Agenda item

Update on internal audit recommendations

To review the progress of audit recommendations implementation.


The committee considered a report on the progress of internal audit recommendations implementation.


The head of corporate performance introduced the report, summarising the current position and drawing attention to the detailed information provided in the appendices ‘Recommendations overdue at the last report to committee’, ‘Recommendations due between April 2021 and September 2021’, and ‘Recommendations due in the future’.  A commitment to review the management and monitoring of internal audit recommendations was acknowledged but staffing pressures had delayed this work; it was anticipated that additional resource would help to complete this review and embed improved processes in early 2022.


Responses were provided to questions from committee members, the key points included:


i.             Recommendations on specific topics could be grouped under subject heading but it was considered that current presentation of the appendices helped to make the recommendations due for completion more visible.


Later in the meeting, a committee member commented on the potential to group recommendations on specific topics by subject heading.


ii.            In relation to significant partnerships (agenda page 207), the progress with information on the Youth Justice Board and on the recommendation ‘For directors to attend the Audit and Governance Committee with link officer to report on the value of the partnership during 2021/22’ would be reviewed with the relevant officers.


iii.          In response to questions about Section 106 (agenda pages 205, 210, 215 and 216), the chairperson noted that detailed information was available and the chief finance officer highlighted the Section 106 contributions search facility that was available on the council’s public website.  It was reported that Cabinet was to consider new delivery proposals and processes for Section 106 at its meeting on 25 November 2021. 


The chairperson suggested that a request for information on the spread of funding across different wards could be raised with the relevant cabinet member.


The vice-chairperson noted that the current search facility provided information on Section 106 monies that had been paid but it may not indicate monies that may be available in the future which could be relevant to the earlier delivery of development impact mitigation schemes.


Comments were made by another member on the potential of the Community Infrastructure Levy and on the need to share information with town and parish councils.


iv.          The ‘pending update’ entries were part of the ongoing chasing of information from officers and it was hoped that the process could be improved and standardised, with enhanced corporate awareness of internal audit recommendations and actions.


v.           The committee was advised that slippage in the delivery of the review of the income charging policy (agenda page 202) was partly due to the pressures associated with the Covid pandemic.  The vice-chairperson commented that there seemed to be a pattern in terms of capacity across a number of departments which may need to be considered in the context of the risk registers.


vi.          It was explained that internal audit would undertake follow-up audits for priority 1 and 2 recommendations, and were likely to check on related priority 3 recommendations, which could result in updated or superseded recommendations.


vii.         It was recognised that information about internal audit recommendations and follow-up audits could be usefully shared with the scrutiny committees.


viii.       A committee member drew attention to the continuing healthcare funding process entries (agenda page 197) and noted that the update did not identify any dates, therefore it was uncertain whether the commentary that a new policy was ‘now at the governance stage for sign off’ reflected an historic or a recent position.  The head of corporate performance reported that this was the current position but the need to encourage action owners to make actions SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) was recognised; adding that minimising the need to chase updates would provide more time to validate the quality of the input.  The chairperson noted that there was a balance in trying to ensure that enough detail was included but also to maintain readability.


Consideration was given to a more frequent update on internal audit recommendations.  The chairperson noted the current position with priority 2 findings and the opportunity to ask senior officers to attend future committee meetings to explain any delays.  Potential resource implications were also briefly discussed.  On balance, it was considered that reporting every six months was proportionate.


RESOLVED:   That the status of current audit recommendations has been reviewed and actions recommended in order to provide further assurance that actions identified by audit activity were being actively managed.




Action 129      That information on relevant internal audit recommendations be circulated regularly to scrutiny committee members.


Action 130      Consideration be given to collating internal audit recommendations on specific topics by subject heading.


Action 131      That action owners be encouraged to make responses SMART and to provide appropriate updates prior to the due date.

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