Agenda item

Internal Audit Progress Update and 2019/2020 Plan

·         BDO

·         LGSS

Presented By:C Dickens, Internal Auditor (PWC)


The Internal Auditor, BDO explained they had removed Audit 3, Corporate Fraud following discussions with management and were doing additional testing on Audit 9, Cash Handling and Audit 10, Procurement. 


The Chief Finance Officer was pleased that so many audits could be planned and he welcomed the progress made against delivery of the Internal Audit Operational Plan 2018/19.


The Internal Auditor, BDO explained that the conclusion of the remaining nine audits would be reported at the next committee meeting.  Any risks would be covered in the reports summary but the individuals involved would be safeguarded.


Regarding Audit 2, Member/Officer Relationships the Internal Auditor, BDO explained 24 Officers and 11 Members had responded to the survey.  Areas of good practice included the Constitution which set out the anticipated roles of Members and Officers.  The Executive Programme Board provided space for robust discussions between members of the Cabinet and senior officers.  The meeting had a positive energy with officers thanked for their contributions and a tone which indicated a positive working relationship. 


The Internal Auditor, BDO indicated areas for improvement included building on current definitions of member and officer roles, bringing these to life more clearly through example-based scenarios.  The member/officer protocol should be updated to include a clear process for officers to make complaints about members conduct. 


The Chief Finance Officer believed that updating the member/officer protocol would address 90% of the recommendations.


In response to a questions the Internal Auditor, BDO explained they were conducting a People audit which would encompass exit interviews.  They would also expect to see a healthy level of tension between officers and members but there were aspects that could be improved.  Ensuring the customer service centre worked more effectively could alleviate some tensions. 


The Internal Auditor, BDO then presented their Internal Audit Plan and Charter 2019/20.  15 audit days had been held and he sought views on which audits were considered less of a priority.  He indicated that a Section 106 review along with a review on Unitary Status could be added to the plan. 


The Chief Finance Officer requested that the Committee gave him delegated authority to amend the Internal Audit Plan 2019/20.  He indicated that he wanted to remove 5 audit days from the Safeguarding and Corporate Plan Progress audits along with 5 days from either the GDPR or Cyber audit.  This change would provide 2 audit days per month creating a capacity for a unitary status audit.  Members welcomed the focus on unitary status and were content with the proposed changes to the audit plan.


The Internal Auditor, LGSS presented his report explaining in terms of the debt recovery process a gap of seven weeks existed between the last reminder being generated and officers reviewing the debt.  In respect of the write offs, his review highlighted that the procedure was not always followed in practice.  He explained that 3 reviews had been followed up with only one action remaining outstanding.


The Chairman asked the Internal Auditor, LGSS to report back to the Committee on the debt performance.  The Internal Auditor, LGSS indicated that it would be included in the next audit report because the process needed to be agreed. 


The Governance and Risk Manager indicated that the Fixed Assets Audit could be started sooner than originally planned. 


RESOLVED: That the Audit Committee:

1.    Agreed to delegate authority to the Chief Finance Officer to amend the BDO Internal Audit Plan 2019/20 as discussed and to update the Committee accordingly; and

2.    Noted the update on work undertaken including the planned LGSS internal audit coverage that would be undertaken for the Council during 2019/20.

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