Local democracy during coronavirus

During coronavirus, we've made some changes to how we're running council meetings. See our coronavirus updates for more information on meetings and decisions.

Agenda item

Annual Report of the Head of Internal Audit

This report summarises the outcome of audit and counter fraud work undertaken in 2018/19 and provides an opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the council’s framework of governance, risk management and internal control.

 

Minutes:

Members received a report summarising the outcome of audit and  counter fraud work undertaken in 2018/19 and providing an opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s framework of governance, risk management and internal control.

 

The Head of Internal Audit attended the meeting to present the report and answer Member questions. He stated that the audit plan had been produced in consultation with Senior Management, by looking at the Risk Register and discussion with external auditors. The plan was then brought to Committee at the start of the year for approval. With a limited internal audit resource available they had to focus on key risk areas which, in the event of failure, would have the most significant impact on the Council. However, this was a flexible plan and changes could be made dependant on the Council’s priorities throughout the year.

 

In response to Member questions he stated:

 

·        Internal fraud investigations were usually against employees and would result in disciplinary action rather that financial recovery;

·        Decisions as to prosecution were made with the S151 Officer based on the prosecution policy. This was part of the Counter Fraud Policy Framework which was reviewed by this Committee. Officers would circulate this to Members following the meeting;

·        The definition for each level of assurance was reviewed regularly and they were currently under review;

·        Limited and no assurance papers were always included in the agenda papers;

·        The report on Ward Committee Funding had been presented as a Memorandum with no opinion as it was only a follow up report. This would also be the case if a report was only looking at a narrow part of a process and it was not possible to give an opinion;

·        Follow up work was undertaken on every audit. Action plans were produced with deadlines and every action point was followed up with management. Where there were delays there was often a good reason and a new deadline would be agreed. Where this was not the case this would be taken further, ending up at this Committee. A six monthly report to A&G would also include this information;

·        In relation to Information Security this had been included in the Annual Governance Statement, there were actions in place with Officers taking steps to mitigate risks in this area, which was particularly challenging in an organisation dealing with large amounts of data;

·        Information Security also included storage of data throughout the Council’s buildings. Building security was a partial mitigation but correct storage was still necessary. The report on this issue would be circulated to Members following the meeting; and

·        It was appropriate for Members to highlight audit reports they wished to consider in more detail or which they wanted to forward to scrutiny for consideration;

 

Some Members requested that Audit Reports of Reasonable Assurance and below be included in the agenda papers. However, Members who had previously sat on this Committee suggested that sending reports by email as they were published and publishing online with the agenda was sufficient and stopped the agenda papers from being unmanageable.

 

A Member highlighted several references to ‘Chairmen’ and requested that his be changed for less gender specific language moving forward.

 

Resolved: That Members:

 

1.   note the results of audit and counter fraud work undertaken;

2.   note the opinion of the Head of Internal Audit on the adequacy and effectiveness of the council’s framework of governance, risk management and internal control;

3.   note the outcome of the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme and the confirmation that the internal audit service conforms with Public Sector Internal Audit Standards; and

4.   note the significant control weaknesses identified during the year which are relevant to the preparation of the Annual Governance Statement.

 

Reason:

 

1.   To enable members to consider the implications of audit and counter fraud findings;

2.   To enable members to consider the implications of audit and counter fraud findings;

3.   To enable members to consider the opinion of the Head of Internal Audit; and

4.   To enable the Annual Governance Statement to be prepared

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

 

Feedback
Back to the top of the page