Agenda item

Review of Corporate Governance Risk Register

To consider the report of the Chief Executive & Growth Director.


The Audit Manager (HK) presented the report which advised the Audit and Governance Committee of the Council’s risk management process and provided an update of the Corporate Risk Register to enable the Committee to monitor and review the Council’s risks.


Changes to the following risks were proposed with updates provided from the Strategic Management Board (SMB):-


·      Risk 1 - Failure to deliver anticipated benefits of major projects

     As St Sidwell’s Point had now been delivered, it had been agreed by SMB to remove this risk.

Risk 2 - Insufficient business continuity arrangements to recover critical services effectively - SMB had agreed that this item has been mitigated to low risk and be removed but continue to be managed as part of the Executive Support Operational Risk Register.

·      Risk 3 - Inability to deliver Carbon Net Zero aspirations for Exeter by 2030 (External)

This risk related to Exeter City (as a whole) becoming Net Zero by 2030 and was a separate target and risk devolved to Exeter City Futures (ECF). It is intended that ECF will produce and manage a Risk Register against this target for the City which can be appended to the Council’s Corporate Risk Register as a separate register.


A new Risk was added at:-


·      Risk 9 - Inability to deliver Carbon Net Zero aspirations for Exeter City Council operations by 2030 (Internal) This risk is now the subject of a separate Risk Register which is being presented to this meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee. Further updates will be made half yearly.


The Director Finance responded to Members’ questions on the following risks:-


·      Risk 1 - Failure to deliver anticipated benefits of major projects

         St Sidwell’s Point (SPP) has been a major project in terms of size and importance to the Council. A major project is defined as a significant capital project and being of key importance to the Council. Such projects also tended to have a Governance structure around it, as there were reputational as well as associated financial risks to the Council, which is why it was specifically included on the Risk Register. There could be other projects that come forward and will be included on the Risk Register in the future.

·      Risk 3 - Inability to deliver Carbon Net Zero aspirations for Exeter by 2030 (External)

     The Director Finance would obtain a formal response to an enquiry directed to the Risk Owner for the External Carbon Neutral Risk Register, which will be appended to the Council’s Corporate Risk Register, as to the accountability to this Committee for its contents.

·           Risk 4 -  Failure to meet Exeter's Housing supply needs as a planning authority and meet strategic 5 year ambitions

the Audit Manager would seek a meeting with the Risk Owner of Risk 4 to discuss the information included, in the light of the Redhills Appeal determination published in February 2022.


A Member raised a number of points in relation to Risk 3, set out for information, and a response would be requested from the Risk Owner:-


·      in referencing the Greenhouse Gas Inventory report recently presented at Committee, despite the actions of the Council’s mitigation activities, there was little evidence that had been sufficiently articulated.

·      the adoption of Net Zero 2030 as a Council policy belonged to the Council as well as any other organisation that might wish to adopt it. However, there was a lack of clarity of ownership and accountability in respect of the Council focus on the operations of the city wide Net Zero Plan.  The Audit Manager in response to a further comment was able to confirm that the detail of this risk would continue to be included, and it would not be appropriate to remove that until the separate Risk Register document was in place.

The Director Finance also responded to the following Member’s comments:-


·      Risk 8 - Failure to deliver the Liveable Exeter Programme

the Exeter Development Fund does not currently pose a risk to the Council because the proposal was still at the concept stage. Although the matter was being discussed at a number of meetings of the Combined Scrutiny Committees, Members would need to consider any formal proposition though the Executive and Full Council. There would have to be a thorough review and decision to include on the Risk Register depending on what was being asked of the Council.


The Audit Manager referred to a discussion by Members that individual Risk Owners be invited to the Audit and Governance Committee to make a short presentation on their Risk area and provide an opportunity to discuss the risk in more detail. It was suggested that the Director Corporate Services or their representative, as Risk owner for Risk 5 - Failure to adapt Council workforce to ensure appropriate skills and experience be invited to the next meeting to offer the opportunity to provide more information to Members.


The Audit and Governance Committee reviewed and noted the updated Corporate

Risk Register and agreed that the identified owner of the individual Risks on the Corporate Risk Register be invited to future meetings to provide an opportunity to discuss in more depth, the nature of that risk.


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