Agenda item

Strategic and Annual Internal Audit Plans 2019/20 (Agenda item 11)

Report of the Head of Internal Audit and the Internal Audit Manager.


Faye Haywood, the Internal Audit Manager presented the report for Members to note and approve.  It was noted that the recommendation to approve the Audit Charter had been inadvertently omitted from the report and would need to be considered.


There was an obligation under the PSIAS for the Charter to be periodically reviewed and presented.  The latest version of the Charter had been updated to reference the Internal Audit Manager role.


The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 required that a relevant authority must undertake an effective internal audit to evaluate the effectiveness of its risk management, control and governance processes taking into account public sector internal auditing standards or guidance.


Mr Plaskett highlighted the responsibility section on page 71 of the agenda pack, in particular section 2.3.4 and felt that the wording needed to be changed.  The Chairman asked for the words ‘within agreed time frames’ to be added to this section.


The purpose of the Internal Audit Strategy (see Appendix 2) confirmed how the internal audit service would be delivered and developed in accordance with the internal audit charter; how internal audit services linked to organisational objectives and priorities; and how the internal audit resource requirements had been assessed.


The overarching objective of the Strategic Internal Audit Plan (see Appendix 3) was to provide a comprehensive programme of review work over the next three years, with each year providing sufficient audit coverage to provide annual opinions, which could be used to inform the organisation’s Annual Governance Statement. Emma Hodds, Head of Internal Audit had discussed the associated risks for the forthcoming years with the Executive Management Team.


Having developed the Strategic Internal Audit Plan, the Annual Audit Plan was an extract of this for the forthcoming financial year (see Appendix 4) and detailed the timings and the purposes of each audit agreed for inclusion in 2019/20.


A number of concerns were raised in relation to Appendix 3 in respect of the limited assurance that had been given to procurement and contract management and it was asked if the timing for 2019/20 was sufficient.  The other concern related to the lack of information pertaining to Breckland Bridge.  Members were informed that a limited assurance opinion had been given for the procurement and contract management area in 2018/19 but it had been agreed that this area should be revisited focusing on the progress made on completion of the proposed recommendations from the previous review.  Referring to Breckland Bridge, it was noted that this review had been deferred from the 2018/19 plan to allow officers to focus on the due diligence of Breckland Bridge partnership extension proposals which were planned over the next 10 to 15 years. Further days could be added accordingly.


Another concern raised was in relation to Strategic Housing and following a reasonable assurance that been given in 2016/17, the next review was not going to be undertaken until 2020/21. Members were informed that following discussions, this area was not classed as a high risk.


Digital Strategy, although an important area going forward, was another area that would not be looked at until 2021 which surprised some Members.  The Chief Accountant & Deputy S151 Officer explained that the Digital Strategy had only been approved in 2018; therefore, there would not be much information for Members to consider if the audit was carried out any earlier.


Mr Plaskett mentioned cyber security.  The Internal Audit Manager advised that detailed discussions on this matter needed to take place in 2020. 


Members’ attention was drawn to the 3 recommendations on page 63 of the agenda and the further recommendation that had to be included in respect of the Internal Audit Charter.


RESOLVED that the Committee note and approves:


a)     the internal audit Strategy for 2019/20;

b)     the Strategic Internal Audit Plan 2019/20 to 2021/22;

c)     the Annual Internal Audit Plan 2019/20; and

d)     the Internal Audit Charter 2019/20.

Supporting documents: