Agenda item

Strategic and Annual Internal Audit Plans 2021/22 (Agenda item 9)

Report by Faye Haywood, Head of Internal Audit.


The Head of Internal Audit presented the report.


This was quite a lengthy report; however, some elements of it were just a formality; therefore, Members were guided through the high-level points and directed to the areas where their input and feedback was required. 


The introduction outlined the reason why the report was produced, and the Internal Audit Strategy and Charter were formal documents that Audit was required to provide to Members as part of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards.  These went into great detail of how Internal Audit carried out their work that Members received annually and had not changed from previous versions. 


In October 2022, Eastern Internal Audit Services was fully assessed by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors and the conclusion of the review had been very good in terms of performance with the Standards.  It had been highlighted; however, that Assurance Mapping was as an area that required further development.  Following discussions with Senior Management, the Internal Audit Team had been able to map the types of assurance available for the top five strategic risks facing the Council in each of the three assurance categories (see section 6.5 and 6.6 on page 41 of the agenda pack).


Members attention was then drawn to page 54 of the agenda pack onwards.  This was a high level 3-year programme looking at the types of audits that should be carried out and the strategic risks had been mapped to those.


Referring to page 58 of the agenda pack, these were the areas that Internal Audit were proposing to look at for the year ahead - the number of days proposed to carry out this work and notes in terms of what might be looked at.  Members were asked for feedback on this section and if there were any areas that they had expected to see in next year’s programme that had not been included.


Councillor Clarke referred to the Internal Audit Plan 2023/24.  He agreed with Appendix 5 in respect of the top strategic risks and the fact that Nutrient Neutrality was a moving feast and would ultimately be resolved but in the commentary in Appendix 3 the column headed ‘last reviewed & assurance’ he felt that it would be helpful to have some explanation on how assurance was moved from ‘reasonable’ to ‘substantial’.


The Head of Internal Audit explained the methodology behind the 4 gradings, no assurance, limited, reasonable and substantial.  Substantial was the top grading, the meaning of which was that everything was operating effectively.


Councillor Kybird, the Vice-Chairman mentioned People & Governance that included Elections and asked what Audit would cover in respect of the photographic evidence that was now required to be able to vote in an Election.


Members were informed that the Election Team was extremely busy at the moment, and she had no intention of disturbing them and as this was a new element, assurance would be provided going forward.


Councillor Monument was puzzled by the dates in respect of the Internal Audit Charter for 2023/24 and the Strategic Internal Audit Plan for 2023/24 to 2026/27 which in her opinion was not a 3-year plan.  She also mentioned section 4.2 on page 40 of the agenda pack and asked whether this was meant to be a 3-year strategic plan.  Also, on page 59 she had noticed that there were several items that required ‘regular’ review and asked if regular meant annually.  Other queries related to when the benchmarking exercise would be taking place as there was no date against it and the meaning of BRK on page 61 of the agenda pack.


The Head of Internal Audit explained that it was a 3-year programme, but this could be worded better to avoid any confusion. Regular reviews were carried out annually and she would ensure that this was clearer going forward, there was no date set for the benchmarking exercise as yet, but it would be at some point in the summer and the meaning of BRK was an abbreviation used by the Team to refer to Breckland Council.


RESOLVED that the Committee notes and approves:


a) the Internal Audit Charter for 2023/24;


b) the Internal Audit Strategy for 2023/24;


c) the Strategic Internal Audit Plan 2023/24 to 2026/27; and


d) the Annual Internal Audit Plan 2023/24.

Supporting documents: