To provide an overview of the stages followed prior to the formulation of the Strategic Internal Audit Plan for 2021/22 to 2024/25 and the Annual Internal Audit Plan for 2021/22.
The Internal Audit Plan provides the basis for the Annual Audit Opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of South Holland District Council’s framework of governance, risk management and control.
(Report of the Head of Internal Audit enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Internal Audit which provided an overview of the stages followed prior to the formulation of the Strategic Internal Audit Plan for 2021/22 to 2024/25 and the Annual Internal Audit Plan for 2021/22.
The Internal Audit Plan provided the basis for the Annual Audit Opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of South Holland District Council’s framework of governance, risk management and control.
The Strategic and Annual Internal Audit Plan 2021/22 was attached as an appendix to the report.
Members considered the report and the following issues were raised:
· Members asked for clarification on choices within the programming of review. Areas raised were regarding the Contact Centre, Strategic Housing, and Planning, all of which had been deferred.
o The Internal Audit Manager advised that this was a 3 year plan, and was subject to change. The Planning review was due for 2024/25 – no significant risks had been raised but the officer believed this should be brought forward. With regard to the Contact Centre and Strategic Housing, members were advised that Housing was due for review next year, but that there were currently no real concerns with regard to Strategic Housing and the Contact Centre. However, should issues arise, the programme would be evaluated again in January 2022. The Internal Audit Manager also advised that as part of the discussion of this report at a number of authorities, it was felt that providing more context within the Strategic Plan would be helpful to understand why some reviews were included and others were not.
· Members commented that at Appendix 4, under the notes for Operational Fleet Review, the impression was given that no monitoring had previously taken place.
o The Internal Audit Manager advised that the review had been at a request from management as it was an area that had not been reviewed before and had therefore been identified as a risk.
· With regard to ICT Audits, detailed within the Strategic Audit Plan at Appendix 3, members requested that if any significant issues arose in this area in the future, that they also be raised with the Committee as soon as possible.
· Members asked whether, with the pending alliance between SHDC, Boston Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council, there were any areas of audit that needed to be brought forward in order that they were in place for the authority and its future partners.
o The Internal Audit Manager advised they had not been requested to undertake any due diligence work at this stage, and that the plan had been drawn together before any partnership decisions had been made. However, the Internal Audit function needed to be responsive to the needs of the council – the risk register would continue to be reviewed, and conversations would take place with senior management, and if any areas of concern were highlighted for review, they would be brought to the Committee for consideration and addition to the plan.
· Members commented that the audit of the Office 365 project had been deferred again.
o The Internal Audit Manager confirmed that this had been deferred a number of times, as it was still not in a position for auditors to consider. Auditors were continuing to liaise with the IT project team to gauge the situation. It was confirmed that there was nothing within the risk register currently that raised concerns.
· Members requested that should there be any changes to the Plan, that the Governance and Audit Committee be advised.
That the following be noted and approved:
a) The Internal Audit Charter
b) The Internal Audit Strategy for 2021/22;
c) The Strategic Internal Audit Plans 2021/22 to 2024/25; and
d) The Annual Internal Audit Plan 2021/22