Decision details

Internal Audit Annual Report 2019/20

Decision Maker: Audit, Risk and Governance Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Purpose:

Audit work undertaken throughout the year supports the conclusion that moderate assurance can be provided over the county council's systems of governance, risk management and internal control. This report summarises the work that the Internal Audit Service has undertaken during 2019/20 and the key themes arising in relation to governance, risk management and internal control across the county council.

Decisions:

Ruth Lowry, Head of Internal Audit, presented a report summarising the work that the Internal Audit Service had undertaken during 2019/20 and the key themes arising in relation to governance, risk management and internal control across the county council.

 

The following areas of the report were highlighted:

 

·  Planned audits had been completed as far as possible, however final formal agreement of some individual audits had not been possible due to the pandemic. 

 

·  75% of the 55 audits undertaken provided either substantial or moderate assurance. The overall audit conclusion is one of favourable assurance regarding the systems of governance, risk management and internal control.

 

·  There were no outstanding actions for managers arising from audits undertaken in 2017/18 or earlier. Fewer actions than usual had been formally agreed during 2019/20 (57, compared to 269 in 2018/19) because a number of audit reports had not been agreed for the work completed last year.

 

·  It was noted that the work related to last year before the onset of the pandemic. It was positive to note the stabilisation of the senior management team and the council's financial position, as well as the council's continuing improvement journey, which would now include lessons to be learnt from the management of the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic the audit team had access to all services across council and were able to undertake all work as intended.

 

·  The Head of Internal Audit affirmed her organisational independence in terms of work undertaken and reported. In addition, regular feedback was sought in terms of team performance and client satisfaction, resulting in a good overall rating. It was emphasised that the team welcomed critical feedback and engagement to support quality assurance and the improvement programme.

 

Members sought clarification regarding the following:

 

·  Although the report mentions that lessons were being learned in the area of adult social care complaints, members asked how processes could be improved further. It was explained that the issues raised were procedural in nature and the Head of Internal Audit would provide the full audit report to Councillor Malik.

 

·  Referring to the Older People Service's audit and assurance arrangements, members asked if Lancashire's care homes had implemented sufficient measures as agreed to support safe practice. It was explained that the team had given moderate assurance in areas that included medication, planning and supervision. However the service had not yet followed up on the actions agreed and therefore it could not be confirmed that the actions had been implemented as intended.

 

Resolved: That the Internal Audit Annual Report 2019/20 and the information it provided to support the county council's annual governance statement for the year, be noted by the Audit, Risk and Governance Committee.

 

Report author: Ruth Lowry

Date of decision: 27/07/2020

Decided at meeting: 27/07/2020 - Audit, Risk and Governance Committee

Accompanying Documents: