To provide members with the position on progress made by management in implementing agreed Internal Audit recommendations as at 30 November 2018 (report of the Head of Internal Audit enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Internal Audit which provided members with the position on the progress made by management in implementing agreed Internal Audit recommendations as at 30 November 2018.
In 2017/18, a total of 85 recommendations had been raised by both internal audit providers. Of those, 63 had been implemented by management, 15 were outstanding (7 urgent, 7 important and 1 needing attention). A total of 7 recommendations (4 urgent and 3 important) were not yet due. The management responses in relation to the outstanding urgent and important outstanding recommendations could be seen in Appendix 2 of the report. In addition, 22 advisory points were raised for CPBS audits and whilst these were not formal recommendations to be followed up, it was expected that these would be addressed in due course and that progress would be reviewed.
Members were updated on progress with the limited and no assurance conclusions:
· The internal audit review of Asset Management concluded with a limited assurance, 2 urgent recommendations had been addressed by management however, 5 recommendations including 3 of urgent priority remained overdue.
· The internal audit review of the Revenues Service concluded with a limited assurance and a total of 5 recommendations were raised, 4 of which were now complete and 1 urgent recommendation was now overdue. The deadline had been further extended until 31 January 2019.
· The internal audit review of the Payroll service concluded in a limited assurance and a total of 7 recommendations were raised, 4 of which were now complete, 2 urgent recommendations were not yet due, and a revised deadline for the remaining urgent recommendation had been agreed of 31 March 2019.
· The internal audit review of the Accounts Receivable service concluded with no assurance and a total of 10 recommendations were raised, with 5 of these now confirmed as complete. One urgent recommendation was not yet due, and 2 urgent recommendations were now overdue. Two important recommendations were now overdue and further extensions had been agreed.
The Place Manager and the Executive Manager Property and Development provided the following information with regard to Asset Management
· Update on audit recommendations – there were 5 recommendations outstanding, progress was much slower than officers would want however, some progress was being made.
· Asset Management was a new department that had arisen from the Place Review. A team was in place, there were some common skills however the skills around commercial estate were not held by the current team – proposals were being worked on to acquire additional resource to ensure that the audit actions could be undertaken. Members were advised however that it was difficult to find staff with these skills as it was a very challenging market.
· Members were advised that the Executive Manager Property and Development had a lot of experience in property development and estate management.
· The Authority held around 57 units – start ups were good, but growing these on was an issue.
· The Authority needed to look at how it could manage its estate better. The Executive Manager Property and Development and the Place Manager were identifying the skill-sets that were required and where support was needed. A new Asset Management Plan was also required.
· It was necessary to upskill and mentor the team. Work had started in September 2018 and this was beginning to bear fruit however, progress was difficult – it was challenging to identify staff with Estate Management skills.
The Place Manager commented that officers could attend the next meeting of the Committee to provide a stronger update with significant progress on audit recommendations.
Members raised the following issues:
· Did the Authority own its own units, and was it getting a good return on its assets?
o Officers responded that there was full occupancy and units were well used. The Authority was getting a good return, but it could be better. Consideration needed to be given to what the offer was. It was important to have a commercial landlord in place, to have the correct policies and the correct tenants in the correct units.
· Members commented that it was important for the Authority as a landlord to help businesses to move into larger, more appropriate locations where required.
The Head of Finance provided the following updates with regard to Compass Point Business Services:
· Within Appendix 2, there were 3 recommendations relating to the authorisation matrix. There had been a number of issues including IT problems and officers not using the system as required. Officers were working with managers to resolve this and find the best way forward. Finance was setting up information on managers’ behalf. It was hoped that these issues would be resolved by March.
· Review of billing codes – this had been completed for South Holland District Council.
· VAT e-learning modules – this had now been completed.
· Pay.Net – There had been issues with miscellaneous income. There had been discussions with the software company regarding liability for correcting the system and the company was now in the process of providing these corrections.
That the report be noted.