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Agenda item

Internal Audit Update Report - January 2019

This report provides Members with an update on progress made to date on the delivery of the 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan.  It also provides a broader update on the audit service since our last report to the Board in October 2018.

Minutes:

The report and attached Appendix A from the Interim Audit Manager provided Members with an update on the progress made to date on the delivery of the 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan. It also provided a broader update on the internal audit service following the last report to the Board in October 2018.

 

Prior to consideration of the report by the Board the Strategic Director (Internal Services) advised Members that the Interim Audit Manager’s contract had been extended to 31 March 2019, and that a further 1 year contract to 31 March 2020 had been provisionally agreed, pending further discussion with Mid Kent.

 

The Interim Audit Manager advised the Board that he was particularly pleased with the opportunity to extend the current arrangement with the Council until 31 March 2020 to continue his current work in the service and to create a sustainable strategy for the Partnership.

 

The update report to Members was positive in nature and continued to emphasise his Team’s important independent assurance role for both management and Members, in addition to concentrating on Internal Control, Governance and Risk Management. He added the following comments in relation to Appendix A as published in the agenda:

 

·         Audit Plan Progress [table p. 35]: The published September 2018 Outturn figure had been amended to reflect greater analysis work undertaken to the end of December 2018. Existing resources remained to complete the Audit Plan, which would now be finalised by the end of April 2019 rather than March;

·         Summary of Final Works [p. 38]: Summaries would be made available as each project was finalised , and reported to the Board at the next meeting in March 2019;

·         Audit actions [p. 41]: an improved narrative for the close-off of the ‘Medium’ and ‘High’ rated actions was included to provide greater assurance and transparency;

·         Governance – Counter Fraud [p. 44]: this internal work by the IA team is in addition to that conducted by the shared service Counter Fraud Team based in Sevenoaks [Min. No. 33 refers];

·         Ad-hoc advice & Consultancy [p.44]: this work is undertaken following discussions with the Strategic Director (Internal Services) and the Senior Management Team as appropriate;

·         Service Update [table p.45]: The Table set out the key objectives and recorded progress made in the period under review, linked to the External Quality Assessment (EQA) recommendations [final column] reported to the Board in July 2018. Members would continue to receive regular updates on how the recorded actions progressed;

·         Internal Audit Process [p. 46]: the updated IA Process detailed on p.46 and effective from December 2018 took into account the requirements of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and created a tool for all management to use in respect of their individual audit experience;

·         Performance [table p. 47]: The table set out how the IA team measured its activity using a new set of performance indicators from 1 December 2018 with a view to better understand how IA processes are embedding, moving forward into 2019/20 the indicators will form a link to the Internal Audit Strategy.

 

The Chairman expressed his thanks for an excellent report and in response to his question; the Interim Audit Manager confirmed that he was content with the progress he had made working with the IA Team to date, and that he and his team had not encountered any resistance from management in undertaking their audit work; indeed engagement with management had improved, and the theme of IA as ‘critical friend’ who provided ‘added value’ to management, had become more well-known across the Council.

 

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) confirmed this assessment by the IA Manager, and advised Members that feedback from management concerning IA was positive and the morale of the IA Team greatly improved under the new working regime.

 

Elizabeth Jackson, Grant Thornton (External Auditors) added her own praise in support of the revised format for the IA Update and the positive results being achieved by the Manager and his IA team.

 

                                    RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the Internal Audit Progress Report (January 2019) attached as Appendix A to the report.

Supporting documents: