Agenda item

Annual Review of the Effectiveness of Internal Audit for 2011/12 (Agenda item 7)

Report of the Head of Internal Audit.

Minutes:

The report set out the results of an annual review of the effectiveness of Internal Audit undertaken to satisfy criteria in the Account and Audit Regulations 2011.  It demonstrated that due processes had been followed and that reliance could be placed on the opinions expressed by the Head of Internal Audit which could then be used to inform the authority’s Annual Governance Statement.

 

The outcomes of the review had been attached at Appendix 1 to the report and essentially benchmarked the service against a range of eight assessment criteria. 

 

The Chairman congratulated the Head of Internal Audit as he felt that the report was clear and easy to understand.

 

In response to a question linked to delays over audit fieldwork completion, Members were informed that the delays mentioned on page 13 of the report had not incurred any additional cost to the Council.  One audit was then subject to further discussion, namely the review of Community Development, where it had been noted that poor audit trails had caused considerable extra work for the Auditor. It was explained that aspects of Community Development had been difficult to follow and a huge amount of information had required examination in consequence, to establish processes followed.  There had then been a problem converting the corresponding draft report to a final audit report.  Management had been slow to provide their responses to audit recommendations and where actions had been agreed, responsible officers had not been named, hence there had to be further liaison with management to clarify who would be delivering the agreed actions.  Members were referred to the Head of Internal Audit’s Annual report under Agenda item 8, and to Appendix 2(2) on pages 30-32 of the agenda where the Management Summary applicable to this review had been attached.

 

Another question was received concerning the low percentage of high priority recommendations implemented.  The Head of Internal Audit explained that the remaining five high priority recommendations had been due to be implemented by March 2012 but verification work had confirmed that they were still outstanding.  There had been a number of factors which had contributed to this situation and it was agreed that these would be discussed under agenda item 9.  In response to a further question on the assurance levels given to individual audits during 2011/12, it was pointed out that the authority had continued to receive a number of ‘good’ assurances in 2011/12 which compared favourably with the previous year.

 

Mr Ludlow had not seen sight of the quarterly audit newsletter referred to under the Improving Service Delivery section of the report and asked if it was available.  The Head of Internal Audit said that she was certain that the newsletter had been distributed.  The Accountancy Manager assured Members that she would follow this up.

 

RESOLVED that the findings of the review and the evidence gathered in support of the effectiveness of the Internal Audit Service be noted; and that these be taken into consideration when receiving the Head of Internal Audit’s Annual Report and Opinion and the Council’s Annual Governance Statement.

 

Supporting documents: