committee considered the plan of items to be reported to future meetings of the committee.




(1)       The items of business to be reported at future meetings be noted.


Internal Audit Update pdf icon PDF 482 KB

Presented By: Peter Farrow


The committee received an update on the work completed by internal audit so far this financial year. The following four satisfactory reports were outlined to members: Performance Management & Business Planning Arrangements, Birmingham Eastside Metro Extension Project Management Arrangements, Governance Arrangements - Midland Metro Ltd and Employee Performance Management.


In regards to the Birmingham Eastside Metro Extension Project Management Arrangements internal audit, the Chair advised the committee that he sought clarification on the audit reaching a satisfactory opinion due to the number of ‘amber’ recommendations and target dates, however Internal Audit felt comfortable with the level of assurance they provided.




(1)          The contents of the latest Internal Audit update report be noted.


(2)          The committee receive an update on the recommendations for the Performance Management & Business Planning Arrangements (Devolution Deal including Financial Assumptions 2018/19) Internal Audit Report in June 2020.


(3)          The committee receive an update on the Birmingham Eastside Metro Extension Project Management Arrangements 2018/19 Internal Audit report at its next meeting.


(4)          The committee receive an update on the Governance Arrangements - Midland Metro Ltd 2018/19 Internal Audit report at the next meeting.


Equal Pay Audit and Gender Pay Gap Update pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Presented By: Anna Sirmoglou


The committee received an update on the equal pay audit outcomes together with a breakdown of the latest gender pay gap statistics and outline of the initiatives and key areas of future focus to bridge the gap and promote inclusion.


An equal pay audit was conducted in August 2019 and concluded no areas of concerns, the vast majority of ‘like’ jobs were on the same grade and the grade differentials identified were related to either honorariums or employees being on a protected grade which was justified in line with the WMCA pay policy.


Councillor Alexander Phillips suggested that a more helpful comparison would be against any other mayoral / public sector organisation as the recruitment pool was drawn from those organisations, although the transport element of the WMCA should be taken into recognition. 




(1)          The outcomes of the Gender and Race Equal Pay Audit Report be noted.


(2)          The March 2020 WMCA Gender Pay Gap data and actions to address the gender pay gap and help bridge internal diversity gaps be noted.


(3)          The committee to receive an update on Equal Pay Audit and Gender Pay Gap in April 2020.


Investment Programme Governance Audit Update pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Presented By: Sukhy Dhanoa

Additional documents:


The committee received a report updating it on the internal audit recommendations, how the enhanced assurance framework was being updated to reflect latest government guidance and to answer questions raised by the committee on control mechanisms.


As a member of the Investment Board Nick Abell felt that effective work was being undertaken within the Senior Leadership Team to address the problems which have been highlighted as the Investment Programme had evolved.


From a monitoring perspective, the Chair requested that dates and timelines against the status of actions be included within the next update, and that the change control mechanism for projects outside the control of the Combined Authority was clearly defined.




(1)          The work that had been undertaken to date on the assurance framework, and the rationale behind the proposed way forward be noted.


(2)          The work being undertaken by Governance to deliver continuous improvements to the decision-making process, and how that impacted on the Investment Programme and PMO responsibilities, be noted.


(3)          Timescales and proposed activity for the resolution of outstanding actions in the Internal Audit Report dated 6 February 2018 be noted.


(4)          The current controls that were in place for programme risk and the intended changes to the controls be noted.


(5)          An update on progress against delivery on the action plan  be presented at the next meeting.


WMCA Financial Monitoring 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Presented By: Linda Horne

Additional documents:


The committee receive a report providing them with an update on the WMCA finances as at the end of July 2019. A summary of the revenue and capital spend against the approved budget was provided as well as a summary of the Investment Programme.




(1)          The financial position as at the end of July 2019 be noted.


WMCA Corporate Services Review pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Presented By: Sam Webster


The committee received an update on the Corporate Services review which had been ongoing since January 2019. Members were informed of further decisions that had been taken by Senior Leadership Team to progress the review and move towards excellence in service area provision.


The Head of Human Resources & Organisational Development informed the committee that a gateway review of the process would be undertaken and should be concluded for an update to be presented back to this committee in January 2020.




(1)          The contents of the report be noted.


(2)          Committee receive an update on the Corporate Services review in January 2020.


Capacity and Capability - Risks and Mitigations pdf icon PDF 204 KB

Presented By: Tracy Walters


The committee considered a report on how the WMCA was meeting the demands on its capacity and capability through a combination of resourcing and planning processes, and a blended approach to learning and development.


Councillor Alexander Phillips commented on the turnover of staff being historically low and questioned what the organisation is doing to ensure this did not drop any lower. The Head of Human Resources & Organisational Development explained that various resourcing models were being considered as well as inward secondments.




(1)          The report be noted.


(2)          The actions and considerations taken including systems, planning processes and policies to manage risks in the organisation around capacity and capability be noted.


Strategic Risk Register pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Presented By: Loraine Quibell

Additional documents:


The committee received a summary on the current status of key risks within the Strategic Risk Register. A quarterly review of the register was undertaken by the Senior Leadership Team to ensure the register reflected the key risks affecting the WMCA.


Risk discussions were focused upon the current uncertainties developing from Brexit and the national political situation impacting on the delivery of WMCA objectives. Taking into account these factors, the status of risk relating to external factors was noted. Two new risks had been identified within the register and these related to the risk of achieving the desired carbon reduction by 2041 and Overall Delivery of Devolution Objectives.


In regards to HS2 being considered as a risk for the WMCA, the Director of Strategy informed the committee that consideration would be given as to whether the risks around HS2 could be included within the register more explicitly. However it needed to be clear that that this programme was not the responsibility of the WMCA.




(1)          The strategic risks contained within the WMCA Strategic Risk Register be noted.


Data Protection and Data Processing pdf icon PDF 198 KB

Presented By: Gurmit Sangha


The committee considered a report on the categories of personal data processed by the WMCA, a broad overview of the data protection assurance controls in place and an outline of the regulatory action an organisation may be subject to in the event of a breach.


The WMCA processed a wide range of personal data across a number of diverse areas of operation and some key examples were provided. The Data Protection & Information Sharing Officer explained the controls in place to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.


The Chair requested further information on the quantity of banking information held to date, to help further understand the risks for the WMCA. The Data Protection & Information Sharing Officer felt that he received sufficient management and financial support to ensure adequate compliance.




(1)          The response of the WMCA to the necessary measures complying with the requirements of secure personal data storage and processing be noted.


(2)          The committee receive annual updates on the confidence and compliance of data protection and data processing.


Date of Next Meeting

Presented By: Chair


Tuesday 12 November 2019 at 10.00am.