Agenda item

Internal Audit Opinion 2021-22


Lucy Cater of SWAP (LC) said the report was a summary of work conducted by the internal audit team on behalf of CBC, and highlighted the following:

-       no significant risks were identified; if there were any, these would be added to the annual governance statement for follow-up next year.  A number of reviews – assurance and advisory work – had been conducted, and auditors were aware of a number of recommendations outstanding from 2021 which they would continue to follow up along with recommendations made for 2021-22;

-       nine substantial audits had been offered, and eight reasonable, plus a number of agreed actions which would continue to be followed up with officers;

-       the opinion formed part of the annual statement of accounts and fed into the annual governance statement;

-       the report offered low-substantial assurance on work undertaken – the same as last year.  LC said she would send last year’s opinion to Members for comparison;

-       it was difficult to say whether performance had improved or got worse in some places as SWAP don’t carry out the same audit every year;

-       no significant corporate risks were identified; there were a number of recommendations and priority 2 recommendations, which SWAP team would continue to follow up during the year, ensuring good communication with staff to make sure this was done;

-       SWAP always worked hard to add value with any piece of work and had completed 88% of the audit plan when the report was drafted, with 6% in progress or review, and two pieces of work now concluded – these would be brought to the next meeting.


Member questions


In response to Member questions, LC confirmed that all data in the table was correct, and she would confirm what was meant by ‘ethics-related objectives’, referred to on Page 37. 


One Member, while happy to note that everything in the audit was in the main satisfactory, felt that by not comparing the same function each year, we did not track the performance of the council, and wondered if this might be considered in future years.  LC said this issue was frequently discussed by her team, and was complicated by the fact that her team could only look at an element of each system, with the aim to give full assurance over three years. 


The Executive Director for Finance and Assets said the council purchased a limited number of days from SWAP each year, and the purpose of ACG Committee was to agree the programme once a year.  He said the audit was split into a number of elements – risk-based, regular and cyclical.  For example,  revs and bens was risk-based and had high potential for fraud, and was routinely audited; treasury management/finance, which undertook multi-million pound transactions on a daily basis, was reviewed regularly to ensure segregation of duties and internal controls; and, for example, a committee request for an end-to-end audit of car park function was cyclical – if this came out with a substantial assurance, it was not good use of resources to reproduce annually, and may be picked up after four years, but if it came back with an adverse opinion, it would be included in the following year’s audit plan to make sure all recommendations were put in place.


In response to further questions, LC confirmed that:

-       regarding accounts receivable, there was no need for the committee to be concerned at present; there had been some issues around agreed actions with  Publica, but these would be followed up and an update brought to the next meeting;

-       regarding the committee’s role in ensuring that agreed actions were undertaken and achieved, Priority 2 agreed actions had previously been included in the usual progress report, but this was going to change going forward, with all outstanding prior-year agreed actions included (and whether/how many times these were deferred), and a list of current-year agreed actions and progress, so presenting full information on agreed actions in the system.


The Director for Finance and Assets confirmed that there were controls in place and that prior to ACG committee, an internal governance group meeting was held, where LC could raise any issues.  If the two executive directors were made aware of any audit recommendations not followed through, for example, they could intervene.  The Executive Director for Place and Communities said that Clearview was used to ensure that all audit actions were captured, tracked and monitored, and that SWAP was very proactive if they felt that an action had not been progressed, allowing the executive directors to follow up immediately.   He suggested that Members might benefit from a demonstration of Clearview to see the journey.


No vote was required on this agenda item. 


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