Agenda item

Internal Audit Half Year Report


Louise Clapton (Audit Manager) introduced the report highlighted the following points:


a)    The Public Sector Internal Audit Standards required the Head of Internal Audit to prepare an annual report, providing an opinion that could be used by the organisation to inform its annual governance statement;

b)    The report provided members with a mid-year position on work carried out up to the end of September 2023 and provided a position statement on the progress towards the annual audit assurance opinion;

c)    The mid-year assurance option was ‘reasonable assurance’, which meant that there was a generally sound system of governance, risk management, and control in place across the organisation;

d)    Some reports, that had been included in an appendix to the report, had been finalised since publication, and had limited assurance, which would affect the chart shown on Page 17 of the agenda pack for the meeting, but overall the outcome would still have been ‘reasonable assurance’;

e)    Management were required to provide a response to the audit observation and to agree an action plan to address any risk or control issues, but this had not been received in relation to the special guardianship orders when the papers for the meeting had been published, but it had been received since;

f)     The team were in the process of reviewing the audit plan for the remainder of 2023/24, and were planning for 2024/25.


In response to questions it was further explained:


g)    A draft report that had been issued to the Section 151 Officer, what was found in work on 22/23 was there was an issue when debt recovery reaches a point where no further action was taken, so good recovery is automatically in place, but once those avenues were exhausted, there were limited resources within the debtors team to continue with the debt recovery;

h)    Would be using the limited assurance audit reports to determine the audit plan for Q4 and for 2024/25, and the team would follow up on management actions and it would influence audit work in other areas where the risk would continue, or was similar, and the team were trying to link in better with finance and risk management at the Council to be more transparent across the board in what the risks were;

i)     The identified risks did triangulate and all involved were trying to improve how risk and audit worked together, as part of the compliance process, so they were all on the ‘same page’ and where risk was in the authority;

j)     Debt recovery for business rates worked well and was high overall, but there were a small amount where resources had been exhausted and had then been lacking, but action had been taken to put more resource into those areas and a business case was in progress to address the shortfalls, which would put 6 people into the team, and would be paid for by the collection of additional debt.

The Committee agreed to:


1.    Note the mid-year assurance opinion statement within this report;

2.    Note the findings within the report.

Supporting documents: