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Agenda item

2017- 18 Internal Audit Annual Report

Minutes:

In the discussion the following points were made:

·         Recommendations in relation to cross cutting pieces of work such as contract management mostly related to how controls could be better designed.

·         Recommendations in relation to individual services mostly related to the implementation of controls that had already been designed.

·         Future reports should include a simple summary quantitative table.

·         Protocol stated that exit interviews following an audit should be conducted within two weeks of the draft report. Realistically this happened within one month due to diary co-ordination. However, informal meetings were held at the end of the audit and often officers had implemented recommendations before the exit interview.

·         The Off-Payroll Working Through An Intermediary Audit (CC17_3 – IR 35) related to contractors and consultants who set up a limited company for tax reasons. There were legal restrictions on this and if the council did not follow these, it could be liable. Corporately there were good arrangements but there were some issues with schools. Controls had been designed for monitoring future arrangements and HR would be moderating assessment by managers.

·         The Gifts and Hospitality and Declarations of Interest – Employees Audit (CC17_10) found that corporate ownership had not been established and so control design recommendations had been made. The Code of Conduct should be updated and information should be provided to staff via Izzi or the Friday Feature. Follow up actions would be brought to the next meeting. Fraud awareness training would be launched soon and would include a question relating to the Bribery Act.

·         In relation to the Continuous Auditing of Key Financial Systems Audit (R17_3), findings relating to Cash Management and Treasury reported in the previous year had been implemented in 2017-18. However, other weaknesses were noted during the testing process which resulted in limited assurance. Overall it was a mixed picture; with Treasury Management and Parking remaining Moderate; and Council Tax & NNDR remaining Substantial, when compared to the last time these areas were tested in 2015/16. On the whole, key financial systems were working and so the overall rating was Moderate. The council did not operate a purchase order system but mitigations were in place. Consideration was being given to purchasing a new HR and Finance system and any system would include a purchase order system. In relation to suspense accounts, these should be cleared in 30 days. Bank reconciliations had been done but some did not include the name of the authorising officer.

·         In relation to the SEN Transport Audit (CS17_2), it was not the case that staff were working without a DBS check but there had been an issue with renewals being flagged and reconciliation with HR records. All recommendations had been accepted and there would be clear lines of responsibility, better joined up working and consideration of value for money issues. It was clear that service delivery was at the heart of what the team did.

·         In relation to the Hargrave School Audit (CS17.5), the officer would provide a response outside of the meeting.

·         The Hornsey Lane Tenant Management Organisation Audit (HASS17_7)  would be followed up in Quarter 3.

·         A task group had been set up to implement the recommendations in the Contingency Planning for Provider Failure Audit (HASS16_1). The client would be supported throughout the year.

·         The Blue Badge Audit (ER17_2) had been deferred as staff vacancies meant the audit team did not have enough capacity to complete the review as originally planned and resources were allocated to urgent work.

·         The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Audit (HASS17_1) had been deferred. The review would be a specific review of the processes and controls in place to ensure the business plan was robust. It would not be an audit of the HRA as disclosed in the published (and audited) annual Financial Statements, which were audited each year by the external auditors.  The audit was due to take place in February 2018 but the key member of staff working on the business plan was working on the year-end financial closedown and production of the Financial Statements for 2017/18. The audit was deferred to the autumn of 2018 and the audit team were in the process of scoping this review with management. As the business plan was being refreshed, now was a more appropriate time to look at the HRA.

·         The Use of Agency Staff Audit (FWU17_14) concentrated on agency staff in the Public Realm team and a follow up was issued in September 2017. 2 out of 5 recommendations had been fully implemented and 3 out of 5 had been partly implemented. Subsequent to the report E&R management commissioned internal audit to review overtime payments to Public Realm staff which picked up the outstanding recommendations from the September 2017 review. The subsequent review of E&R overtime in 2018 made a number of value adding recommendations. This would come back to committee in January 2019.

·         PWC provided resources for a number of days of auditing; the rest was done in-house. The contract with them would expire in March 2020 and a retendering process had started.

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.

 

 

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