Agenda item

Mid-year Internal Audit Activity Report (Agenda item 9)

Report by the Head of Internal Audit.


The Internal Audit Consortium Manager presented the report which examined the progress made between 1 April 2013 and 27 November 2013 in relation to the delivery of the Annual Audit Plan for 2013/14.


The Annual Audit Plan had initially contained provisions of 232.5 days to complete 16 assignments, 3 being the responsibility of the West Suffolk Internal Audit Partnership which, as the nominated auditors for the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership (ARP), had been charged with reviewing the systems for Council Tax, National Non Domestic Rates plus Housing and Council Tax benefits on behalf of Breckland Council.  The work for these 3 particular audit assignments originally aggregated 39.5 days, i.e. 17% of the originally approved Audit Plan.


In terms of how the Plan had panned out, the total planned audit days had actually fallen to 218.5, a reduction of 14 days this had been due to 3 key elements.  The first had been in relation to the deferral of the audit of Performance Management from 2013/14 to 2014/15 due to an on-going management review of the current system, the service structure and the team.  It was initially agreed with management to bring forward an audit of Partnerships by way of replacement for the deferred review, but following further consideration of this proposal, it had been decided no to progress this option and instead remove the original job budget of 10 days from the Annual Audit Plan.


The second change to the Plan concerned some computer audit savings secured involving ½ day in relation to BRK/14/16 Disaster Recovery Back Up and Data Centre.  Conducting a similar audit for another Consortium client had generated this saving against the previously allocated job budget for this work.


The third adjustment to the Plan was due to the West Suffolk Revenues and Benefits audits providing savings on internal audit time in 2013/14 through expected efficiencies based on the working practices of the last audit. This had enabled the overall budget for these audits to be reduced by 3.5 days. 


The other adjustment to the Plan had applied to the revised timetabling of the review of Firewalls which had been earmarked for delivery in the last quarter of the year.


Section 3.2.9 summarised the position of various assignments. 


It was noted that the field work in respect of Accountancy Services had been subsequently completed, whilst fieldwork for the Sundry Debtors audit had been scheduled to start in February 2014.


A mixture of assurance levels had been awarded finalised to date.  The audit of Economic Development (BRK/14/02) had concluded with a good assurance level, whilst a limited assurance had been awarded to Development Control (BRK/14/03), corresponding to the same level of assurance given when this area was previously audited.   A limited assurance had also been awarded to the audit of Homelessness, Housing List and Choice Base Lettings (BRK/14/06), the level of assurance had deteriorated since the previous review and had resulted in two high priority recommendations being raised.


A copy of the abbreviated Management Summaries of completed audit assignments had been attached at appendix 2.


Referring to the table at appendix 1 of the report Mr Ludlow asked the meaning of the heading ‘original scheduling’.   Members were informed that this was when the audit work should have started.  Mr Ludlow felt that a further heading specifying the original final completion date should be added for comparison.  The Internal Audit Consortium Manager advised that this information was already provided in the Annual Effectiveness report.


A Member asked how services receiving limited assurances from Internal Audit were dealt with.  The Internal Consortium Manager explained that the recommendations arising from these particular audits had been closely monitored regarding their implementation through subsequent audit follow up work with the outcomes reported back to the Audit Committee on a 6 monthly basis.  The current follow up results would be discussed at the additional Committee meeting organised for the following week.   Members were informed of the timeframes involved with regards to delivering high, medium and low priority recommendations.  In the event of high priority recommendations remaining outstanding at year end, these items would be identified in the Annual Audit Report and Opinion and carried over to the Annual Governance Statement.


In response to a further question in relation to the meaning of low priority recommendations, the Internal Audit Consortium Manager advised that low priority recommendations involved enhancements to systems of internal control, as opposed to significant or important developments being required to existing arrangements sought through high and medium priority recommendations.


The meaning of DISA configuration would be reported at the next meeting.


RESOLVED that the outcomes of the audits completed between April and November 2013, together with recent amendments made to the Annual Audit Plan for 2013/14 be noted. 


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