Follow up Report on Internal Audit Recommendations (Agenda item 13)
- Meeting of Governance and Audit Committee, Thursday, 8th October, 2020 10.00 am (Item 40/20)
- View the background to item 40/20
Report by Fiona Dodimead, Director of Internal Audit.
The Internal Audit Director (TIAA) provided Members with a detailed overview of the follow up report.
The report provided Members with the position on progress made by the management in implementing agreed internal audit recommendations as at 22 September 2020.
It was noted that the chart on page 212 of the agenda pack under paragraph 2.3, should read that 73 outstanding recommendations had been completed not 72.
There had been some movement in respect of 2017/18, 3 further recommendations had been implemented, the remaining outstanding recommendations were in relation to cyber security and internal audit were continuing to follow the progress on those.
For 2018/19, a total of 15 recommendations remained outstanding, details of which could be found at Appendix 3 of the report.
The Internal Audit Director was pleased to confirm that all outstanding recommendations from 2016/17 had now been implemented and good progress was also being made against recommendations raised in 2019/20.
The Chairman felt that where a matter remained outstanding that had gone beyond its review date, in the past, the Committee had asked for a senior officer to attend a meeting to explain why the items were still outstanding, this had worked very well in previous years and had made a dramatic difference. He was keen for this to continue.
Mr Plaskett had noticed a number of inconsistencies in the report and drew attention to page 212 and 213 where the figures did not add up, and he was disappointed to note that 21% of recommendations from 2018/19 were still outstanding. He felt that management particularly the Chief Executive ought to take a closer look at these outstanding recommendations as a matter of urgency as all needed to be resolved.
The Chairman pointed out that Breckland Council did not have a Chief Executive and it was noted that a meeting was being held later where Members would be asked to consider the appointment of an interim Head of Paid Service. He agreed with Mr Plaskett and given the hiatus he asked for these matters to be addressed again at the December meeting where perhaps a discussion could be had with the Senior Management Team.
The Vice-Chairman drew attention to page 217 where he had noticed a delay to the review of the Council’s S106 agreements due to the outsourced solicitor being furloughed. He asked if such work could be carried out remotely, if not, he felt it should be brought back in-house as many of these S106 matters contained time constraints.
Mark Stinson, the Director of Governance agreed that if the Council was unable to secure the services of the said Solicitor then it should be brought back-in house or alternative resources be commissioned elsewhere. He asked for it to be confirmed which S106 Agreement this referred to so he could make further inquiries. The Vice-Chairman believed it was generic and was a backlog of S106 matters but felt that in the first instance anything that was at risk of exceeding its time limitations be actioned in an urgent alternative manner.
The Chairman agreed that this matter should be addressed. He was aware, however, that this had been an exceptional year and many Officers had been deployed elsewhere to support communities and manage the issues around Covid. As such, the capacity for the non-front-line staff had not been available and he did not want to set unrealistic demands on Officers. He agreed that these outstanding matters were important and also agreed that, as a Committee, a recovery plan should be looked at to pick up some of these historical issues.
The Vice-Chairman said that perhaps an update could be received prior to the next meeting when the facts were clearer. The Director of Governance pointed out that he had already sent an email to the Head of Legal Services to look into the position of the S106 Agreements and provide an update as soon as possible.
The Internal Audit Director addressed the concerns raised by Mr Plaskett in terms of the numbers and apologised as it was an error and would be rectified.
Subject to the aforementioned amendments, the contents of the report were agreed.
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