Agenda item

Internal Audit Progress Report


Ruth Lowry, Head of Internal Audit, presented updates on the Internal Audit Service's work including key findings, issues of concern and action being taken as a result of internal audit work, the internal audit progress report and outcomes of the work for 2019/20 for the period to 30 September 2019.


The following points were highlighted:


·  Of the planned audits for the period, ten had been completed to date and the amendments to the audit plan as detailed in the report were explained and noted by the committee. The report contained details of actions arising from previous years and it was confirmed that all actions from 2015/16 and 2016/17 were now closed.


·  There were six actions that remained outstanding from 2017/18, including  the transition from children's to adult services (high risk) and it was explained that the actions identified in 2018 had been subsumed into a single action for the directors of Children's and Adults Services. There was a significant amount of work still underway in this area and the relevant directors had contributed to the progress update in the report. Currently no due date could be determined for completion of the action.


·  The other outstanding high risk area for action to be completed was personal budgets for children's service users and direct payments to their carers. The work on this was linked with the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Ofsted improvement plan that management was working through. Further testing in this area was underway that would be reported to the next meeting of the committee.


·  The medium risks with actions outstanding were: case management of occupational therapy services; public health commissioning strategy and commissioning, design and monitoring of the capital programme. The latter two should be completed prior to February 2020, however the first had no foreseeable date for completion.


·  An example of type one assurance was shared from the report that showed that the adequacy of the control framework had been audited and given assurance but was not yet in operation, therefore there could be no testing of the controls in place (type two audit work). This example highlighted the differences between the two types. 


·  Of the ten completed audits for this period, only Lancashire Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB) governance of expenditure had been given limited assurance. It was explained that the LSCB had been replaced by a statutory Safeguarding Assurance Partnership, covering Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool and its financial arrangements would be different from those for the LSCB. To address questions raised by members regarding scrutiny and transparency for expenditure, Ruth Lowry would circulate the full report.


Members expressed concern regarding the management response to the outstanding actions for the high risk areas and the absence of a due date for resolution, for these and the medium risk: case management of occupational therapy services. Members requested that executive directors provide a progress report to the January 2020 committee meeting, including what had been done so far to mitigate the risks.


Angie Ridgwell, Chief Executive, responded that the issues needed to be looked at in the broader context of the Children's Services improvement journey of 'getting to good' following Ofsted monitoring inspections. The service had undertaken a significant amount of work and had recently been successful in assuring a bid for Safeguarding Families funding, which would allow a remodelling of children's social care that could potentially address the issues raised in the audit and supersede the agreed actions.


It was agreed that the head of Internal Audit and the head of Legal and Democratic Services would liaise with the executive directors to ensure that any duplication of work to address the needs of both this committee and the Internal Scrutiny Committee is minimised, but that reports on each of these actions should be brought to this committee's next meeting in January 2020.


Resolved: That


(i)  The Internal Audit Progress report be noted.


(ii)  The committee receive an update report at the 27 January 2020 meeting from the relevant executive directors regarding the progress made toward addressing the actions identified from audit work from 2017/18 for the following areas:

·  transition from children's to adult services;

·  personal budgets for children's service users and direct payments to their carers; and

·  case management of occupational therapy services.


Supporting documents: