Agenda item

Internal audit opinion 2022-23

Report of Lucy Cater, Assistant Director, SWAP Internal Audit Services


The Principal Auditor (SWAP) said the report provides an annual audit opinion for 2022-23.  She highlighted that this year’s assurance is low-reasonable, down from low-substantial last year, primarily due to five Priority 1 recommendations issued this year.  There have been no limited assurance opinions in any of the areas audited.


In response to Members’ questions, the Principal Auditor and Executive Director for Finance, Assets and Regeneration confirmed the following :

-       the recommendation around procurement cards mostly concerns policy and making sure this is updated; a lot of work has already been done;

-       regarding taxi licences, the team is waiting on some clarification before it can close the actions.  These were expected at the end of June and are being actively followed up;

-       as an authority, we would always aim for a substantial assurance, as was achieved last year.  As explained, the main driver for this year’s low-reasonable opinion is one report discussed in exempt session last week, and the key action is to pick up some of those Priority 1 recommendations around programme and project management.


A Member said that the Licensing team should be commended on having asked for an internal audit of its processes to ensure taxi drivers are fit and proper, following a number of allegations made against drivers.  He understood that no issues had been identified and welcomed the recommendations, adding that this sent a message to other parts of the council to take the same open approach and ask internal audit to look at any areas of concern within their service.


Officers went on to provide the following responses to Member questions:  

-       regarding the in-depth examination of that report and whether other processes are examined to the same extent, scoping is always worked out with the service manager, based on the main risks in the area.  The audit team cannot go into complete depth in every audit, but risk is the first consideration, based on the service managers’ knowledge of their area;

-       Members should be reminded of the cyclical nature of audit committee - which agrees the audit plan for the next 12 months. At the last meeting there was a discussion about making this more flexible. Members were also  encouraged to raise any areas of concern with the committee, SWAP or the Executive Director for Finance, Assets and Regeneration;

-       SWAP is an asset to the council, here to assist management with controls to ensure correct processes and protocols are in place; 

-       the number of Priority 2s and 3s is set out on the first page of the report, and is down on 2021-22, with no other limited assurance opinions;

-       SWAP has procedures and dates in place to actively follow up on the Priority 1 opinion;

-       the corporate governance group (Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer, and S151 Officer), together with SWAP and CFEU attendees and Head of Performance, Projects and Risk keep a close eye on all audit opinions, and are aware that the five Priority 1 opinions are predominantly about internal governance.  Members should have received some assurance that action and progress on the majority of these has already started;

-       the Priority 1s are monitored quarterly by the internal governance group, and can be brought to Overview and Scrutiny or Audit, Compliance and Governance Committee at any time.  The Chairs of both committees are present, and may like to collaborate with regard to a time for a progress update to be prepared.


A Member noted that the performance of Publica was reported as medium-reasonable, but getting this information for Overview and Scrutiny is always difficult.  He asked if the report related to the information Publica shares on performance or operational information.  The Principal Auditor believed it was operational, but said she would confirm.


The Chair noted that no vote was needed, but that the Committee had considered and noted the contents of the report.



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