Agenda item

Follow Up Report on Internal Audit Recommendations.

To provide members with the position on the progress made by management in implementing agreed Internal Audit recommendations as at 5 January 2021 (report of the Head of Internal Audit enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Internal Audit for South Holland District Council which provided members with the position on the progress made by Management in implementing the agreed Internal Audit recommendations as at 5 January 2021.

 

The Internal Audit Manager provided the Governance and Audit Committee with additional information which had not been available at the point of agenda publication.  The following information was provided:

 

·         With regard to the first 2 urgent priority recommendations on page 87 under SH2002, evidence had been received to show that these had been completed and closed. 

 

·         On page 89 under SH2015 there were 4 recommendations which were noted as being “in discussion with Management”.  The following updates were provided:

 

·         Recommendation 1 – The following update had been provided by Management:- to achieve this recommendation it was established that a new domain controller was required as well as an upgrade to existing infrastructure.  It was therefore requested that the deadline for delivery be delayed until 31 March 2021 to facilitate the additional work.

 

·         Recommendation 2 – It was felt that the Facilities and ICT Teams were best placed to implement this – the deadline was extended to 31 March 2021 to accommodate this change;

 

·         Recommendation 3 – This piece of work would require collaboration between PSPS and SHDC.  It had not been possible to set up relevant inspections due to restrictions as a result of the Covid pandemic. It was proposed that the deadline be deferred to 30 July 2021.

 

·         Recommendation 4 – This had been passed onto the SHDC Assets team.  A purchase order had been raised for this to take place.  A date was being awaited with a deadline in place of 31 March 2021.

 

Members raised the following issues:

 

o   For item SH2015 and SH2008, why were there new outstanding items being added which were not previously identified?  Members were advised that this information would be supplied to them in due course.

 

o   Although it was recognised that the Covid pandemic was having an impact on many areas of the Council’s services, the Chairman requested that meetings to discuss outstanding recommendations continue, and that where there were other reasons for delays, that these be identified.  The Internal Audit Manager assured the Chairman that this would be taken into consideration, and that the majority of reasons for delay were genuine. However, where inspections were required to take place, there were delays as a result of government guidelines around social distancing, to ensure safe working practices as a result of the Covid pandemic.

 

o   For recommendations relating to the Head of Financial Services PSPS on page 85 of the agenda, was the deadline of 1 April 2021 for formal signoff realistic? Members were advised that this would be clarified and the Committee would be updated accordingly.

 

o   An explanation was requested as to the delay with the Purchase Order exemption list (on page 85 of the agenda).  The Internal Audit Manager stated that she would investigate this and report back to the Committee.

 

o   Confirmation was requested on how many caravan inspections had been carried out since lockdown and how many were outstanding? 

 

o   With regard to item SH2003 on page 87 of the agenda, around the production of a development strategy to define the work of the Strategic Housing team, members stated that the latest update notes provided did not address the issue.  The Internal Audit Manager stated that she would advise the team, in order that a fuller response was produced for the next update.

 

o   Had the auditor given the go ahead for the new market pitch booking system, detailed on page 88?  Members were advised that this would be clarified and that the Committee would be updated accordingly.

 

o   With regards to item (SH2009) on page 89 of the agenda, relating to the finalising and uploading of Information Asset Registers to the shared portal, Members asked what more could be done to ensure that this work was completed?  The Internal Audit Manager stated that, although an increased workload as a result of the Covid pandemic had resulted in some of the delays, it was important that the relevant legislation was complied with and that officers be encouraged to complete this area of work.

 

The Housing Landlord Manager provided the following update:

 

·         Housing Needs Audit - the Northgate Housing online system had been fully implemented.

 

·         Allocations Policy – the revised Policy was drafted, would shortly be considered through Overview and Scrutiny and would then be submitted to Cabinet. There were some significant changes to the Allocations Policy.

 

·         Records of enforcement action – a new system called Assure was being implemented across Private Sector Housing. The work around for this was currently being captured and recorded on a spreadsheet.  This was visible to the Housing Options Manager and Housing Landlord Services Manager to satisfy the recommendation, as well as the long term plan.

 

·         Decent Home Loans – These had been removed and had been replaced by Decent Homes Grants.  There was now one Housing Assistance Policy which covered all grants.

 

·         The two other outstanding actions (Caravan Licences and Empty Homes) would be built into Assure to enable actions to be completed.  The new system would ensure that information captured by Officers was processed in a more efficient way.

 

Members asked how confident the Housing Landlord Services Manager was in confirming a date for the implementation of the new system.  The Housing Landlord Services Manager stated that he was confident that the project was on track to deliver on target and was focussed on ensuring that the system was working for both officers and tenants.

 

The Chairman indicated that there needed to be an additional column within the appendices to show that there were Interim actions being considered. The Internal Audit Manager stated that the appendices would be amended to include an additional column for future updates to the Committee.

 

AGREED:

 

That the views of the Governance and Audit Committee be fed back and the report be noted.

Supporting documents: