Agenda item

Progress Report on Internal Audit Activity

To examine the progress made between 5 January 2021 and 2 March 2021 in relation to the completion of the revised Annual Internal Audit Plan for 2020/21 (report of the Head of Internal Audit for South Holland District Council enclosed).

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Internal Audit, which examined the progress made between 5 January 2021 and 2 March 2021, in relation to the completion of the revised Annual Internal Audit Plan for 2020/21.

 

The Internal Audit Manager provided the Committee with the following updates:

 

·         A summary of the number of days which had been able to be delivered as part of the programmed work was 100 days, equating to 69% of the revised plan. This was a much better position than had been reported in January.

·         Two final reports had concluded in this period. The first report was ‘Accounts Receivable’ which had achieved a ‘reasonable’ assurance grading with three ‘important’ recommendations being raised, and two ‘needs attention’ recommendations. The second report was ‘Corporate Governance’ which had received a ‘substantial assurance’ grading with two ‘needs attention’ recommendations.

·         The Procurement and Contract Management Position Statement had been completed and would be brought to the Committee at the next meeting.

·         Regarding the executive summaries of the reports finalised during the period there were three important recommendations:

o   In relation to transfers between accounts this would be subject to independent scrutiny;

o   In addition to the urgent recommendations of the 18/19 Review of Financial Services, it had been established that the system was capable of enforcing those controls but until those systems were put in place, additional risk mitigation would be needed;

o   An audit trail was to be retained by the officer preparing write-offs.

·         The Assurance Review of Corporate Governance Arrangements had received a ‘substantial’ assurance.  Guidance had been issued for Local Authorities on how to respond to the pandemic - South Holland District Council had followed these well, and within the positive findings of the report it had been noted that virtual meetings had been very successful. Two ‘needs attention’ points had been raised - firstly, it was recommended that the lessons that had been learned over the last year during the pandemic be fed into the Business Continuity Plan moving forward, and secondly, that an annual reminder be sent out to all members to update their register and disclose pecuniary interests - it was noted that this action had already been undertaken.

·         Information on the Assurance Mapping Exercise had been provided to members in full, in order to provide detail on how the Council had responded at the outset of the pandemic – this piece of work had been used to illustrate how Internal Audit coverage was used in the current year, and how this would feed into planning for 2021/22.

 

Following consideration of the report, and the information provided by the officer, the following issues were raised:

 

·         One of the issues to be addressed (at page 64 of the agenda), related to the new Finance system, and mitigations that were in place – was progress on this being made?

  • The Internal Audit Manager responded that one of the recommendations to be completed by March related to reminders that were sent out, and evidence being retained to show that the authorisation matrix was being reviewed each time purchase orders and accounts received invoices were raised.  This was a key control, and the item was being progressed.

 

·         Members commented that, with regard to annual reminders being sent out to all members to update their register and disclosure of pecuniary interest, it was encouraging to note that this had been addressed.

 

·         Members commented that it was good to note how well virtual meetings had been undertaken at the Authority.

 

AGREED:

 

That the progress of the Internal Audit Plan of work for 2020/21 be noted.

Supporting documents: