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Agenda item

Internal Audit Annual Opinion (July 2019)

This report sets out the Internal Audit Annual Opinion 2018-19 on the effectiveness of the Council’s internal control, governance and risk management arrangements, as required by Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS).

Minutes:

The report from the Audit Manager (Chief Audit Executive) asked Members to note the Internal Audit Annual Opinion (July 2019) attached as Appendix A to the report, on the effectiveness of the Council’s internal control, governance and risk management arrangements, as required under Public Sector Internal Audit Standards.

 

The Chairman confirmed that all Members had received a copy of Appendix A, which had been published separately, after the agenda had been issued. He also advised, for the particular benefit of new Members, that the Board could request all relevant background papers to any of the audits summarised in the July 2019 Opinion, and future reports to the Board.

 

The Audit Manager emphasised the importance of the relationship between the Audit Board and his Internal Audit team, and the independence of the IA team from all other Council Officers, as enshrined in the Internal Audit Charter.

 

He advised Members that the IA Annual Opinion was mandatory and completed in accordance with professional standards. The Opinion was used to inform the Council’s Annual Governance Statement, which in turn supported the Council’s Financial Statements. He also set out the role of IA as an internal service, which looked at the business and key risks for the Council. In contrast to the role of the External Auditor [Grant Thornton UK], was to look at the Council’s Financial Statements. He drew the following key points in the July 2019 Opinion to Members attention:

 

·         The Audit Plan 2018/19 [Opinion p.5] summarised the audit projects to be delivered, with a resource plan showing the total number of days allocated to the Plan (412) most of which had been utilised;

·         Audit Findings were summarised in the table on p.6 of the Opinion, with 13 audit projects delivered and a further 4 being wrapped-up;

·         Audit Summaries [pages 7-13] revealed no High Risk (Red) issues or significant findings. Full papers were available to the Board for all audit projects summarised in the Opinion;

·         Audit Actions [p.14]; The IA team continued to experience positive engagement with and commitment from Management, to implement agreed actions identified from the work of the Team;

·         Client Satisfaction [p.15]; Client feedback during 2018/19 had been very positive, and helped to improve the Council’s overall operation;

·         Governance issues for the Council and the expanded role played by IA in meeting them, were set out in p.17;

·         Risk Management was addressed on p.18 with no issues noted;

·         Details of a Quality Improvement Programme were set out on p.19;

·         Performance: new service indicators had been developed to measure the performance of the Internal Audit Partnership as a whole, for the period January – March 2019. In addition to performance, the indicators monitored quality improvement, compliance with Standards, and training & development, as set out in the table on p.20 of the Opinion. One particular indicator (‘Conformance with Standards’) had only been used internally since December 2018, and would be used to inform a self-assessment exercise by the IA Manager over the summer, with the outcome reported to the Board in October. That exercise would be a precursor to the next External Quality Assessment (EQA) of the Council due in 2020.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.      That Members note the Annual Audit Opinion attached as Appendix A to the report.

 

Supporting documents: