Follow Up Report on Internal Audit Recommendations (Agenda item 12)
Report by Faye Haywood, Head of Internal Audit for Breckland DC.
Faye Haywood, the Head of Internal Audit presented the report.
The report provided Members with the position on the progress made by management in implementing agreed Internal Audit recommendations as 17 September 2021.
In terms of progress in delivering these recommendations and since the report was published, appendices 2 and 3 highlighted the three important and urgent priority recommendations that were still outstanding. The first one relating to Planning & Building Control and the S106 processes was up to date due to the Team facing unprecedented delays due to the pandemic but there had been some progress made over the last few weeks, and Internal Audit had been provided with an update and would hopefully be resolved by year end.
The second one outstanding that related to Information & Governance had since been completed and all issues had been resolved.
The third one on page 81 of the agenda pack, evidence had now been requested to demonstrate completion and was on track but would have to be independently verified before this one could be closed.
The Chairman thanked the Head of Internal Audit for her very positive report.
Mr Plaskett was always disappointed when seeing sight of so many outstanding actions from 2018/19 even though some were classed as low priority but felt that the organisation should really take better notice of some of these dates and get them completed on a more reasonable timeframe. He did not believe that Officers really understood the importance of internal audit and the reports that came from it - the response to those actions had always been approved by management and should be followed up by management and taken more seriously.
The Head of Internal Audit welcomed Mr Plaskett’s comments but pointed out that there had been some positive changes and were now seeing such recommendations prioritised and some had been completed. The focus this time was to mainly close down the urgent high priority recommendations but now the focus would turn to the outstanding historical actions from 2018/19, and meetings had already been arranged.
Councillor Clarke echoed Mr Plaskett’s comments.
Councillor Monument referred to page 80 of the agenda pack under Planning where it stated that an issue remained with open space in that the Team was yet to track down the right person to take on this role. She felt that this was getting desperately urgent as the original date was 31 December 2019 and even then, there were already a great deal of S106 problems in existence. The pandemic had not prevented people from applying for planning permission and there were more and more S106 agreements coming through with a number not actually applying with Planning Policy and therefore needed to be dealt with as soon as possible, and with no staff to be able to do this work was, in her opinion, very concerning.
The Head of Internal Audit agreed that it was an important priority recommendation and was well overdue but had been comforted by the fact that some progress had been made over the last 4 weeks. She was aware of Members’ concerns and if not completed next time, the Officer concerned would be asked to attend the meeting to update Members on progress.
The Chairman felt that if this priority recommendation was not completed by next time, the Director from the Planning Department should be asked to attend.
The Vice-Chairman, Councillor Kybird asked if this position had originally been an outsourced appointment such as a Legal firm and in which case, was the Council still being charged for such a service.
The Chairman said that this was a question that could be put to the Director at the next meeting.
The report was otherwise noted.
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