Agenda item

Internal Audit Progress Report


That the report be approved.


The Internal Audit Manager presented the update report on progress of the Internal Audit department.  He referred to work on the completion of the updated Plan for 2014/15 and commencement of the 2015/16 Plan, together with implementation of the integrated audit software as detailed in the report.


On the list of finalised reports, an overview was provided on the findings of those with red assurance levels.  On Communities First, reference was made to the grants issues raised by the Wales Audit Office (as discussed earlier in the meeting) and the need to comply with the Contract Procedure Rules on future procurement.  On Schools Safeguarding, the Internal Audit Manager welcomed the swift response and actions from management to address the recommendations.  In addition to communications sent to all schools, it was intended to raise the urgent safeguarding issues identified by the audit review through the Heads’ Federations in the current term to ascertain any training requirements.  Following a query from Councillor Glyn Banks, it was confirmed that the seven schools involved had been selected at random.


On the implementation of recommendations, it was explained that actions relating to staff recruitment and induction had been delayed due to the departure of key staff at managerial level.  Actions had therefore been reallocated and a new deadline date would be agreed.


Following concerns raised by Councillor Alison Halford on Section 106 Agreements, the Internal Audit Manager gave assurances that this audit would be scheduled into the 2015/16 Plan.


Councillor Arnold Woolley pointed out that some of the recommendations remained outstanding from reports issued up to six years ago and had been given revised deadline dates.  The Internal Audit Manager acknowledged this and assured Members that each would be reviewed to ascertain if they were still relevant to enable him to report back to the Committee on progress with actions being taken.  He added that most related to the Capital Programme which would be addressed through the Capital Strategy due to be issued.  Following further comments by Councillor Woolley on the need for accountability to the Committee, the Chief Officer (Governance) detailed the reasons behind outstanding recommendations in his portfolio which demonstrated the need to defer actions in some cases.  He added that the integrated audit software would aid in the implementation and tracking of recommendations.  The Internal Audit Manager gave a reminder that the process also involved seeking approval from the relevant Chief Officer on the reason for non-implementation of recommendations.


Mr. Paul Williams pointed out that audit recommendations were based on risk which was a concern for those which had been outstanding for some time.  Whilst acknowledging reliance on the opinion of Internal Audit on acceptance of the risks, he felt that fuller explanations would be helpful to give assurance to the Committee, and hoped that the situation would improve.


In response to a query by Councillor Haydn Bateman, the Internal Audit Manager agreed to provide more detail on Communities First.


On Performance Indicators, the overall target for issuing reports had been narrowly missed.  Despite the downturn in the number of returned client satisfaction questionnaires at the end of each audit, the annual figure was 57% which remained above the Welsh average.


In response to concerns raised by Councillor Halford at this downturn, the Internal Audit Manager explained that the returned questionnaires generally reported positive feedback.  He gave assurances that questionnaires would continue to be chased and hoped that this figure would improve through monitoring by the new integrated audit software.  Councillor Halford said that this was a long-standing problem and suggested that those responsible could attend a future meeting to provide explanation.  Whilst the Chief Officer understood these frustrations, he pointed out the need to consider the workload involved, highlighting the audit work on the Plan which was disproportionately spread amongst portfolios.


On the summary of investigations, the Committee was advised that the disciplinary process relating to Waste had reached a conclusion and that, as previously requested, a report would be received at the next meeting.




That the report be approved.

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