Agenda item

Internal Audit Annual Report 2018/19

Minutes:

The DCIA introduced the report and welcomed questions. The following points arose from discussion:-

 

1. There was concern that the number of red/amber indicators had increased from the previous year. It was reported that IA operated a risk based audit so the areas audited were predominantly ones of high risk and therefore likely to highlight issues;

2. The new procurement manager’s improvements had yet to be embedded;

3. The reasons for the increase in the number of Limited assurance conclusions was partially connected to greater transparency and the depth of scrutiny given to a number of areas. There would continue to be areas of weakness that would need to be addressed;

 

At this point Councillor Jackson left.

 

4. This was the third year of a limited assurance opinion. It was noted that there had been significant changes to the management structure and there was now a greater expectation on middle management. These changes would have had an impact on improvements;

5. In relation to risk exposure to Corporate Governance arrangements a review into the area of Homelessness which examined the effectiveness and progress of the implementation of a decision taken at Cabinet in May 2017 determined that there were good controls in place and a reasonable assurance could be concluded;

6. A review of Senior Officer decision recording had identified a number of recommendations to be implemented. On follow up it was confirmed that all recommendations had been implemented;

7. There had been a number of reviews concerning financial controls and a reasonable assurance had been concluded;

8. The Risk Manager had developed a good framework for corporate risk management and this initial work would be reported to the Committee in July;

9. Contract Management across the Council was good in some areas and not in others. It was very difficult to ensure consistent processes throughout;

10. A bribery and corruption review had concluded a reasonable assurance;

11. Recommendations implementation was at 60% which was a positive increase. Increased senior management engagement had assisted this;

12. There was a changed approach to the audit service with earlier and maintained engagement with its clients and the agreement of actions to achieve assurances. There was a need to change the culture so that IA was seen as a positive thing. It was noted that IA attended all Executive Directorate Meetings on a quarterly basis and this was bringing about better engagement with the right officers without the need to cascade. It was hoped to speed up processes and cut down on follow-up work;

13. There had been an increase in income generated by the Audit team on 2017/18 and this was despite the loss of the Avon Fire and Rescue Service Internal Audit contract;

14. The Management feedback questionnaire had a response rate of only 34% which was a slight decrease on the previous year;

15. The Internal Audit revised structure, supported by the Director – Finance had resulted in the appointment of a number of posts;

16. Internal Audit (IA) staff had experienced some restriction on carrying out their work but this had not prevented an opinion being made. Some Senior Officers had not wanted their work area to be audited due to business continuity and multiple changes taking place. This was accepted by IA as a reasonable reason. It was agreed to report back to the Committee outside of this meeting regarding the service areas involved.

 

The following points arose from discussion:-

 

1. Simon Cookson observed that the Committee needed to support IA in achieving their work and suggested that the Audit Committee should approve the deferral of IA reviews and that this could identify any trends and was informed that the service did look for patterns. It was noted that this would be reported to the November Committee but in the future it might be helpful to append to this report;

2. It was reported that the overall opinion for the adequacy of governance, risk and control arrangements had dropped to Limited Assurance although in year recommendation implementation had increased.

 

Resolved – That the Audit Committee receive and note the report as a source of assurance regarding the risk, control and governance environment across the council.

 

 

Supporting documents: