[To receive an update on the key risks the Council faces and how it can gain assurance that these risks are being mitigated]
Paul Lakin, Head of City Development was in attendance to discuss risk 9 - City Centre Regeneration. He gave an update on action being taken to manage risks across the City Centre Regeneration programme and to address the potential for delayed delivery and cost overrun.
Councillor Christine Mills reported that she was impressed with the redevelopment of the Mander Centre but would welcome more movement on the number of retailers located in the Centre. The Head of City Development commented that there was a national problem in the retail sector with most retailers trying to consolidate their commercial stock.
Councillor Philip Bateman MBE commented that a lot of the concerns regarding the retail sector were not within the gift of the Council to resolve. The issue for him was measuring and understanding what was happening with the foot fall in the city.
The Chair reported that he was encouraged by the regeneration activity taking place. He asked whether hotel accommodation was something being looked at. The Head of City Development reported that a piece of work had been undertaken to establish where the demand points were. The city’s hotel accommodation market was not huge but there was a gap at the higher end of the market.
Nathan Hazlehurst, Prevent and Cohesion Officer was also in attendance to report on action being taken to address risk 26 - Community Cohesion. The risk had been transferred to a directorate risk register. He explained the work of the Council in terms of monitoring and responding to community cohesion issues.
In response to questions about the level of attendance at Community Cohesion Forum meetings and any areas of weakness across the city, the Prevent and Cohesion Officer reported that the forum meetings were well attended and that there was more work to do on the Forum’s engagement with young people. He also reported that there were different community cohesion issues across the city but overall cohesion was good. An independent review had ranked City of Wolverhampton as the third most integrated place in the UK.
Hayley Reid, Senior Auditor presented the rest of the report on the key risks the Council faced and how the Committee could gain assurance that the risks were being mitigated.
Councillor Christine Mills requested more information and risk 31- City of Wolverhampton College. The Senior Auditor reported that Cabinet had approved work to support the College. Positive discussions had taken place and it was hoped that the risk would be reduced by the time of the next risk register report to the Committee.
Councillor Philip Bateman MBE commented that a big issue for the Council was the ability to move around Wolverhampton and the rest of the conurbation. The deteriorating condition of the highway, the costs to the Council in maintenance, upkeep and insurance claims; the Council’s ability to keep up-to-date with highways security all affected your ability to get around the city and the conurbation. He asked if consideration had been given to whether there was a risk to the city’s economy from a deteriorating road network.
The Chair also asked when the Committee would receive the findings from the lessons learned review on risk 30 - Civic Halls. Peter Farrow, Head of Audit reported that the completed review report would be referred to the Council’s Strategic Executive Board (SEB) then onto Cabinet and thereafter to the Audit and Risk Committee. The Chair asked that if finalised, that it be presented to the next meeting and a member of SEB be invited to attend.
Referring to the same risk, John Humphreys, Independent Member asked whether any information was available from the full risk assessment workshop on 7 February 2018. The Senior Auditor reported that it would be presented to the next meeting with the risk register.
1. That the Strategic Risk Register as at Appendix 1 to the report be noted.
2. That the identification of two new risks be noted:
· Risk 30 – Civic Halls, due to the issues surrounding the refurbishment of the Civic Halls.
· Risk 31 – City of Wolverhampton College, as a result of the Council not agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding with the College.
3. That the increase in the risk scores for risk 8 – Business Continuity Management and risk 15 – Emergency Planning due to staffing changes within the Resilience Team be noted.
4. That the amendment of the risk description and the reduction in the assessment for risk 14 – School Improvement to reflect that; 95% (58 out of 61 maintained schools) are now at good or above. Standards within academies will covered by a separate risk where appropriate be noted.
5. That it be noted that the Council have considered the implications of the insolvency of Carillion PLC, it has been decided that no new risks require inclusion in the strategic risk register at this time. However, details of the effect on existing risks are included in appendix 1 where appropriate. The Council will continue to monitor the situation and any new risks or changes to the assessment of current risks will be reported to future Audit and Risk Committee meetings.
6. That the main sources of assurance available to the Council against its strategic risks at Appendix 2 be noted.