Internal Audit Progress Report
Decision status: Recommendations approved
Is Key decision?: No
Ruth Lowry, Head of Internal Audit, presented an update on the Internal Audit Service's work including key findings, issues of concern and action being taken up to 31 December 2018.
It was confirmed that the actions raised in the last meeting with regard to potentially including the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS) within the remit of the audit programme and had confirmed the figure quoted for outcome claims for the Troubled Families programme.
The committee's attention was drawn to the following key areas of the report:
· It was confirmed that the matters arising from internal audit work were for the period to 31 December 2018 (not 2019 as detailed in the report).
· Of the 90 audits planned 36 (40%) were complete or at the point where draft reports were being prepared for discussion with managers.
· The results so far were as expected and 23 (not 22 as specified in the report) out of 27 were favourable, giving substantial or moderate assurance.
· A considerable amount of work had been undertaken in the last year to improve the council's current financial position in terms of sustainability resulting in a projected funding gap for 2019/20 reducing from £60.6 million to £14.6 million. The available reserves would be sufficient to support the council's budget until at least 2022/23.
· Local Pensions Partnership Limited's (LPPL) internal auditor, Deloitte, is still completing an audit of the partnership's investment operations. The outcome of the audit would be reported to this committee at the next meeting in May 2019 in addition to any other audit work completed for 2018/19.
· Medication practices across Disability Services had achieved moderate assurance, not limited as specified in the report.
· With regard to the managers' progress in implementing actions from previous audits, some had been superseded by a review of processes making them no longer relevant.
In response to questions from members the following information was clarified:
· The management structure does not make explicit the fourth of the council's directorates including the one lead by the Chief Executive.
· The audit plan was ambitious, and it is unlikely that all will be delivered by 30 April 2019, but the team is working hard to complete most of the plan.
· In terms of Special Guardianship Orders, the service had more work to do and in due course it was anticipated that further testing in future would give more assurance over the controls now being put in place. Moderate assurance had been given over the controls' design but not yet over their operation in practice.
· The audit of educational off-site visits had been deferred to 2019/20 as the service was making some improvements and had requested more time to put them in to place.
In response to further questions from members,officers clarified the following information:
· Substantial assurance was in place for the Crisis Support Service as the scheme was well controlled, however the budget and its expenditure was within the remit of the service and not a matter for this audit. It was confirmed that the internal audit service provided assurance regarding risks and mitigation within the bounds of clearly defined objectives.
· With regard to contract monitoring that had achieved moderate assurance, there was scope to improve and the action plan would be followed up.
Members commented that the team were to be commended for their work towards achieve the challenging objective of 90 audits in the plan for this financial year and looked forward to the follow up actions from management for those areas with limited assurance.
The Chair referred to a recent event he had attended regarding financial sustainability and resilience and would ask officers to circulate the supporting information to members of the committee.
Resolved: That the report now presented be noted.
Report author: Ruth Lowry
Date of decision: 28/01/2019
Decided at meeting: 28/01/2019 - Audit, Risk and Governance Committee